Thursday, June 02, 2011


There are some movies I can watch hundreds of times. Some books I will read and reread on a regular basis. And some where once is enough.

It's not even a question of quality. My favorite fiction book ever is Possession by A.S. Byatt. I've only read it once and have no intention of picking up again. Perhaps I'm afraid it won't hold up or that my opinion will change. So maybe that's a bad example. But you know what I mean.

What is that elusive quality that makes something worth revisiting? Why is it whenever The Philadelphia Story is on I have to watch it, in spite of the fact that I can probably quote the entire movie? And yet I have to be in the mood to watch the delightful Hepburn-Tracy comedy Woman of the Year. I can pick up the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Gaudy Night on any day and happily open it an random and be entertained. And yet her equally good book Strong Poison requires the right frame of mind.

My "endless watch" list of movies is practically endless. Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, On the Town, To Have and Have Not, and any of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or James Bond movies. And about a dozen more, now that I think about it. There are even nights when I should be sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) and yet I'm staying up because I just have to see the end of a movie I've watched innumerable times. A few weeks ago I stayed up because The Big Sleep was on and I'm genetically incapable of turning off that particular Bogart classic.

And when I'm prowling around looking for something to read, my hand naturally goes to the old favorites. I might pick up something I haven't read for a while and, without fail, I'll put it down and pick up Murder on the Orient Express for the hundredth time. Why is that?

There is certainly comfort with an old favorite. A level of brainless relaxation that is, at times, necessary. But it's still odd how often I go with the familiar rather than the different.

1 comment:

FinnyKnits said...

I have a similar affliction. Even though I have a stack of new reading and a Book Club read I haven't started, I am tempted to pick up either Cold Mountain or Winterdance.

I think it's because I know that neither will let me down with a shitty ending.

*I'm looking at you THE STAND*