Don’t just read Again, but Better…Experience it!
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio was yet another book I read during my ongoing journey of comp title discovery. This is a book for anyone who has ever thought what if, which is probably every single one of us. It was an immensely fun read, one that I wish I could have a do over with, just so I could experience it again for the first time.
Shane wanted nothing more than a second chance, and she’s getting it! She’s studying abroad in London for a semester where she’s vowed to finally do college right: put herself out there, take the classes that inspire her, make friends, meet boys. So when she arrives and everything starts falling into place–classes, friends, new experiences, the boy–she’s ecstatic. But old habits are hard to kick, and when it all comes crashing down she might need a third chance. Too bad that’s not possible. Or is it?
Again, but Better was a novel that seemed tailor made for my blog. There were so many references that it was nearly impossible to decide which things to experience. Shane reads the Mortal Instruments book series, which has been on my reading list for an eternity, as well as several Dan Brown novels. When she visits Paris she goes to a club that is playing some of my favorite music from back in the day: Green Day, Good Charlotte, The All-American Rejects. The Beatles and Taylor Swift are brought up repeatedly. She eats shawarma on numerous occasions, which I tried on my honeymoon, so I have a first hand understanding of how obsessed she became with this particular food. She plays games with her flatmates like Word Kinish, Rummy 500, and Egyptian Rat Screw–the last of which is my favorite.
However, in the spirit of my own college experience, I decided to go with the one thing that both Shane and I were obsessed with during this time in our lives: Lost. I can’t say that every season of the television show held the same level of magic for me, but in college I started watching Lost with my totally amazing roommate. We went out of our way to show it to anyone who would watch it with us, which meant that we saw the first season over and over and over. We introduced the show to tons of girls in our dorm, our friends from back home, and my boyfriend–who eventually became my husband. We endlessly theorized about the show. We spent so many hours pouring over the fuselage website discussion threads about what everything meant. We annoyed the crap out of each other by getting an episode ahead and then wearing a knowing smirk until the other person caught up.
In Again, but Better, Shane is so obsessed that she has a bracelet with the famous numbers from the show, and she even named her computer Sawyer after one of the characters. Some might find this to be overboard, but I can totally relate.
In the spring of my junior year of college there was a free comedian that came to do a show on the same night that Lost aired. Since we didn’t have a DVR, or a TV with OnDemand capabilities, or Hulu to watch the next day, we only went to the comedian because it was supposed to be over before the new episode began. The comedian arrived way late, and we were all silently freaking out about whether we’d get back to our dorm in time to watch; so much so that I don’t think I really enjoyed the second half of the comedy routine. When the act finally ended, we hoofed it back to the dorm, only to find the episode was being constantly interrupted for weather updates about storms that were affecting our viewing area but not us. At this point there were five college students crammed into one dorm yelling at the television, only to finally see the last few minutes of Season Four, Episode Ten Something Nice Back Home, which was slightly crazy to say the least. Shane would have totally understood our level of WTF?? as the credits rolled after an insane cliff hanger in the jungle, which for us came out of nowhere.
These days Lost isn’t one of my favorite shows anymore, but I’ll never forget the excitement I felt about it back when it was originally on. Even more so, I’ll always remember the people I watched it with. I hope everyone has a show like that at some point out another–one that seemingly becomes a part of you.
There you have it. As you read Again, but Better, see if you have any connections to the things that shaped Shane’s experiences. Reminisce about the little memories those connections bring up. See if you can find something new to read, watch, eat or play. Put yourself out there to try something new, because not everyone gets as many chances as Shane did.
If you haven’t already read Again, but Better, what are you waiting for? If you already have, why not pick it up again? Either way, take my advice when you do–don’t just read it, experience it!