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From a Crab's Perspective

by Ann Ulrich Miller

Posted on August 8, 2008 by Web Dreams


A great way to gain more insight...

I don't know how I started on this kick, but I've been re-reading some of my favorite books from the past. Throughout the years I've savored certain novels that really struck me at the time as being excellent reads. I tend to hang on to such books, if nothing else to remind me of how much I enjoyed them.

Last winter I re-read The Glow by Brooks Stanwood, and even though I knew how the book was going to end, and the general plot was clear, it was a thrill going through it again. I caught many details I probably had forgotten, or hadn't noticed the first time. The suspense was still there for me.

I also re-read The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier, one I had read in my early 20s. This book always stood out as being one deserving of a second reading one day. There were one or two scenes in the novel that stood out in my memory, but for the most part, it was like reading the book for the first time. In this instance I had forgotten how the book ended, so it was just as captivating and sensual re-reading it as it was for the first time. I loved it, and will probably re-read it again some day.

Next, I picked up Du Maurier's famous suspense novel, Rebecca. I must have been in my teens when I first read this book. I generally remembered what it was about, but re-reading it in my 50s placed a whole new perspective on the story and characters. A young girl married to a man twice her age was something I could relate to, and I found I had actually forgotten the plot and the characters, which did make Rebecca seem new to me.

Very much like watching a movie for the second or third time, one tends to pick up a lot more from the story this way. When I was a child, I used to pride myself for having read Felix Salten's Bambi about a dozen times. It was my favorite novel. I think the last time I read the book was in my 30s, out loud to one of my young sons.

But how can I justify re-reading old books when there are so many new novels out today? It almost seems immoral to ignore today's literature in favor of the tried-and-true. An unforgettable book is worth something in my opinion. It has something that begs my attention so that perhaps, in my own writing, I can replicate what it is that makes a good story, one that someone will want to come back to and re-read one day.

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