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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Shamelessly Compiled | The Art of Rereading Books

Shamelessly Compiled is a biweekly blog about navigating identity, indecisiveness and living life through trial and error.
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Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

Hello Compilers, 

I have two main personality traits. 

The first one is that I love making progress. I love seeing things go through different phases and watching something be made from nothing. I love visualizing that progress — whether it is checking off my to-do list or watching a progress bar slowly inch toward 100%. 

The second one is that I love to read. I have had a bookshelf for as long as I can remember. What was first filled with “Junie B. Jones,” “Magic Tree House” and “Percy Jackson” is now stuffed with over 100 titles from different genres and writers. I genuinely could talk for hours about different book recommendations and suggestions. The community and emotional bond that books create between readers is so special to me, such as my mom’s book club — which I am a part of! 

You may be able to see where I am going with this. My love for making progress and reading complement each other quite well. To me, reading a book is one of the most satisfying ways of visualizing progress. Watching the bookmark move page by page towards the end, moving it from my TBR bookshelf to my finished shelf, marking it read on my GoodReads— I love it all. 

So you could imagine my confusion when I learned that people enjoy rereading books. I simply could not wrap my head around it. Why would someone want to take the time to reread a book when they could be spending that energy on a new book to add to their collection? It seemed counterintuitive to my progress-loving brain and therefore was always a pass from me. 

When I transferred to Pitt in the fall of 2021, it was an overwhelming and nerve-wracking time in my life. I really leaned into my books for support. Even just 30 minutes of a quick read outside would help make my hectic life a little more bearable. This is also around the time that Sally Rooney’s most recent book “Beautiful World, Where Are You” was released. Having read and adored both “Normal People” and “Conversations With Friends,” I pre-ordered the book as soon as I could. 

When the book finally got delivered in September, I inhaled it. I read it in less than a week in between classes, at night and on the weekend. Any free time I had, I dedicated to that book. I was sitting on the lawn of the Cathedral when I finally turned that last page and I cried. Not necessarily because the ending was sad, but more so because I was crushed that it was done. I was so attached to the characters and the storyline. This was one of the first books that I annotated as I underlined quotes that resonated with me, because at this time in my life, I was asking the same question as Rooney — where is my beautiful world? Will I ever find it? 

Flash forward to the summer of 2022. I finished my first year at Pitt and I was living on campus for the whole summer as I worked. I was happy, but I had a lot of alone time and I was starting to feel burnt out. I remember one day finishing a book and looking over at my bookshelf for what I would start next. I had so many options with uncracked spines and clean pages, but “Beautiful World, Where Are You” stared back at me. I was feeling the same emotions I was feeling when I read that book a year ago, so I gave rereading a try. 

I read it with the same voracity as I did the first time. I was shocked at how many new things I found to underline. I was shocked at how many plotlines or instances I never noticed and how I found myself relating to a completely new character. 

And then I was shocked to realize that I finally understood why people reread books. 

You see, rereading books is still progress — you just have to look for it. Because no, you are not adding to the number of books you have read or slimming down that growing TBR list. You aren’t making progress by rereading — you are visualizing progress. With every extra quote you find and every new character you relate to, that is a sign of your own internal growth — which is pretty cool. 

A page from “Beautiful World, Where Are You.” Each color pen is a new year. (Belle O’Hara | Staff Writer)

I have now reread “Beautiful World, Where Are You” and “Normal People” three times each. I have made it a tradition to reread “Beautiful World, Where Are You” going into a new school year or starting a new job. Each time I flip through the pages, I can see what was important to my younger self, the things that she felt worthy of underlining. Each of these books is like my own personal time machine. I remember what I was doing when I read this chapter! I remember why I underlined this! 

Progress is always happening, even if a box isn’t being checked off. But sometimes the only way to see it is by pausing and looking back to see where you started. I have to remind myself — and be reminded — of this often. So, grab that favorite book off of your shelf. Though the story will never change, you always will.