At the end of my fifth grade year, I discovered a little book in my teacher’s classroom library called The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton. I was into historical and realistic fiction at the time (and still am, in fact) and this particular one caught my eye because it was full of mystery and even had a spooky vibe coming off the cover. I borrowed the book and soon devoured it in no time.
There are certain books that stay with you forever and Hamilton’s book was one of them. It didn’t hurt when I found out several years later that she was from a small town not far from where I live. It’s always great to know that great artists of any kind come from where you’re from.
What makes a particular book stick with you for the rest of your life? What makes it so special that you want to read it over and over again? Why is this particular book a personal classic in comparison to another book?
As for myself, I read particular books over and over again because they’re comforting to me. I know what’s going to happen and I don’t have to feel tense about what might happen to the characters by the end of the book. Instead of racing to the end, I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the book for what it is rather than reading it as a means to the end. Reading certain books over again has often revealed things that I never noticed before in my race to find out what happened.
Books often have different messages at different ages.
When I was 11 years old, I read The Diary of Anne Frank because I was interested in the Holocaust. As much as I enjoyed her diary, her words didn’t fully impact me at the time. In college I re-read it after watching Freedom Writers, a true story of a teacher who had her students explore themselves through writing as well as read books that they could connect to such as Anne Frank. On reading it again, I found that I, too, had dreams of being creative and being heard but feeling frustrated that nobody was really interested. They expected me to be a certain way and anything that didn’t bring obvious results was frowned upon. I could relate to Anne because she felt like nobody was listening to her for who she really was.
Of course, not all books have such meanings. Some books are just there to enjoy and nothing more. Reading them relaxes you in ways other books can’t.
Books are a personal journey. What makes us want to read certain books over others depends on our interests and experiences. Our choice to re-read ones we’ve already read over others that we’ve only read once is a decision based on our spiritual connection and happiness to that book. We read because we enjoy how the books make us feel and sometimes we need to re-read it to get that feeling again.
Do you like to read books over again? Which books have stayed with you over the years?