I love to re-read books. Some books, such as Karen and With Love from Karen by Marie Killilea, I have read so many times that my copies have worn out, and I’ve had to replace them. You’ll note that the links I’ve given for these two books are to Amazon. I rarely link to Amazon any more, preferring to recommend independent booksellers, but the comments are fascinating to read for a person like me, as I felt I’d come to know the family through reading and re-reading the books. (The books are biographies of a girl growing up in the 1940s and 1950s dealing with cerebral palsy, written by her mother.)
The first time (of many) that I read Helene Hanff’s wonderful 84 Charing Cross Road and Duchess of Bloomsbury Street , I knew I had found a kindred spirit. She wrote, “My problem is that while other people are reading fifty books I’m reading one book fifty times. I only stop when at the bottom of page 20, say, I realize I can recite pages 21 and 22 from memory. Then I put the book away for a few years.” Yes. This link leads to a wonderful article about the books. I hope you’ll read it.
Did someone say “kindred spirit?” Yes, all the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery fall into the beloved re-reads category as well. So many books do.
I’m currently re-reading Julie Andrews’ autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. So much of what she says resonates deeply with me, although our life experiences are very different. Her middle grade novels The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and Mandy, along with one she wrote with her daughter, Emma, The Great American Mousical, generally live on my nightstand, because they are my go-to books that I like to have nearby.
Some people might think I am wasting time re-reading when I could be reading something new — after all, there are so many wonderful new books to discover. I assure you, I discover as many of the new ones as I can. But for me, not going back to dearly-loved or much-enjoyed already-read books would be like refusing to see a dear friend because he or she wasn’t someone new, for many of these books have become dear friends.
I have read scores of new-to-me books this year — and my list of those already shows a few re-reads. I read Cynthia Lord’s Half a Chance two or three times. I also re-read Jim McMullan’s Leaving China as soon as I had read it. (Come back here on October 17th for my post about that wonderful book.)
With each new book I open, there’s always the delicious possibility that this one will become one I will want to read again and again. Each new book holds the potential to become a friend, just as each new person I meet holds that potential.
What books have you read — or re-read — lately?