Henry Miller writes somewhere -- I think it may in The Books in My Life -- that when, as a young man, he read Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, he was enthralled, but that, when he tried to read it again years later, he couldn't get into it and wondered what about it had ever appealed to him.
Re-reading a book that had an especially strong impact at a particular time in one's life may be a dangerous proposition. I'll find out in October, when I'm taking a week off, and plan on re-reading Alain-Fournier's The Wanderer (Le grand Meaulnes). It's a book that has for years occupied a magical spot in my memory, but my wife read it while we were on vacation recently and was, shall we say, underwhelmed. She found it charming, but too vague and misty for her tastes.
I think it's a book likely to appeal to a man rather than a woman -- and a youth rather than an adult -- and a romantic, dreamy youth at that.
At any rate, I am going to from time to time revisit books that meant much to me in times past and report in my column on the results. Perhaps I will simply rid myself of the few illusions I have left.