DRMacIver's Notebook

Book Review: Rereadings, edited by Anne Fadiman

Book Review: Rereadings, edited by Anne Fadiman

Unusually for a review, I didn’t like this book. This is a shame as I really wanted to, which is why I finished it, but ’twas not to be.

It’s a collection of essays by people talking about rereading books, usually ones they had read when they were in their teens or younger. They talked about the impact of rereading and how their views of the books changed as they got older.

The problem was that fundamentally all of these essays were really stories about the authors’ lives and how their reading of a book intertwined with that and fundamentally… I just didn’t care. I can see ways it could have worked for me, and I kept reading it hoping to find some gems, but as it stood it was just many brief glimpses into the lives of people I didn’t care about viewed through the lens of books I didn’t care about.

This is not to say that it’s a bad book, but I think it will work well for you only if you are nostalgic for the same kinds of books that the authors are, and fundamentally my formative years were spent on a diet of science fiction and fantasy, while most of the books talked whistfully about here are the kinds that literature professors read when they want to feel like they’re slumming it.