Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Purpose and Pleasure of Re-reading Books

I have a print of one of my favorite paintings, Flaming June by Frederic Leighton, hanging on my bedroom wall. I have lived in many different places, but that picture is a staple, it is always hanging in my room wherever I go. My favorite things in life are like that, I can appreciate and experience them over and over again with undiminished enthusiasm.

There are many books that fit into this category. I'm just never not in the mood for some books. But the book that's been on my mind lately is Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. As our Classics You Forgot to Read book club is gearing up for another of Twain's works (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court), I am reminded of just how much I love that book.

When I first read it I was in 6th grade and my Language arts class read it as an assignment. Back then it was just a great adventure story and a classic, but not much more.

Then I moved to another district and had to read it again in 8th grade. At that point I was a little older, a little more attuned to writing devices, and the story unfolded for me. I reveled in Twain's colloquial voice and bold humor. Studying how well this adventure story was written made me a better writer.

Then testing requirements changed and I read it yet again for AP Language in 11th grade. At this point I knew quite a bit about writing, I knew quite a bit about US history, and I was already very familiar with Mr. Huck Finn and Jim. Because of my previous enjoyment and analysis of Twain, the nuances of his prose and social commentary simply came alive.
I can't wait to read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, with any luck at all it will make me love Twain even more!


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