Saturday, June 28, 2014

Reread: Into Thin Air (by Jon Krakauer)

This isn't an "official" reread, but I thought I'd talk a little bit about my rereading habits anyway since this is the year I am actually blogging rereads, and I'm not sure I've really made it clear just how much I reread stuff.

I Capture the Castle is a relatively new discovery, but I read it every year or so. Same with The Remains of the Day. I've been reading In This House of Brede once or twice a year since I first read it, which was in the sixth grade, so I'm going to conservatively say I've read it 30 times. And I often go back to childhood favorites, some classic, some not: Anne of the Island, Little Women, Little Men, The Black Stallion's Filly, Adorable Sunday, Invisible Lissa, The Club, The Game of Life, Jurassic Park, Annie on My Mind, the Anastasia Krupnik series, Gordon Korman's books, Ellen Conford's, Daniel Pinkwater's, a few of my favorite BSC books that I would be happy to enumerate at length (Mallory on Strike), and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Those are my comfort books and I'm often reading one alongside whatever my "assigned reading" is. A lot of them are short enough that I can read them in an hour or two, or sometimes I skim them, so I never add them to my booklists or count them in any way. Even this year, I've read a bunch of these without blogging them.

Into Thin Air is one of those comfort books, which is kind of weird since it's not exactly a feel-good book and it's nonfiction. I do occasionally reread nonfiction, stuff like the oral SNL history Live from New York, but this is one that really grabs me somehow, and I'm not sure why. It's Jon Krakauer's story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and I don't climb mountains or know any mountaineers. I know I'm a birder, but I've been reading and rereading this book since long before I was anything approaching "outdoorsy."

I used to read a battered old paperback until someone (I thought it was Ian but he has no memory of this) got me the illustrated edition for Christmas one year, and now I read both or either, depending on whether I feel like lugging around the giant illustrated edition. (I did this time; the pictures are awesome, definitely worth getting this version.) I guess the point about this book is: it's really well written and incredibly compelling, and so I keep coming back to it. And my point about rereading is: I do it a lot, which is why my bookshelves are overstuffed with things I know I'll probably come back to one of these days.

And this whole post just makes me want to go grab my copy of In This House of Brede again, and so that's what I'm going to do.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still keeping my paperback copy of this, because I'm pretty sure I'll reread it at some point. For me, it's one of those books that you read knowing you'll never ever climb Mt. Everest, but it's fascinating to experience vicariously from a safe (warm) distance.

7:58 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Yeah, exactly, it's definitely an experience I'll never have, so an interesting world to venture into every so often! You nailed it.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I really loved that book, but two years later it still gives me nightmares, so no re-reading for me...

9:39 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

That's interesting--I have a lot of things like that (like, I will probably never be able to watch "Downfall" again...) but this isn't one of them!

1:57 PM  

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