Monday, February 23, 2009

How much do I love this?

At last, someone even odder than I when it comes to re-reading. I am a compulsive re- and re-re-reader of certain special books, even when stacks upon stacks of unread books beckon. It makes no sense (or maybe it makes all sense), but now The Rumpus has a story about a woman who has read Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native over and over again for twelve years.

That reminds of the summer a few years ago, when I still taught in Georgetown's English Department, that I decided to read three Thomas Hardy novels back-to-back: The Return of the Native was one, along with The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. I had twice taught Tess of the d'Urbervilles as part of an 18th-19th Century Survey course ("snortin' the Norton" as students waggishly called it), but I hadn't read the rest, so this was a great treat. Between books I'd wander down the hall to John Pfordresher's office and ask him questions about them, which he'd patiently answer. I loved them all and became an enraptured Hardy admirer, though I can't quite imagine reading one over and over again for twelve years. But cheers to Julie Vanderburg, that noble reader, and to The Rumpus for writing about her.

Thanks to @MaryContrary08 on Twitter for tweeting the link...

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