I have met people on my travels who have told me they will read a book once and then donate it to a library or the thrift shop. I actually met someone a long time ago who (gasp) bought paperbacks and tossed them in the trash when they were done. ACK! ACK! ACK!
Needless to say, that’s outside my scope of understanding. Oh, I’ve read a book and decided it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve purged my library a few times of books that I was given and didn’t connect with or that I felt I’d outgrown. Out with the old to make way for the new.
I no longer loan my books out because it seems I never get them back, or if I do they are not in the same condition they were when I saw them last. One time, I found one of my books in another person’s library. It was given to them by a mutual friend. How did I know it was mine? I told them to open the front cover and read what they saw.
“Liberated from the library of K.S. Thompson.”, they sheepishly replied.
I wish I had had the guts to ask for it back. It was a good book. Instead, I decided right then and there that I would rather buy you a copy of my favorite book than take a chance with mine.
That same library holds stacks of books that I’ve read more than a few times and stacks of others I can’t wait to dive into. I have a list of books that I typically read every summer, some dating back as far as Jr. High.
I wondered why it is that some of us re-read our favourites. We already know the story inside out, including the ending. We know exactly what’s coming for our characters. So what is it that keeps us returning to them over and over again?
In times of stress, there is comfort in familiarity. When life seems to be throwing you a curveball, it’s good to know you can retreat to a world that you love and escape for a while. A place where the characters are very clearly outlined and you are privy to their innermost thoughts. In short, there are no surprises.
There are characters you love and those who grow on you in spite of themselves.
Classic tales where the good guy gets the glory and the unsavory foe is dealt his come-uppance.
Or maybe the author keeps you guessing until the last few pages, then… POW! They hit you with a plot twist so mind-blowing that even though you know it’s coming, you still find yourself holding your breath.
An amazing story told well is like an old friend that never lets you down.