Re-reading

I’m a hardcore re-reader and re-watcher and 99.9% of the time order exactly the same thing at restaurants and coffee shops and ice-cream parlors because I like repeating fantastic experiences. Well-loved books and movies (and sandwiches) are like old friends. You can always count on them to look and feel (and taste) the same, to move you in the same ways.

I’ve been re-reading Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series over the last week or so, and while, admittedly, nothing is quite like the first time through, with all those wonderful startling revelations and aha! moments, I still very, very much enjoyed them. In fact they were still eliciting audible reactions from me, to the point where my roommate looked up from her important doctoral studies to remark, “You do realize you’ve read that before.” 🙂

Another reason I re-read is that if I don’t read a book at least twice, details tend to fade, and I’m left only with vague impressions of I liked it or didn’t like it, which isn’t ultimately very useful. And some books stand up to multiple readings more than others; some I find kind of “meh” on a second read, some I find as amazing as I remembered, and some—like, for example, the Attolia series—you almost have to read more than once to soak up all the awesome and intricate things that are going on.

And then there’s mood to consider. As much as I love them, sometimes I’m simply not in the mood to adventure into a brand new book and unknown territory. There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing exactly what’s coming and looking forward to parts I already have completely memorized and revisiting beloved characters and just experiencing the story again.

Man, now I want to go re-read Lord of the Rings. It’s been a few years…

What about you? Are you a habitual re-reader?

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Mysteries of the Universe: Sleep

So sometimes I ponder the mysteries of the universe (because, really, somebody has to). Today I spent the better part of my 25 minute drive to and from lessons pondering how people ever got out of bed before alarm clocks were invented. Did they just wake up with the sun or what? I finally had the sense to google it this evening, and happened upon an enlightening article.

Really interesting stuff, and it makes me want to write a novel featuring water clocks. But now I have more questions.

How did the church bell ringers and the knockers-up know when to wake up? Did they always have to employ the bladder-control method (which struck me as completely hilarious)? If they overslept mightn’t they throw off the equilibrium of an entire town?? Would anyone even notice? How did they know what time to ring the church bells anyway?

Also, does anyone else ever feel bad for fictional characters’ sleeping conditions? Maybe it’s just because I’m a light sleeper and always have a horrible time nodding off in unfamiliar or less-than-ideal surroundings, but I’m always in awe of characters who can fall right to sleep in the woods or a cave or a prison cell and wake refreshed and ready to conquer the world. I can’t even fall asleep on a comfortable couch unless I’m deathly ill, and if I’m running on less than six (but preferably eight or nine!!) hours of sleep I can barely function. I think I would be pretty much useless on an actual adventure—characters in novels don’t seem to have these problems.

They don’t have chapstick, either, which is one reason I’m happy to be living in this lovely modern era. I mean, I read once that pioneers put axle grease on their lips to keep them from getting chapped, but that’s just gross.

And there you have it.

(Apologies for the glimpse into my peculiar brain. This is what happens when I’m not actively working on a novel.)