I’m not sure exactly when I started to use Mercury Retrograde to return to the books I love. It probably was when I decided to more closely align with what Mercury Rx was excellent for to mitigate what it gets a bad rap for (miscommunication, travel disruptions, tech meltdowns, delays of all kinds). It worked. I found that as I fell down rabbit holes of favourite books, music and films, there were fewer disruptions and problems.
I hadn’t thought much about the old habit until Rus asked Adam and I last year ago if we’d read any book six times or more.
I have. (Have you?)
It’s entirely likely I’ve read The Book Thief and The Time Traveller’s Wife that many times. I’ve read more than three times The Passion and The Red Tent. In the past 18 months I’ve read The Idea of You four times, and I’m certain I’ll read it many more times.
For me, there is something special about returning to old stories, old friends and reliving their journeys again.
The second time I read The Time Traveller’s Wife it was like I was reading a totally different book. First time, I was so wrapped up in the tragedy of the love story, I missed the darker elements. They were unmissable the second time round.
What is Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury Retrograde happens three times a year (sometimes four). While Mercury doesn’t really go backward, it is an illusion from here, astrologically it is considered a disruption to Mercury’s modus operandi for three odd weeks (delays in communication, technology and travel to name a few things). But it’s a perfect time to stop and reflect (or many of the other ‘re’ words). Of which re-reading is a perfect fit.
Why would anyone re-read a book when so many books will go unread before we die?
” Re-reading can help form new perspectives and better self-understanding – much like talking to new people.”
Populus Omnibus Survey, 2021
In 2021, The Reading Agency (who run World Book Night) in conjunction with SpecSavers ran a survey on re-reading, which they released for World Book Night.
They found in the last 12 months:
- 53% of people had re-read a book
- 61% in the 18-14 age group had
- 46% aged over 65 had
This reflects research that people seek familiar and predictable enjoyment in activities durinng times of change.
The reasons people returned to books included:
- for comfort
- to relax
- escaping reality
- discovering aspects they hadn’t noticed before, and
- re-reading feeling familiar
The most popular genres were:
- sci-fi (men)
- romance (women) and
I looked forward to my Mercury Rx re-reading schedule for years; of taking my favourite old reads down and making them new. It appears as people returned to old literary loves, I did the opposite.
I am determined to make the most of this transit – even if I only manage one re-read (because someone bought a massive pile of books home from the library last week!) Mercury Rx through Taurus is a call to return to pleasure pursuits and there is nothing more pleasurable that finding myself lost in a good book.
There are worse ways to spend April 24th – May 15th.
Perhaps it’s time to pick up an old book love? Or your favourite movie, music, game or any other kind of pop culture (which also has strong Mercury ties).
Drop a comment and let me know what you plan to rediscover this Mercury Rx.
Image: Cosmic Couch by Me
PS: From lived experience, I know editing is super-powered during Mercury and I’ll be embarking on rewrites of a secret project I’ve been working on with Rus and Adam since 2017 as well as finally compiling a collection of my previously published short fiction.