I had never thought seriously about re- reading the books that I read before. It may be because there are lots of books out there waiting for me, that I never read, and the thought never crossed my mind, when I am lost in a library to pick a book from my past and savor it again. My subconscious may have considered reading a book a second time as wastage of precious time. But the last book I read, a very complex novel by Umberto Eco titled Foucault’s Pendulum, really initiated me to reconsider it. That novel as I told in my previous post was a labyrinth of information and subplots, and requires a very careful reading. Apart from that one, I found out that there are some other books that will be worth a re-read.
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez definitely needs to be read again. I read it first when I was a teenager. It was a tough read, to say the least. The paragraph and sentence formation was complicated, like a poem. There were sentences so long that they covered many pages. When I started it, I was sure that I will leave it half way. But after some 50 pages I got a grip on the tempo of the story. From then on I enjoyed every sentence and every page of it till the end. This novel is about the life of a dictator, a life of unlimited power and immense solitude and the way it is written with long and intertwining sentences perfectly matches the ambiance of the novel.
Another book that I read in the same period is Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera. It is about the life of a young poet in turbulent times of World War. I loved the book when I read it. But years later when I read an interview of Kundera, I came to realize that I have missed much in my first reading. I missed several references to historical incidents and many subtle ironical situations. So in light of these revelations, I feel a re-reading of Life is Elsewhere will do good.
The Good Soldier Svejk is a satirical novel by Czech novelist Jaroslav Hasek. It narrates the escapades of a soldier named Svejk during World War1. This was actually the first laugh out loud novel that I read. Svejk is such an incompetent soldier that he continuously manage to irritate his superiors with his idiocy. But many passages makes us suspect that this guy is just feigning his incompetence to escape from war. This is the best anti war novel that I have read and a perfect read when mind is disturbed. In no libraries, I was able to get this book yet, unfortunately.
Another man who is wary of war and wants to escape is Yossarian, but finds it difficult due to a catch in the military rules. He is the hero of Joseph Heller’s novel Catch 22. I received several recommendations for this fabulous novel in connection with The Good Soldier Svejk. And it was worth reading. Last day I saw its sequel in my friendly neighborhood library. I considered reading the sequel but then decided to first read Catch 22 again.
So these are the books that I am planning to read again. There are many others also- Amerika by Kafka, Midnight’s Children by Rushdie, Autobiography of Pablo Neruda and of course Foucault’s pendulum. But they can wait.