Rereading Old Books

readingLiving among the freshly-published books doesn’t really make me get apart of books I’ve read. Then comes the time when I need to reread my old books. Seldom do I read a book completely, only a couple of pages I am interested in or I’m in need of, though oftentimes I’m tempted to reread the book thoroughly.

When in need of encouraging words, I keep my eyes on pages telling the life-story of Nyai Ontosoroh, a character in a novel of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia). The struggle of Nyai Ontosoroh that the life had to go on and she did it in any way that she pleased as an indigenous woman married with a native Dutchman looked as something burning the fire in myself that is almost extinguished. Her life was so miserable, but she went through it so bravely.

John Nash’s story of misery, written by Sylvia Nash as A beautiful mind, also reminded the misery was not the end of life. The ability of this genius mathematician to recover from schizophrenia whipped his spirit which had been lowered due to stress: “You can, you can!” Nash, who found the role-play theory in mathematics, was succeeded in getting rid of the voices pursuing him. He could free himself of the buzzing noises in his mind.

Reading the have-ever-been-read books not only provides a way to re-arouse our spirit but gives inspiration as well, as when I reread the biography of Frederico Garcia Lorca by Ian Gibson. I found something beyond my expectation and tried to comprehend what I hadn’t understood the first time I read it.

old booksTo tell the truth, rereading enriches my first understanding – you may also experience the same condition as I do. The same book may invite us to follow the story which may result in different meanings. Oftentimes, I find new things due to, perhaps, different way of reading I carry out.

During the rereading process, I sometimes enjoy the proclaimed eeriness as when I read Blade (Mata Pisau), a poem written by Sapardi Djoko Damono several years ago. I don’t know why I always feel this eeriness each time I read this poem. Even, the eeriness turns to be keener and keener rather than dull though read over and over. The line “It’s blooming when looking at your neck muscle” looks as if threatening me at the end of my rope.

For others, rereading such books may be considered time-waste. I feel adverse, though, particularly since I often find new meaning, understanding, and spirit from the sets of the same words I found during my first reading a couple of time ago. Rereading a book may seem like returning home.

Translated from this

5 thoughts on “Rereading Old Books

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