March 2, 2011 I'm taking multiple English classes this semester, and because of that I'm reading an awful lot. When the semester first began, I looked at the syllabi and saw that there was a boatload of stuff I was supposed to read that I had already read at some point in my life. My first (and honestly, natural) reaction was "Yes! One less thing I have to read." Man, how things changed. As the semester has progressed, I realized that I actually like reading things the second time over just as much as I like reading new things. That isn't to say that I hate reading everything; it's actually the exact opposite.
In reading "Bartleby," The Scarlet Letter, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, "To His Coy Mistress," Shakesperian sonnets, etc., for the second time, I've actually realized just how much my thoughts have changed since I read them the first time. I feel way, way smarter reading them the second time. That's for sure.
I read a lot of these works when I was in high school, and the difference between the high-school me and college me is huge. But I'm also picking up on things that I never would have paid attention to my first time through. The first time I read something, I'm paying attention to the plot, the characters, the thoughts that naturally creep into my brain as I turn the pages, all that. The second time though, I'm focused more on "the little things," like word choice, themes, symbols and such. It's almost as if I'm reading something completely new. I mean, I guess that's common sense. You always notice things the second time that you never picked up on the first, but it's still pretty cool, if you ask me. I get a kick out of it.
Sitting in Opus reading "Bartleby" and trying to figure out how to go about explaining the unexplainable has actually become more fun for me than reading "Benito Cereno" for the first time. Books I hated (::cough cough:: The Scarlet Letter ::cough cough::) the first time through are way more interesting the second time. Coming into the semester I honestly thought it would be boring to read them over again. I'm not the kind of person who likes to re-watch movies, re-read novels, or anything like that. Once I go through the emotional ups and downs, have thoughts about something and know the ending, I'm not normally tempted to go through it again. Nothing will ever be like the first time. And that's true, it won't be. But I'm finding a way to make it new again, and I like that.