Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So great I've read it two times...or fifteen

Most readers have books they have to visit several times.  I'm a massive rereader, especially during busy times at work.   Since I have trouble putting new books down it's nice sometimes to read something where you already know what happens.  But for me there are a few books that I reread because I get something new from them everytime.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is one such book for me.  It was assigned my senior year of high school which should have cursed it (being forced to read something has a tendency to take the joy out of it), but I was drawn into the novel immediately.   I've realized since that it's amazing that I was so into it, because the pacing of the novel is slow at the beginning and speeds up as it goes along.

Peekay is the perfect protagonist for me.  He suffered as a child, but survives due to his intellect (I love smart).  As his life journey progresses there are multitudes of characters and friends who provide insight and build his worldview.  Characters that helped shape the path Peekay's life would take were only around for days or months, but I love how it shows how impressionable children are - that if a child looks up to you and you tell them they are capable of something they will believe you.  Unfortunately the reverse is true too.

There's diversity in the people who befriend Peekay, but what they all share is a thirst of knowledge and self improvement and that's a message I like (and definitely benefit from reading).  I've read this annually since the first reading and discover something new everytime.

Favorite quotes

“The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better.”

“Always listen to yourself... It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention.”

“Your brain, Peekay, has two functions; it is a place for original thought, but also it is a reference library. Use it to tell you where to look, and then you will have for yourself all the brains that have ever been”


  1. I've never heard of this one, but I love books that get better with re-reading. I will have to look this one up (and try to remember it starts off a little slowly, but not to give up).

    I'm not a huge re-reader myself, mostly because I get distracted by shiny new books, but I did just finish my second read of Attachments. I raced through it much like I did the first time which surprised me because I already knew what was going to happen. Also, it was laugh-out-loud funnier than I remember. I had to keep reading passages to my husband because they were so good.

    1. Sometime I enjoy the second read more than the first, because the first reading I'm rushing to find out what HAPPENS and the second I can enjoy the journey more. So true of Attachments. I feel like the conversations are a little Sorkinesqe - you almost have to hear them in your head to fully get how funny (and real) they are.

      I obviously highly recommend "The Power of One", but I think you either love it or hate it. My book club read it at my suggestion and about half loved it and gave it 4-5 stars and the other half couldn't finish.