Titanic is back in theaters, and while the lure of seeing it in 3D is at least something new, I still can't muster the stamina to experience a sinking ship, once again, for the majority of nearly four hours. Since I did see the film four times in rapid succession when it opened back in 1997 (13 hours of Leonardo DiCaprio!), I am, alas, still spent. But remembering this huge pop culture phenomenon of my past has prompted me to think about other titles that might be worth digging out of the archives. You can usually trace a narrative of your own self-growth through the experience of reading and re-reading the same book (multiple times, perhaps), or revisiting a favorite old flick, yet it's something I don't do often enough.
Recently my book club read Nobokov's Lolita, which many of us had already read at some point in college or our adult years, myself included. But this time I noticed a stronger tug between what I should feel, what I wanted to feel, and what I ultimately did feel towards Humbert Humbert. And the writing itself (Nabokov's first book in English) was soaked in metaphors; it was challenging at times, but appreciably so for forcing me to slow down, chew carefully, then swallow. My first reading was a light skim by comparison, probably more for the sake of having read the book, then being in the process of reading the book.
Here are a few other titles I've considered revisiting, some serious, some less so.
The Celestine Prophecy - though this gave me the confidence to have the philosophy that everything happens for a reason, I'd probably find this an unbearable read now. From what I remember the writing wasn't great, the narrative was flimsy, and the message was something I suspect I would have arrived at on my own at one point or another. Still, this marked an inner awakening of sorts.
The Fountainhead - Truthfully, I'm a little anxious to get involved with this epic novel again—I've been avoiding it. I was so passionately consumed by Ayn Rand's Howard Roark, reading The Fountainhead was like falling in love for the first time. But sometimes you run into your first love later in life and walk away feeling mortified and confused, or self-validated for having dodged a bullet. Or you might decide to go get a drink and reminisce about the past, but happily leave it there when the check arrives. Or sometimes you fall back in love and it's better than ever. See? Too many factors when really, I think I'd like this book to remain in its rightful "first love" category, which means we can never cross paths again.
Here is New York - I read this at least once a year. And each time I find myself loving it, and adoring New York even more.
Cookbooks - Whenever I scan the cookbooks in my kitchen, each one takes me back to a specific moment revolving around cultural food trends, what I wanted to eat, and what I wanted to cook for others. In college I relied on the Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook, thanks to my vegan roommates. Afterwards I invested in everything Barefoot Contessa, and vowed never again to buy a cookbook without beautiful photos. New York restaurants and big personality chefs have their real estate on my shelf too, along with books I've barely cracked, but can't bear to give away just yet because I keep thinking that someday, the future me will want to cook and host and laugh like Julia Child. There's still time.