For this month’s Faith and Fiction Round Table, hosted by Amy of My Friend Amy fame, we read and discussed Godric by Frederick Buechner. I really didn’t know anything about the book before reading it, and honestly I sort of wish I’d done a little more research before diving right in. Not because doing research would have made me decide not to read it, but because knowing more of the history would have definitely helped me to get into the book and enjoy it more. As it stands, I didn’t much like the book, but I do think I would get more out of it if I were to read it through a second time. Coincidentally, the part of the discussion that I’m posting has to do with the merits of rereading the book!
So, let’s get to it… here’s that part of our discussion:
Heather: I almost feel like if I read the book again I might come to a better understanding and glean more meaning from it. I actually might do that sometime in the near future, because I do see value in Godric’s story, it’s just that unfortunately for me I didn’t fully grasp that value in any meaningful way.
Pete: It’s also a book that, like most great literature, deepens with repeat reading. I’ve read it and re-read it and re-read it and it never ceases to amaze me. Every time I go back, I find more meat to chew on. Things I missed, things I didn’t see or didn’t understand before. And the miracle is that it accomplishes so much in so few words. It’s a very short book. As I said before, it nails the economy of words in ways that few books in our language ever have.
It’s also such a widely quoted book that for folks who love the music of songwriters like Eric Peters, Jason Gray, or Andrew Peterson certain passages and turns of phrase will seem instantly familiar. Again, like reading Shakespeare, you find yourself thinking “Ah hah! So that’s where that saying came from.”
Hannah: Pete, I can see how it could improve on re-reading. Sometimes I really wish I was more of a re-reader!
Amy: I will definitely reread this at some point, because I think I missed about half the book. I love the passage you quoted, Carrie, and there were several other gorgeous heart achingly true passages that would sneak up on me just as I was wondering why I was reading it.
Teresa: This definitely seems like a book that would reward rereading. It’s one of those books that if I had unlimited time, I’d sit down and reread again right away, just because I want to continue thinking about the ideas within it, especially the ones about self-image versus public image versus the way God sees us.
I’m really glad I got the opportunity to read Godric and discuss it with these lovely people. Even though the book wasn’t really for me, I loved hearing what everyone else thought of it. Please check out the rest of the discussion over at Amy’s blog.