Revisiting Old Favorites

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been hit with a desire to reread books (actually, that’s a bit of a lie, as I’ve wanted to reread Howl’s Moving Castle since late March). While I love delving into new books, new stories and new plots, there’s something comforting about revisiting old friends. Through all change, if there is some consistency, even if it is merely a beloved story, things are a little easier (at least, that’s been my limited experience).

When I travel, I usually bring two books with me, one that I’ve read before (on my semester in Florence, I brought Roald Dahl’s Over to You and a couple of Patrick O’Brian’s works) and one that may be new to me. I figure, if the environment is too overwhelmingly unfamiliar, the least I can do to help the transition is find the comfort in the known.

Which brings me to the last two books I completed, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and The Prestige by Christopher Priest. The first book has been one of my favorites for years, since I first read it in fifth grade or early middle school. There’s something about the story that I’ve  always loved, be it the characters, the setting, the wonderful inclusion of Wales…okay, I just really like this book. I can’t pinpoint a reason why, but I continue to love it even more as time goes on.

As for The Prestige, I read it first nearly four years ago to the day. I hadn’t reread it since, as every time I would sit down to it, another book would come my way, be it for school or a trip to the library. Knowing that I would have some spare time over the last two weeks, I brought it with me for my brief stay in Boston. I finished, and enjoyed it the second time through. Knowing the ending made picking up on the little details easier, but part of it still came as a surprise. Priest does a good job giving each character a distinct voice, even in the Borden section (those familiar with the book will know what I mean).

I didn’t love The Prestige the second time through. I still enjoyed it immensely and will probably reread it at another time. I still want to read more of Priest’s work, as I could learn a lot through him.

And, of course, the book still remains better than the movie starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and David Bowie.