The Sunday Salon: When rereading is more enjoyable than reading a book the first time

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Sunday 
Salon.com

I've been rereading The Complete Maus over the last week and a half. Certainly an eternal period for someone who whizzes through graphic books. In fact, the first time I read Maus, I finished it within two weekdays. And then I spent a long time wondering how to review it and where to start. By the time, I considered writing the review, I had forgotten all the little things about the book and could just recollect the main essence of the book. That was sad because Maus was so complex and so profound that it felt a pity to not be able to remember it all by rote.



When Art Speigelman's new book, MetaMaus, was released last year, I spent some fan-angst moments in front of the book and then walked away because of the frightening price. The husband, thankfully, thought otherwise and gifted both The Complete Maus and MetaMaus for Valentine's Day last year. Let me begin by explaining how beautiful the books looked. I'm a sucker for bound books with beautiful cover art and would put them proudly on the coffee table to show them off to anyone who visited. (Except, we have an in-house rule to keep minimal items on the coffee table.)

Over the last two weeks, I've been rediscovering Maus, with all its magnificence. It's not often that I reread books patiently. Knowing what comes next can sometimes make me skip ahead. With Maus, it helped that I didn't really remember many things. For instance, I didn't remember that Art's father, Vladek, had been taken on a march by the Nazis, when the war was nearing its end. I completely forgot that his mother had committed suicide and that Art himself had been an inmate in a mental hospital for a brief period. It also helped that the story is very accessible and Art's sketches say the story so well.

I've been finding that graphic books make excellent mediums to reread often. The pictorial aspect of these books make them feel new each time I try to read them. There's always something new I find in them. Moreover, the first time I read a graphic book, I read it too fast. But the second time, I'm able to pause more and absorb more.




Currently, I'm reading MetaMaus, which is a How-Maus-came-into-being book. I usually never read books like those. I even stayed away from the How-Harry-Potter-movies-came-into-being books. So even though I've been itching to read MetaMaus, part of me was worried that it will be a bit dry. On the contrary, the book is turning out to be so informational. It helps that I just finished reading Maus, so everything is still fresh in my head. Every time Art shares some new info in MetaMaus, I've been going back to Maus to reread sections with a new perspective. I feel totally geeky reading MetaMaus and have been sharing bits with the husband, just to be able to talk with someone about it.

Have you ever felt that way about rereading any book?

12 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I've never dug these but my hubs is a huggge fan.

bermudaonion(Kathy) said...

I think graphic novels are different every time you read them too. I've never read Maus but I really want to.

Shannon @ River City Reading said...

That's a really great point about graphic novels being good for re-reads. I think sometimes I miss too much of the great art the first time around, since I'm trying to focus on the story.

Jennifer Hartling said...

I absolutely have to get my hands on a copy of MetaMaus. It sounds wonderful!

Helen Murdoch said...

I think I'd really like reading MetaMaus since I enjoy hearing how books or movies came into being

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Oh wow, I didn't even know MetaMaus existed. I'm looking it up now and it looks absolutely fascinating. It's been way too long since I read Maus in the first place; I'd love to hear from the artist how it looks to him from so many years' distance.

Athira / Aths said...

Were you not able to enjoy them or you haven't had a chance to read them?

Athira / Aths said...

I hope you get a chance to. There's so much to these books.

Athira / Aths said...

You phrased that right. The first time I read a graphic book, I read fast to get the plot. I should make a habit of rereading graphic books.

Athira / Aths said...

It is wonderful so far. There's even a disc included in the book. So much information!

Athira / Aths said...

Then I'm sure you will enjoy this book. I hope you give it a try!

Athira / Aths said...

So far, the book is a real treasure! I love it and just cannot wait to talk about it.