On Giving a Put-Aside Book a Second Chance

For whatever reasons, we abandon novels. We leave them half-finished; we discard them after only twenty pages, we drift apart from them after the first hundred. Often we’ll never pick up where we left off. Sometimes it’ll be a season or two later, sometimes a year, a few years, when the book nudges it way back into our line of sight, begging to be reconsidered….

I am not convinced that we ever understand why a book reaches us—how it snags us at one time, but not another, or misses altogether. Words on a page are illuminated by something inside us, or else they remain just that….

But I continue to wonder about all those subtleties (and they are cultural, developmental, emotional, historical, random) that tint the lens through which we regard a book, no matter how well it was written. Do books choose us?…

– Decatur book blogger Murray Brown, upon recently rediscovering Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse


One Response to On Giving a Put-Aside Book a Second Chance

  1. Steph says:

    Oh heavens…I can tell you why I abandon books I once loved…the “developmental” word struck me particularly, experiential, maturation. I’m hard pressed now to find Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” as compelling as I did as a teen. Likewise, Kerouac’s “On the Road” has me spitting, “Get a job, bum!” and swearing of the meandering self-indulgence of “stream of consciousness” writing for the rest of my natural consciousness. I realize that some things I simply didn’t have the emotional capacity to appreciate at a much younger age than I do now in my 40’s.

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