You know when you hear a piece of music once, you haven’t heard it properly, you want to hear it again. A well-made book will reward you in exactly the same way as music does, in that you will understand and love a piece. You’ll feel the cadence and depth of it and hear things in it all the time. If you pay it a little more attention, it will reward you, like all art. Like everything, actually.
Reading is just as creative an activity as writing and most intellectual development depends on new readings of old texts. I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode.
I really am the kind of dork who goes back to the same books for inspiration again and again.
How I do love books! Not merely to read once but over and over again. I enjoy the tenth reading of a book as much as the first. Books are a delightful world in themselves. Their characters seem as real to me as my friends of actual life.
LM Montgomery Selected Journals I
I don’t reread books very often; I’m too conscious of both my ignorance and my mortality.
Nick Hornby The Polysyllabic Spree
Like any friend, it changes as I change, growing as I slowly come to know myself and the world a little better; and like any friend, it’s always the same, really.
My Middlemarch is not the same as anyone else’s Middlemarch; it is not even the same as my Middlemarch of twenty-five years ago…we each have our own internal version of the book, with lines remembered and resonances felt.
And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer. And long after you’ve become a writer, reading books others write – and rereading the beloved books of the past – constitutes an irresistible distraction from writing. Distraction. Consolation. Torment. And, yes, inspiration.