#9 – Creation

Why: I discovered it is marvelous to reread things. 

Many books in this twelve-part series are about shifts in paradigms in my approach to reading.  Today’s entry is about rereading a book not just once but over and over on a continual basis.

‘Creation’ is my favorite book. There, I have said it. I remember who recommended it and when and why. The novel is set in Athens at the time of Pericles. Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of Zoroaster, is dictating his memoirs to his great-nephew Democritus. He grew up in Persian Empire at the time of Cyrus the Great; he traveled and met several religious figures including The Buddha and Confucius.  Mr. Vidal does a great job combining well-researched history with a study of religion all done with rapier Gore Vidal wit.  “

“Creation” is one of those rare reads I dreaded coming to the ending knowing there would be no more. Has that every happened to you? It’s like the last day of a vacation when you have to come home. Up until this book I had the odd belief once a book was read it you moved on.* After all there were so many books yet to be read. Why would you reread something?  I know now this is nonsense. After all I’ve returned to favorite restaurants countless times only to order the same thing as I like it. I suppose I first reread ‘Creation’ less than a year after finishing it. It is such a rich book that every time I reread it I get more out of it.

Nowadays my to-do reading list always has one or two books to read again. I have a half-dozen books I revisit every 5-10 years. For example: “Oliver Twist”. The first read it (junior high school) it was something horrible almost science fiction; ten years later in my late adolescence it was almost hilarious, a sort of dark humor novel. Ten years later it was a sad read, full of pathos. The last time I read ‘Oliver Twist’ it was a disappointment, an anti-Semitic melodrama and a bit cheesy not as good as Mr. Dickens’ later works. I won’t reread again – or will I ?

I can’t tell you how many times I have read “Creation’. When I first read it, I was approximately the age of Democritus. I wonder how I will experience the book now that I am approaching the age of Cyrus. It’s time to reread it and find out.


What novel do you read over and over again? 


*There was one exception: “The Phantom Tollbooth”. I will write one this tomorrow.