My Literary One-Night Stands

crazy.cesar.heidi

Hold on! We’ve gotta make this last!

I read a wonderful article about love and how falling in love is the easy part (it’s involuntary, it’s chemical, biological … animal). Staying in love, though, is a choice. It hit home because my husband and I have been together for fifteen years. (Yikes! We’ve gotten through TWO seven-year itches.) And, admittedly, the fireworks are still there, just perhaps not as loud or sparkly. Two daughters later, one JUST a year old, it’s hard to get the passion going when you haven’t slept through the night for a year. (Yes. The whole babies sleep through the night at three months is a bunch of bullshit. If you’re one of THOSE parents who had that, just … just don’t tell me, okay?) But my husband and I have constructed a wonderful life with the kind of quiet love (yeah, the loud will come back more frequently one day) that has grown over years of unforgettable moments: practicing to be human statues to make money to pay the rent; hiking through the Himalayas, Torres del Paine and Peru;  hitchhiking in Europe; buying our first apartment; dancing until dawn; dancing in the moonlight in Saint Marco’s Square; now raising two little miracles (who don’t sleep). I’m okay with the quiet. In fact, it suits my personality. I’m as loyal as hell and can’t imagine my world without this beautiful man (even through groggy mornings and earlier than I thought adults would ever go to bed nights).

My literary loves, though, aren’t quiet ones. I’m addicted to falling in love – that first-time-feeling when I read a new book. I’m a love junky! So I rarely re-read books. Rarely. (This could be because in college, we had to read and deconstruct novels ad nauseum). There are a few exceptions, but when I re-read, I do so for the craft of the novel, to study its construction, not for the love affair. My love affairs with novels, then, are my one-night stands and summer romances (the kind I never got into being single since I was too shy for that kind of thing.) . I’m kind of a book tramp, I guess. J So now, I give all my books away to the local library after reading them except for the ones that make my juices run, the ones that make me laugh out loud. Those, though, I don’t want to re-read because I want to keep that first impression, that giddy feeling of holy shit this is out of this world. These novels include: Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,  The Book Thief, The Road, Going Bovine, Speak, Feed, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,  Five Flavors of Dumb, Winter Girls, As I Lay Dying, Cannery Row, The Day of the Locust, Breadcrumbs, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Fat Vampire … There are more. Many more.

asilaydying five.flavors.dumb

Maybe one day I’ll revisit these novels. Maybe when my daughters or nieces are falling in love with them. It would be nice to read them down the road and talk about them and see the beauty of being head-over-heels for someone else’s words. Until then, though, I think I’ll just keep them on the bookshelf so I can glance at them and remember what is wonderful, what writing is truly and absolutely phenomenal. It’ll be like having my own personal collection of saucy love notes and souvenirs from those one-night stands. *sigh*

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22 thoughts on “My Literary One-Night Stands

  1. Love this. I’ve gone on and on about the Book Thief lately. My husband will never read it now (not that he would have) because I kept stopping while reading and saying things like, “‘Her wrinkles were like slander.’ LIKE SLANDER. How amazing is that? SLANDER, I say!” He just stared at me and shook his head most of the time…

  2. I work with kid writers at the school, and many of them reread constantly–revisiting familiar settings and characters seems to be a comfort and an escape for them, which I very well remember from my own childhood. Now I’m feeling the march of time, I guess, and rushing to catch up with all the books I’ve never read, so tend not to re-read as much. Interesting post, Heidi!

  3. I keep my paper books, even though I doubt I’ll reread them, because I do enjoy looking at them on the shelf and remembering the experience of reading them. But with hundreds of books in my To Read collection, I don’t have the time to go back and re-read very often. However, some books I love so much I have them in both paper and Kindle formats, and I do reread them.

  4. I’m a re-reader at heart. Not all books, though. Only the exceptional ones. I try new ones regularly, and sometimes they make it into the re-read pile, but more often they don’t. Reading time is at a premium, so I’d rather re-read a book I already know is awesome than take a risk on an unknown that may or not be anything special.

  5. I’m a book tramp too and I have keepers which i absolutely refuse to part with. I keep them when my sisters and niece visit because I love to share books I love. Maybe one day I’ll reread them. Then there’s my kindle and its hundreds of books I’m hoading. I doubt I’ll ever tire of having my “Stash” of favorites

    • It’s fun when someone you love reads a book you recommend. I do, though, tend to feel crushed if they don’t love it as much as me. I guess books become so personal we feel threatened when someone doesn’t feel the same love.

  6. So many books, so little time. But there is something wonderful about rediscovering a book after ‘forgetting’ it–but you need little age under your belt. There’s a famous story of a young comedian who asked a hypnotist if he could be hypnotized to forget all 7 HP books so he could read them all over again. Sorry–there is no punchline–it’s the truth.

  7. I do reread books but usually not cover to cover. I mark favorite passages to come back to. Some books I find are better the second or third time, but most (like you said) are best as one-night stand.

  8. Oh, Heidi–let me count the ways I love YOU, my dear friend. What a great post. I am a book whore, too. And a book hoarder like you, Ednah (and a librarian–I love to loan out books, which I mostly never get back). I think the only book I have ever re-read (other than books I’ve critiqued) is Harry Potter book 4. I do INTEND to re-read books, but then I just can’t. I don’t want to alter the experience I’ve had with them. I’m like that with movies, too. I guess I am more like a book junkie–always looking for the next high. But I think, eventually I may re-read the Book Thief. I just don’t want to spoil my memories of it and how it basically changed my life.

  9. I have a few I reread on an almost regular basis, such as The Once and Future King and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I’ve also read the last thirty or so pages of The Blue Sword at least one hundred times; Corlath puts his hand on Harry’s dusty ankle, and it’s all uphill from there.

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