When I was 18, I read what I thought was the best book I'd ever read. I found it in my parent's study, a diamond in the rough. I kept their copy for my own and it has since moved everywhere with me. But I never reread it.
There were good books before that one and many more after. And many of those have been reread over the years. But I'm always been scared about rereading that one book, nervous about over-writing that original experience with some new understanding, with different emotions or - worst case scenario - just not liking it as much.
However, when asked, I still list it among my all-time favourite books. I still think about it, the ending in particular. And this weekend, I started reading it again. It's a strange thing... there are whole passages I must have committed to memory that have stayed with me and my mind knows the words before my eyes reach them.
And then there are stranger moments, when I find something underlined or a note in the margin. And I wonder at myself, why that sentence, what was the association? I can guess at it but that visceral reaction is gone. It's a bit like looking at a photo of an old boyfriend and examining his face for those deep reactions you once had, but only finding him hypothetically handsome.
Still, there are new attractions overwriting those old ones. My taste in books remains mostly unaltered. My aesthetic, whatever it is, seems somewhat consistent over time. I'm discovering something new in the familiarity of rereading. I think my eighteen year old self wasn't so bad after all, though she was wrong about so much of what she thought lay in her future.
There's something about my mood these days making me want to retreat. I want to hide behind clothes that feel like my armor. In March, the world felt like something hurtful and I tried to feel buoyant. But in the last week, I've given in and sought comfort in old and familiar things, in favourite clothes, in wearing black and in books. I know I can't look inward for long, but I'm happy to be mining my own self for comfort and finding old loves to love anew.
Products: Carven Knot Front Blouse from La Garconne | Antique books from 1st Dibs | MiH Jeans Paris jeans from Net-a-Porter | Mulberry Postmans Lock Wallet from La Garconne | Arrow ring from Odette | Rose Noir by Byredo | Bloch ballerina flats from Gravity Pope