To Reread, or Not to Reread?

I used to be a chronic rereader. There was this book — The Canada Geese Quilt, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. The author visited my elementary school every year, so my book was signed. It was my first autographed book, so it was a big deal…even though she signed everyone else’s book, too. But in my mind, this book was mine. Not only was it my first signed book, it was also the first book I read in one sitting. (But certainly not the last — I was an English major, after all. And a master procrastinator.)

I don’t remember much about that book. A girl learns how to make quilts, possibly from her grandmother. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the grandma dies. Spoiler alert. I learned that they’re called “Canada geese,” not “Canadian geese.” Other than that, I literally remember nothing, but for some reason that book stuck with me. I reread it once a month, I’m not even kidding.

Starting with The Canada Geese Quilt and up until now, I guess, rereading has been a source of comfort for me. This comfort generally came in the form of one of the seven Harry Potter books. The good thing about loving a series so intensely is that each book makes me feel something different. Based on my mood and where my mind is at in that moment, I know which of the seven is bound to bring me the most joy.

From a less emotional, more intellectual standpoint, I found real value in rereading books in college. Like I said, I was an English major. Rereading was part of the deal. I’d take classes and have to reread books I’d read in high school, or even books I’d read the previous semester. But for the most part, this wasn’t exhausting. It was enlightening. There were books I got little or nothing out of the first time I read them. Camus’ The Stranger was one. Bronte’s Jane Eyre was a surprising second. Then, I read each of them over again for different classes and had completely different experiences. Maybe it was the professor. Maybe it was the details brought up in class discussions. Or maybe I’m just constantly growing as a reader and sometimes all it takes is a new, more experienced perspective. Listen, college is a wonderful place, okay?

That being said, my rereading experience hasn’t been devoid of heartbreak. I’m terrified to reread Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four because it’s one of my favorite books of all time and I’ve only read it once. What if, years later, it doesn’t hold up? What if it isn’t as profound as sixteen-year-old me thought it was? This has happened to me before, of course. I’m slowly making my way through all thirteen A Series of Unfortunate Events audiobooks because they were my favorite non-Harry Potter books when I was younger. But the reason it’s taking me so long is because I’m bored. I grow frustrated with the repetitive storylines and the lack of character development and have to stop listening for days, even weeks or months, at a time.

So yeah, rereading can be fun, but at what cost? Is it worth rereading my childhood and adolescent favorites now I’m clearly outside the target audience, only to find them annoying and below my intelligence level? Or is it better to keep them engrained in my memory as they were back then? Or, in the case of the books I once despised, do I give them another chance?

Or am I overthinking this whole process? Maybe the real joy of having access to physical books is that they’re timeless — you can keep them on your shelf and go back to them when, or if, you desire.

Maybe part of growing older and learning more and experiencing more is accepting that your opinions on these things will change. Maybe I need to accept that my experience rereading A Series of Unfortunate Events as a 24-year-old college-educated adult will be different than my experience as an eight-year-old book lover and, more importantly, that both experiences are valuable.

Rereading can be a source of comfort or disappointment, but it can also show you how much you’ve grown as a reader, a thinker, and a person.

So for now, I’ll just keep rereading Order of the Phoenix until it gets old. Which is a funny joke, because it’ll never get old.

Five Songs on Friday (26 May 2017)

I missed a week, but to make up for that, I’m back with five great songs. Today, I’m bringing you five songs I’ll literally never get sick of. They’re songs I’ve been listening to for 3 years or longer, over and over, and I’m still listening to them consistently. 

1. “Machu Picchu” – The Strokes

I’m pretty sure this song was my first exposure to the Strokes (I know, I was a late bloomer.) But now they’re one of my favorites. I love everything about this, from Julian Casablancas’ screamy voice at the climax of the song, to the abrupt ending, to the album artwork I get to look at every time I listen to this song. 

2. “Where is My Mind?” – The Pixies

This song reminds me of driving around some abandoned roads in a ’67 Mustang convertible. I’ve never done that, but this is the song I imagine would be playing if I were to do so. The guitar melody is chilling, the vocals are eerie, and there are days I’d certainly love to know where my mind has gone. 

3. “Heroes” – David Bowie

This song was in the movie Horns with Daniel Radcliffe. I knew it before that, but I think this movie gave me a new appreciation for it. DanRad is in a treehouse with the love of his life, she’s wearing this flowy white dress, dancing to this song. The scene is hazy and relaxed, unlike the entire rest of the movie. And this song just works. 

4. “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore” – Elton John

Elton John is my forever favorite musical artist. I grew up listening to him. I love that he doesn’t have a particular sound — he has his classic sound that people know and love, but then he can turn around and put out and album that sounds almost like country. This song is from my favorite album, Songs from the West Coast. It’s about partying and drugs and Hollywood losing its glamour, and it’s just so solemn and freaking real. 

