“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” –C.S. Lewis
Sifting through author quotes online, one by C.S. Lewis caught my eye and I couldn’t help but ask, “Do I do this? Do I read an old book every time I read a new one?” From time to time, life just gets so busy and I have a million books to read and review that books I have already read in the past get lost to the wayside. Not to mention that most of the time I get caught up reading books that have been released recently.
When I was in Grad School, for instance, I know I didn’t read many old books in between my gazillion reading assignments (I was a Literature and Library Science major). Admittedly, fitting in an old fave or a classic novel in the midst of 6-7 mostly new novels per week might be construed as a little insane so I did start to lose sight of all those old books I wanted to revisit or classic I wanted to try for the first time. Nevertheless, the rare moments when I couldn’t handle another new book that held little interest for me (this did happen on occasion when I just wanted some Jane Austen), I turned to the past and opened the pages of the stories that gave me the most comfort.
And after looking back, these are the novels that I recollect too. The books I only read once are like fleeting memories that only hold a glimmer of remembrance in my mind. Sometimes, all I recall is that I read it. So I wonder, if all we did was read ‘new’ books, then what stories would we remember in the long run?
This is why for the next month, I want to put forth a challenge for myself and for all of you reading this short blog post: Next time you finish a new book, follow it with an old one like C.S. Lewis suggests: see what new aspects of the book you discover for the first time and also what parts return to your memory as if they had never left you. OR find a classic that you have never read before and discover a world different from the modern. Read a novel that has been proven worthy enough to have stood the test of time. See what happens.
Will you take the C.S. Lewis Book Challenge? Sound off below…
Read Amber’s post about C.S. Lewis on Writing & Criticism
Join in on the game: Fictional Characters to Marry, Date, or Dump
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