The art of re-reading

A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet with Mexican author Carlos Fuentes at his London flat. It was part of my job at the time to supervise the picking up of some 200 books from his personal library to be donated to Emmanuel College in Cambridge on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

I’ve met him before in literary events but being at his place gave me the biggest star struck I’ve ever felt. While the books were being packed I found myself eyeing shamelessly all his books (and photographs!), Fuentes was just smiling entertained by my very obvious nosiness. The only thing I could say was: So, do you re-read your books very often?

His answer was simple and perfect. He said he re-reads Don Quixote every year. And that everybody should have one book to go back to over and over again.

I’ve read many times Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being and it always feels like it is the first time as I see new meanings in Tómas and Tereza’s relationship. Also Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is another beloved novel. My absolute favourite part of the book are the opening lines. They make me smile.

But what about you? Which books do you tend to re-read?