On re-reading Oliver and a new classics book group


The classics book group at my library held its first meeting last week. I'm eternally grateful a patron initiated the process, freeing me to enjoy participating without the associated stress of *running a book group. Not that I believe Rebecca had too tough a time, since she came very well prepared and ran things without a hitch.

I love re-reading Dickens. Not everyone's a re-reader, but I find something new in a book every time I read it. For one thing, there's the added benefit of maturity. We all change as the years pass, and often what we barely remarked one time around we see in a different light in subsequent reads. Also, classics are so complex it's impossible to take in everything in one read. So for me, the more reads the better. And I don't worry I'm spending time that could have been utilized on reading a book I haven't read. To me, re-reading a classic is akin to reading a brand new book. That's how different each experience is for me.


Next month's book is Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country. That's one I've never read, so I'm very much looking forward to that. My experience reading South Africanfiction in general is pretty slight, actually. I've read a little J.M. Coetzee, and I think he's the only author from this part of the world I've read so far.

High time I rectified that. I'm light on world literature in general, being American and English-centric. I've read a few books from other countries, but mostly what I read was originally written in English. I feel badly about that, and know I'm missing so much.

Anyhoo, it's always exciting being a part of a new endeavor. I'm hopeful the group grows, as word gets out, but even if it doesn't I'd be happy to discuss classic literature with any number of people. There's something different about a face to face book group. Online groups are wonderful – and God knows I've belonged to my share – but the face to face group can be lots of fun and enlightening in a different sort of way.

* I'm starting up a Nonfiction Book Group for the library in January. First read: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

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