I reread too much. If I really like a book, it’s hard for me to resist reading it again. When I pick up an old familiar, I tell myself that I’ll get something new out of it with another reading, or that I’ll analyse the language more carefully. While this is sometimes true, usually there’s no more purpose to it than there is for a kid at Six Flags to jump on the Runaway Mine Train eight times in one afternoon. It’s a matter of wanting to recreate the same experience. It’s an addiction. For me, some titles are just crack with a dust jacket.
It wouldn’t matter except that I’m a relatively pokey reader and I’ve got a ton of new stuff I want to read, not to mention books I’m supposed to be writing. (I re-watch movies, too, but a movie is just two hours down the drain instead of a day or several days.) There are only so many hours in a day, and when I’m in the thrall of book crack, I let things go. The dishes pile up, the cat meows pitifully for food, the husband becomes a book crack widow.
One thing I’ve learned is that there are certain books I cannot keep in my house. The works of Jane Austen are the prime offenders. If I read the first line of Pride and Prejudice, there’s no holding me back. Jane Eyre is also verboten, although last year I managed to smuggle in a copy I’d found on the fifty-cent shelf at my local used book store. I estimate I’ve lost entire months of my life to multiple re-readings of The Forsyte Saga. Ann Tyler is crack, as are Nicci French books and the Tony Hill novels by Val McDermid.
This week, I realized I had to add The Testament (A Town Like Alice) by Nevil Shute to the list of no-no’s. A battered copy from Goodwill is sitting on my shelf, tempting me away from work. Must resist…
3 thoughts on “Book crack”
I just finished your book and absolutely loved it…always excited to find a new author to love! I am a huge reader and often worry that my new books won’t last me…so I reread my old faves. One of which is “A Town Like Alice” by Shute….I have probably read it twenty times over the years. So it is great for me to hear that someone else likes it as much as I do. I also love and have reread many times several of his other books….”Trustee From the Toolroom”, “In the Wet” and “Round the Bend”. If you haven’t read them….give them a try. But of course…not to take you away from writing your next book….I will be anxiously awaiting it’s publication!!
Sally–Glad you liked the book, and so glad to find another Shute fan! Two of those you mentioned (Trustee and In the Wet) I have not read–but I will look them up now. I try to read all of them I can get my hands on, but A Town Like Alice is the one I return to most often. And when will they release the old television series on DVD? My ancient videotape is on its last legs!
In the Wet is a very interesting concept of “reincarnation”…and Trustee is such a heart-warming story. I would love to hear what you think of them. Nevil Shute was such a talented and interesting writer, it is a shame more people haven’t read his books. Years ago (pre-internet days) I had a used book service find everything he had written, so I have them all….some are not as good, I think they are his earlier work. Abebooks.com is a good place to find older books.
Your book is going to be one that I recommend to all my friends who are readers!!