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For me, book love came early. The written word has always filled me with wonder and as early as age four or five, I started writing stories myself. I remember wanting to capture and share that same feeling that a good book gave to me, in words that I strung together. My beginning attempts were meagre, but they were the start of something. And thankfully, the books I read were far richer than my poor attempts to mimic them, and they grew in me an appreciation of good writing.
I have never been a prolific writer, nor have I read tons of books. And yet, I have spent much of my life reading. So, why doesn’t the math seem to add up?
I am a re-reader.
My favourite thing to do after reading a good book? Read it again. And again. And you guessed it—again.
Book love, my friend, is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for His creatures. It will last when all other pleasures fade. It will support you when all other recreations are gone. It will last until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.
For me, part of the magic of words is the power each one has to continuously unfold in a myriad of ways. So, that one line I loved at age 7 can strike me anew at age 16 and still surprise me afresh at 33. Perfect example » the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis get me every time I read them; and I’m pretty sure at this point I’ve read them all at least ten times. And often it’s the exact same line–I see it already underlined, and sometimes have to underline it again just to accentuate that its power has not been lost on me. (I would show you an example but I lent my set to a good friend so she could read it for the first time!! Nothing makes me happier. I did get a great old hardback version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last year–it remains unmarked.)
Books encompass worlds and though it’s true they can provide an escape, what I find more true is that they can change your actual day-to-day life into something you want to live. To books! To life!
I so wish my grandma was still around to read her this post. The Trollope quote completely describes her — even when her body was failing in old age, she still read nearly a book a day, and it kept her mind remarkably sharp to the end. She would have been the first to tell you it definitely made for more “pleasant” days too. :)
And I think Gilead is my most re-read read. I read it about once a year!
wow, ali! wish i could’ve known your grandma; she sounds lovely.
a book a day is impressive. i hope to be just such an old lady. :)
and i don’t think i realised how much you like gilead! :)
i tend to read tolkien on a yearly basis as well.
I’m picking up “The Hobbit” today. Really looking forward to diving in!
I’m generally a one-and-done reader, with the exception of a small number of books. The ONLY novel I have ever read a second time immediately after finishing it the first time was “The Power and the Glory” by Graham Greene. I don’t even know why, but I literally turned the last page and immediately turned to the first and started again. Most of my other re-reads are Christian lit like Lewis or Nouwen. But in general I think I’m more of a consumptive reader, wanting to get as many books under my belt as possible–although this post inspires me to try out re-reading more often.
i remember you saying that about “the power & the glory” and being so impressed — both by you and the book, for calling that out in you.
I’m a one-and-done reader because I love the way the story of a book unfolds, and usually, once I know how the story, the book doesn’t give me the same enjoyment a subsequent time. The only books I’ve read twice are Harry Potter book 5, Harry Potter book 6, the Hunger Games, and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I know, I know…they’re not exactly examples of great, ground breaking literature, other than the LW and the W, but hey, they entertained me both times around. I discovered new insights on the second readings, too. So, maybe I should reread more often?
i love how differently we all approach reading. and i’m, of course, particularly pleased to see CS Lewis on your repeat list. :)
I used to be a bigger rereader, but mostly im a one and done anymore. I currently go back to these about once a year: harry potter, bridget jones, david sedaris, bossypants.
bossypants! :) that’s awesome, katie. as for sedaris, i still haven’t read him yet. do you have a favourite of his you’d recommend?
I read a book & have book withdrawal, nothing will ever be that engaging again.
I either reread or complain every night I don’t have a good book, then finally I pick up something else.
It starts all over again. it’s a vicious cycle for me!
but just think how great it is that you could feel that connected to a book! i love that feeling. even though it’s painful at times — it’s so beautiful. i remember being in tears as a kid when i would finish a book, because i so didn’t want it to end.
Oh book withdrawal! I think the worst book withdrawal I’ve experienced was Harry Potter. I just couldn’t believe it was over! But I have experienced it several times, and it is rather devastating. But you’re right Beth, it is beautiful that a book could be so engaging that my missing it feels almost painful.
And now I need someone to recommend a book that has left you there? It’s time for some book withdrawal. :)
Have you ever read anything by Lloyd Alexander? His Westmark trilogy and Chronicles of Prydain have been favourites since childhood. I named my first cat after the main character in the Westmark books.
Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.
I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.
Thanks. Yep, my twitter handle is betmercer.
Hello, I log on to your blog daily. Your writing style is awesome,
keep up the good work!
Thanks, Marjorie. Don’t know how I missed this comment, but I appreciate your kind words.