This past Thursday, I didn’t turn twenty-four.
Now, this happens on quite a regular basis, but there was something notable about this Thursday’s occurrence in that we celebrated it at school. Within my department, we have a kind of Secret Santa birthday rota system to ensure a steady supply of cake throughout the academic year. Unfortunately, my birthday* lies within the summer holiday (always has, always will) and so we would not be able to celebrate it. Instead, not unlike the Queen, three of us now have “official birthdays.”
I only realised on the day itself that it was my official birthday, having naturally forgotten it, but pleasingly also realised that I now shared my official birthday with the mastre of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.
In addition to the cake that we all enjoyed, I received a token birthday present – as always, under the monetary value of five pounds. Part of this present was a book of pomes on London, and the other half was Derren Brown’s Confessions of a Conjuror. I declined to tell the eventually not-Secret not-Santa that I already possessed this book, although the edition is different.
Since, I have started to reread the book, and am again unsure if I really like the ranging tangential stream of conciousness narration or if I find it an unnecessary contrivance. I like to think that perhaps it reads like a one-sided transcript of a conversation with the man himself.
However, the idea of rereading is an interesting one. There are quite a few books that I have reread a number of times**, and I often look forward to rereadings whilst on my first range through a book, even if I don’t get round to it for a good long time. Usually, I don’t find myself identifying new subtleties that I had missed on the first trek even if I might pick up more fully on obvious foreshadowing. I like to think of the reread as a familiar and much loved nostalgic walk.
I don’t know how many people usually reread. My exposure to people’s answers are skewed massively, both ways. A lot of my close friends are compulsive readers, and so for us it is natural to reread a favourite book. On the other hand, my dad will never reread a book – he considers it a waste of effort because he already knows the contents – much the same reason many of the children I teach will never reread anything. This can be frustrating when we are studying something in much depth, particularly Of Mice and Men which seems to be covered in most syllabuses as often as basic punctuation is. Interestingly enough, the “I know the story” argument never seems to apply to films. Perhaps it is a case of the length of the task?
Either way, I really enjoy rereading texts; quite possibly to the same extent that I enjoy reading new ones. I would recommend everybody to do so at least once this year – and in fact I might enforce that my children do so to!
* July the Twenty-Fourth, as my best stalkers know.
** Yes, that reads correctly.