Have you had the sensation? You realize it a few pages in, or chapters if it was particularly forgetable. "I have read this book before." It's especially frustrating when it's someone like Agatha Christie or Graham Greene who has so many books, so many editions existing of each, and multiple titles for many of them... an easy-to-make mistake, right?
I had the reverse sensation this weekend. I picked up Whitethorn Woods at the library resale shop. I knew I didn't own a copy, and figured a tidy mass market copy of Maeve Binchy would not be unread. I do like Maeve Binchy, and I love the idea that you can buy a new, readable book for $5, which inclined me to this edition. I would have sworn on a Bible I'd read all of hers, including this one. I could tell you the skeleton of plot: a bypass threatens a shrine. I am almost positive I checked it out of the Ann Arbor public library. But evidently I didn't get around to reading this one. I think I might have been buried in Brookner. So I had the sensation of reading, waiting to see if I recognized the next vignette, but I never did... and now I will never be altogether sure whether I have read anything, really, ever again.