|Flickr Credit: Tom Martin|
“I wish that I could forget my favorite series so I could read it for the first time again.” [insert dreamy sigh here]
Usually I ignore such silliness, but the last time I saw someone say it, I was annoyed. Annoyed enough to talk about it. Because why on earth would this appeal to anyone? (Also, I needed to write something for today.)
I would never, ever want to forget my favorite series—any of them—simply for the same of enjoying them for the first time again.
I wouldn’t enjoy them the same way. I wouldn’t! I first encountered many of the books I call favorite when I was younger and less well-read. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to bash my younger self or books written for younger audiences. I just have a very different perspective now. When I bring up Harry Potter, it’s to express my frustration with its fascist government. When I discuss Ranger’s Apprentice, it’s to bemoan the sexism therein. I even struggle to muster enthusiasm for my favorite series, H.I.V.E., sometimes—there are SO MANY ADVERBS and it drives me bazonkers. I’ve liked these books. I still like these books. But part of my willingness to love them comes from a respect for the perspective I had when I first read them—a perspective I wouldn’t have now.
On that note, I made these books my favorites, and me alone. The books had something good in them that made me latch onto them, but simply being good doesn’t make a book worthy of my favorites shelf. I have to reread these books. Learn them. Adventure with them. Think and ponder and want and dream and hope and fangirl. I love this book because I’ve traveled with it—and who’s to say that I’ll have an equally enchanting journey once I forget the story? I’m grateful for what I’ve already got, thanks.
Also, forgetting your favorite series to enjoy it again seems a little vague. How much of the series do you lose? Do you lose just the events of the text? Do you entirely forget the characters? Do you forget things about the days when you read those books? Do you lose every memory you have associated with that book? Will you ever get those memories back? I realize that such questions remove all the fun from an innocent, what-if wish. But the answers actually matter to me. Being a reader has been important to me for a long time—I have made close friendships through books. I have drawn closer to certain family members through books. Books have offered life lessons and inspiration and influenced who I am today.
Forgetting books could make me forget meaningful parts of my life, and even parts of myself. Does that really seem like a good idea to anyone? (If it does, please do read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. He might help.)
Reading a book for the first time is a magical experience, and something to be treasured when you find a book that is really, really good. I know that it’s something we want to remember because it’s meaningful to us as readers. But I think that’s the point of a first experience—it’s something that can’t be replicated, and that’s what makes it special. To replicate that experience would, in a way, dishonor the very point of first reads. And also be kind of irresponsible and silly, in my opinion.
We begin our journey with books as one person. We end as another. We don’t have to like it, but I think we have to embrace it anyway. Otherwise, how will we read? How will we reread? And why will it matter?