For lots of reasons, but today we're just going to talk about one.
You see, I re-read books.
Not a lot of them, but there are a few that I'm pretty religious about reading every so often. I think it's my own personal version of a pilgrimage.
I've had more than one person ask me why I bother reading a book when I already know the plot. (Especially when I was still teaching). Here are some of the answers that I've given through the years:
(Note: I'm not counting if you re-read books in a series before the new one comes out, that's just for a completely different reason).
- I'm a different person than I was back then--I firmly believe that books like The Scarlet Letter (for example) should not be read in high school. I know that when I read it, I wrote it off completely as old-fashioned and dull. But when I re-read it as an adult, I could see it for what it was. A truly tragic story of redemption. Without my life experiences, I never really saw the big deal about Hester.
- I'm sentimental--There are a few books (Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) that will always have a soft spot in my heart because they meant so much to me as a child. I find myself turning back to these books in times of stress when I need to unwind from more adult issues.
- I discover something new every time--I try to read Catcher in the Rye and Jane Eyre every few years (odd combination, I know). Every time I read these two works, I find some small detail or character that brings the whole book to life again.
I want to write books that people re-read time and again. I'm not trying to kid myself and say that I'm as wonderful a writer as those I've mentioned above, but I believe even the less "heavy" of books can become a perennial favorite.