My son has read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series multiple times. And I mean multiple multiple times. It’s like comfort-food reading for him. Familiar and warm. (Kind of odd to put King in the ‘comfort’ category, isn’t it?!)
Me, not so much. I have never been one to turn back to a novel after I’ve enjoyed it on the first read-through, not even my favorites. Maybe that’s because the last book I read is usually my “favorite”–until I open the next. (I seem to have pretty good radar for books–or I’m incredibly indiscriminent–so for a moment my read-of-the-week is the best book ever.)
Our shelves house hundreds upon hundreds of books because I
like need to own my books and once they’re mine I can’t bear to part with them. It’s something akin to a mother’s love, I think–they become my offspring. Now it would save me a bundle of money if I did reread and I have this wild and crazy plan that when I retire, I’ll start at the top left hand shelf of the first bookcase and go right through to the end, rereading every last one of those lil’ darlings.
We’ll see how that goes.
I will confess, though, that there are two books I’ve read more than once–maybe three times or four? One is my favorite classic of all times, Jane Eyre. I read her first time around in high school when I was hungry for gothic romance. And what sixteen-year-old isn’t? Truthfully I think I have a little bit of Jane in me, so reading her comes as naturally as living–except that, no, my husband doesn’t have a crazy woman hidden in the attic. I don’t think. (I always skip the part where she lives at Marsh End, though–too much wholesome living and not enough romance for my tastes.) But Jane Eyre, classic that she is, seems like pretty standard rereading material.
My other reread is a lot more obscure: May Sarton’s Miss Pickthorn and Mr. Hare. A family friend gifted me the novel when I was in high school. It’s a rather odd choice for a teenage girl, I think, but I loved it then as I love it forty years later. Miss Pickthorn, retired Latin teacher, lives a solitary life in her tidy little cottage with its neat little woodpile and warm stove and letter writing in the afternoon. Mr. Trumbull Hare is a hobo who has taken up residence in the henhouse across the road–a ne’er-do-well who needs to be taken in hand. And so begins a sweet fable of friendship found and lost.
So I guess I do reread after all … I think it helps me remember who I was when.