5. “About a Girl” – Nirvana

Nirvana is another one of my favorites, but my favorite song of theirs is from freaking Guitar Hero. It’s a version of “About a Girl” from their MTV Unplugged in New York concert, and it just sounds so much better “unplugged.”
 
Okay, there are my five. What are your top five songs you could listen to over and over forever? 

Five Songs on Friday (12 May 2017)

I’m back with another five songs on the best day of the week. This week’s theme is “the last five songs I looked up on Shazam.” Is “Shazamed” a word? It is now. (Plus this is 2017, so probably.) So here we go, here are the last five songs I Shazamed.

 

1. It Ain’t Me – Kygo and Selena Gomez

I Shazamed this song at a bowling alley during “Midnight Bowl” (which I hate because I can’t see where the ball is going with all the flashing disco lights.) Anyway, I Shazamed this because the verses were super catchy and it sounded like a Sia song. Conclusion: I don’t think Selena is the best vocalist, but every song she releases or is featured on is a hit. 

2. Cleopatra – The Lumineers

I was out with my boyfriend and he was convinced that there was someone performing live music. I Shazamed this to prove that the Lumineers were not, in fact, performing a free live concert win the middle of a food court in Upstate New York. I get where he was coming from, though, because this song has a very raw sound. I dig it.

3. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling

I heard this at a restaurant and couldn’t remember which broody early-2000s rock band it was. Not gonna lie, this song doesn’t hold up in 2017. It sounds like every other early-2000s mellow rock song. This was for sure on a “Now That’s What I Call Music” CD, right?

4. You Don’t Know Me – Jax Jones feat. RAYE

This was another Midnight Bowl song. I heard it and thought “this would be a great song to run to.” Update: it is.

5. The Great Longing – Lost Under Heaven

This song ended the first episode of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, which had a killer soundtrack overall. It’s one of those songs that I know I’ve heard before but can’t place. In any event, it’s a good song.

 

To find all these songs plus the songs from last week’s FSoF, check out my Spotify playlist here.

What’s the last song you Shazamed?

Five Songs on Friday (5 May 2017)

I’m starting a new thing for this blog. I’m a big music fan, as I’m sure are most of you reading this right now. Music is one of those things, like reading, that can be both communal and entirely personal at the same time.

When I’m in my car or listening to music through headphones, I’m in my own space. No one knows what I’m listening to — I can skip the songs I want to skip, I can listen to the same song 12 times in a row, and I can listen to those songs I might be embarrassed to admit that I listen to. At the same time, I like going to concerts with friends, introducing people to new music, and getting recommendations from other people.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Every Friday, I’m going to share five songs. They might be brand new songs, they might all have a common theme, I might ask other people for suggestions, or I might just pick songs from my library at random. (I’ll even compile them in a Spotify playlist so they’re all in one place.)

I want these posts to be a place where I can share the music I love, get some new suggestions, and, most importantly, tell the stories I associate with that music.

So for this week, to start, here are the first five songs that played when I put my phone on shuffle.

1. Half of Something Else – The Airborne Toxic Event

Is this a One Tree Hill song? It sounds like a One Tree Hill song. It also sounds like a song that would play the first time a couple sleeps together on a TV show. So, yeah, definitely a One Tree Hill song.

2. Levels – Nick Jonas

As a former self-proclaimed Jonas Brothers fangirl, I tried very hard for a while to support the boys in all their solo endeavors. Sometimes it was easy, as was the case with this song. Other times, not so much. (I’m looking at you, Joe.)

3. Uptown Music – Fredalba

My favorite TV show is a little show called 24. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. There was a character in the sixth season named Milo, played by Eric Balfour. Eric Balfour was in a band called Fredalba. Also, we share a birthday. Also, I thought he was really hot.

Anyway, I was really into this band for a while. It’s like, wanna-be-nineties-hip-hop + low key California beach music. And I used to lay by my pool and listen to it while a sunbathed because I was cool. Sometimes I still do.

4. Running – James Bay

I saw James Bay at Radio City Music Hall in New York last year with friends when I really didn’t know that much about him. Now, he’s one of my favorites. And this song is great.

Highlight from that concert: the very, very intoxicated woman behind me jumping up and down, screaming the wrong lyrics, and shouting “James Bay, you sexy bastard!”

5. Reflecting Light – Sam Phillips

Disclaimer: If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan and this song doesn’t ring a bell, you might cry when you listen and realize what song it is. This song was used during memorable moments in both the original series and the Netflix revival. And it’s amazing. It brings back memories. It gets to me. Even if you’re not a Gilmore Girls fan, listen anyway. It might get to you, too.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Put your phone/MP3 player/streaming system on shuffle. Let me know what comes up. If there’s an associated story, share it.

To view the Five Songs on Friday Spotify playlist, click here.