I was recently raving about one of the books currently occupying my bookshelf. I was going on and on about the characters and how fabulous the author was when someone politely interrupted me and asked “How many times have you read it?”
The question threw me for a loop.
The answer: Once. I had only ever read it once.
Which got me thinking: if the book was that great, why didn’t I read it again?
There are books I have re-read. I’ve dove into the world of Narnia many times since I was twelve. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (by CS Lewis) is one of my favourites and from the dog-eared pages and coffee stains; you can tell it was well-loved.
I first read Emma by Jane Austin for an English assignment in high school. In grade 10, I didn’t fully appreciate it. Maybe I was too young. Maybe I rebelling against the fact that I was forced to read it. Either way, I gave it another chance in College and fell in love with it.
The first time I read Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I got chills. I stayed up way too late to finish it and felt lost when it was done. (Thank goodness she came out with more books) I’ve read The Forest of Hands and Teeth twice since I bought it in April 2009. And I plan on reading it again before March 2011 (when the third book comes out).
So, maybe the way I’ve been defining a great book is all wrong. Maybe a great book isn’t just about the developing characters or unexpected plot lines. Perhaps it’s about how many times you can get lost in the same story.
What do you guys think? Which books have you re-read?