Do-overs. This week's BTT question: "What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?"
At first glance, this seems like a simple question, but it's really a little problematic. I've thought about it before, and I always have trouble with it. I'm assuming we're not talking about time travel – so I wouldn't actually be returning to childhood or young adulthood or that original experience. And if I read any of my favorite books for the first time now, would I have the same reaction I had then? I'm a different person now – I've changed; maybe my feelings will have altered, too. In most cases, I wouldn't want to risk that. Not if it's a book I love.
However. Just to play the game – there have been some "first-reads" I wouldn't mind experiencing again. Mostly childhood books, of course. I suppose Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass would have to be on the list – I think they were probably the first "real" books I read on my own (as opposed to picture-books and easy readers), and they were absolutely magical.
And definitely Huckleberry Finn. I didn't actually read that one myself, the first time; my mother read it to me at nap-time everyday during the course of one summer. It was very effective at putting Mamma to sleep (she survived Tom Sawyer a little better), but I was fascinated and couldn't wait for the next afternoon's installment. I've re-read the book many times since then, and still love it. But none of my re-reads have come close to that first mind-altering experience.
And then, there are those books that served to help me get through trying times. Some of those are pleasant memories today – Little Women, the Nancy Drew mysteries, Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass – and some, like the novels of Barbara Pym, have become all-time favorites that I return to over and over. For those, while I'd love the experience of devouring them for the first time, I certainly wouldn't want to go through those rough patches of existence again.