Rereading books

I have this problem.  I read a book and then another book and then another and another and another and then soon enough I forget what the first book was about.  I even forget what happens in books I like.  It’s terrible.  So, if I like a book enough I’ll have to reread it eventually, not just to enjoy it again, but to actually remember how it ended again.  (I also have to reread the Temeraire series before I read the 4th book because I don’t remember how the 3rd book ended…)

Anyways, I just finished rereading The Time Traveler’s Wife again, even though I only just read it a couple months ago.  Because my sister is reading it for the first time the copy of the book has been lying around the house, so I sort of got sucked into it when I picked it up and just started reading it again.

This time, since I just read the book in November, I remembered how the book ended and the essential plot points.  And even though everything was still fresh in my memory it still made me bawl at the end.  Maybe even more than the first time.  Some of the little things that happen and the little things that are said are what make the book amazing and it’s those things that I loved to reread.

This is a plea.  If you still have not read this book, please do.

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Warning: Books may make me cry

If it is a sad book or if there is a sad part in a book, I will cry.  I just will.  There’s a whole range of different cries.  In order from least severe to most…

  1. You know when you kind of choke on your emotions?  That’s what happens when I read mildly sad things, I can feel the sadness welling in the back of my throat, but I can usually push it back down before I reach stage 2.
  2. My tear ducts get a little excersize and my eyes get a little wet in the corners, but my eyeballs suck the tears back in before they can escape.
  3. Small and silent tears.
  4. Epic, silent tears.
  5. Epic tears, not so silent.  You know, gasping a little, noises of quiet despair.
  6. Only once have I ever actually sobbed for a fictional character.

The Time Traveler’s Wife was a 5.  It has the perfect bittersweet ending.  Mostly, it makes me sad, but a the same time I have hope.

Basic premise of the book: Henry=spontaneous time traveler.  Clare=regular girl.  Henry time travels a lot into Clare’s past and Henry is married to Clare in the present.  But the present is also the past.  And the past is also the present.

The Time Traveler's WifeIt’s complicated, but it makes sense.  There is a lot of circular logic.  It’s fascinating.  I just sit here and try to work it all out in my head because it makes sense until you think about it too much, but if you think about it a lot it starts to make sense, and then you lose the sense of it again.  It’s crazy and it hurts my head, but it’s so COOL.  I can’t imagine being the author and trying to make sense of the whole time travel thing enough to write about it.  The setting jumps around a lot in both location and time, but it still makes sense.  There is a logical order even though it’s largely not sequential.

But the books also hugely romantic.  Once you get past the fact that sometimes 40-year-old Henry is in love with 12-year-old Clare it’s immensely sweet and lovely.  Clare ends up being in love and knowing Henry all her life and she never stops loving him despite the bizarre time traveling thing.

There’s just too much to this book to be talked about.  It’s absolutely amazing.  It’s my current favorite.  And you really ought to read it and then talk to me about it in full.

For posterity: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, read by me from Nov. 4-7, 2008