A friend of ours was helping us unload a moving van a few years ago. After lugging a dozen or more book boxes in the house (with many more to come), he asked me why I had so many books. Didn't I know you could go to the library and borrow a book, read it and return it? Hehehe...I continue to smile when I think of the look on his face...and he was serious! Obviously he did not understand.
For one thing, my books are my old friends as well as new friends whose acquaintance I have yet to make. My old friends give me warmth and stability in a very chaotic world. The books I haven't read entice me with anticipation. Just knowing they are there...waiting for a rainy night with a cup of tea at my side and perhaps a scented candle on the coffee table (at least the illusion of peace). Knowing they are there to take me to another time and place, or perhaps receive the wisdom of another who has walked before me, or hand out the needed information of that moment. Libraries have their place, of course, but these books are mine.
One of the most pleasant ways I "get away from it all" during times of severe stress is by rereading favorite books. There is something about rereading a book that is so restful. When first reading, we are in unknown territory, we don't know where the book is going, we do know if we will agree with the author's advice, the mystery is so great that we must hurry to find out "whodunit", we have got to get that information and get it now! No, the first read may be enjoyable but it is not always...peaceful.
However, the reread can be pure joy. For one thing, I only reread books (unless for information) that I loved in the first reading. It is the nonfiction book by the author whose advice I took to heart. It is the work of fiction whose world I want to enter into again. Even though I know how it will end, I want to walk the path once more. There is nothing like seeing old friends on shelves, always available with "just what I need" for that moment in time.
There are a few books I reread every year, two of them are Edith Schaeffer's Hidden Art (The Hidden Art of Homemaking in paperback) and her book titled What Is a Family. I have read L'Abri and her two books of letters a number of times. As for fiction, I have many friends I have revisited over the years but I think Catherine Marshall's Christy has been read and reread the most. It has been years since I pulled it off my shelf and read it, perhaps it would be good when we have a big snowfall (if we do this year) to curl up with a throw over me and a mug of hot chocolate and find myself on a mountain long ago.
I've been thinking of rereading for a couple of reasons. First, I've did a lot of rereading this year. I've forgotten most of the titles (one new year's resolution...to write down the list of all books read) but I remember times and places and the feeling of tension leaving me as I enter the pages of an old friend. Second, I've been rereading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, finishing it last night as I sipped chamomile tea for calm after a stressful day. As I reread it off and on these past couple of weeks, I realized again what a wonderful book it is.
I don't read books about motherhood at this stage of life. With one child well out of the nest and the other starting to fly, I'm entering another stage of life. However, The Mission of Motherhood is far more than about mothering, it is about living the Christian life. It is very "Edith Schaeffer-ish" and I highly recommend it to those who love Edith's books. (It is similar in title to another of Sally's books which is good but this one is great.)
I'd love to know what books other people reread and what leads you to pull a book off the shelf to read again. Perhaps I'll find some new friends to place on my shelves.