Rereading trepidation

I’ve been an evangelist for Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow since I first read it in 1996. Although using science fiction as a vehicle, it is a thought-provoking look at philosophy and spirituality. I even have two first editions of it, the one I read and a rather pristine one as a sort of personal collector’s item. It is, of course, on my list of Desert Island Books.

sparrowTwo or three months ago I pulled my first copy of the shelves, thinking I should read it again. It got moved to the “TBR” bookshelves next to the bed — and it’s sat there ever since. Why? I’m afraid that, for whatever reason, it won’t be as good. I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. In fact, what prompted this post was another blogger’s post about in rereading one of her favorite books, she was unable to recapture it — or even make it more than 150 pages in.

I think I’ve only reread three of the ten books on my Desert Island list. And I know Darkness at Noon lost some of its force with Communist regimes falling by the wayside. Of course, the book was written more than 70 years ago (although just nine years before 1984).

I don’t know if I will overcome this fear. Every time I see the book spine I think of how much I loved the book — and then think how I don’t want to ruin that feeling.


If you saw a burning bush, would you (a) call 911, (b) get the hot dogs, or (c) recognize God? A vanishingly small number of people would recognize God … and most of them had simply missed a dose of Thorazine.

Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow

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