Perennial Reading


Doesn’t everyone have a ‘to-be-read-again’ list of books that equal, or exceed, in length a list of books that still need to be read? Maybe it’s a written list, maybe it’s one held in your mind as a vague and various bunch of books that were exceptionally good reads. Maybe it’s a sub-liminal list from which books only spring to mind when triggered by a word, scent, sight, or even a song heard long ago while reading that book. Then you get that all-over, tingly, mystical frisson that sends a message to your brain saying, oh,yeah, I should read that again, soon. Maybe now. And somehow you manage to get hold of that book from off a dusty shelf, from your mother’s house, out of an unpacked box of books from your move twenty years ago. Or you just happen to see it in a yard sale for five cents. That’s kismet.

My to-be-read-again list is unwritten. I’m not sure what’s actually on that list, but I’m darn sure there is a list, and I think it’s the sub-liminal kind.

I looked up sub-liminal and discovered it’s equally acceptable spelled with or without the hyphen. That’s interesting. Another interesting thing is my discovery of WICTIONARY. I looked further and discovered that Wictionary is a Wiki-based Open Content dictionary. I kept looking and probing and maybe never would have gotten back on track with this post if I hadn’t glanced at the clock. I stopped in the middle of reading all about Beowulf Clusters. At this hour enough is enough. (Ten PM.)

Sub(-)liminal still means what I thought it meant, and then a little extra:“Below the threshold of conscious perceptions, especially if still able to produce a response.!

Ok. I take those bold italics to mean that I might not get that frisson if the subliminal message to read a specific book:

a. is past it’s expiration date, meaning I’ve moved on past that book to bigger and better books, or;

b. I’ve actually just re-read that book and the message fell on a satiated sense, or;

c. the last time I re-read that book I hated it and the message fell on a repugnant sense.

I looked up repugnant in Wiktionary just to make sure that at ten:eighteen I was still conscious.

It’s from the Old French, (borrowed from the Latin, pugnare – to fight). Repugnant means, “to oppose, to fight against.” If I hated a book that much I suppose I would fight against it, no matter how many subliminal messages I received to the contrary.

I’d love to hear about lists that don’t wreak havoc on the sub_concious.

I’d love to hear what books are on those lists!

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on August 18, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The thing is, the subliminal ones can’t be called up without a chance trigger. I do have one shelf of books, though, that I know are permanently, superliminally rereadable. I keep them together the way one keeps the Christmas ornaments together, to be used on special occasions. For instance, one is Diana Wynne Jones’s “Deep Secret,” a fantasy that always provides a retreat in times of uproar. Another is “Precious Bane” by Mary Webb, not now well-thought of. It takes me into the pre-industrial English countryside better than gloomy old Thomas Hardy any day. More recently, I’ve added “Swamplandia” and “Winter’s Tale.” Laura Shapiro’s “Perfection Salad” is up there, too.

    What are your forever books?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: