A Case For Reading The Same Book Twice by Kathleen Casey
“Haven’t you already read that?”
I hear that question all the time at the bookstore where I work, and yes, I have already read “that.” Despite popular opinion, just because you have read a book once doesn’t mean you’re done with it. But why waste your time and read it again, you may ask? Because I loved the story. I’ve been known to re-read a book up to four or five times, re-experiencing that story again and again. Don’t you have a favorite movie that you watch once a year? Have you never watched a repeat on TV? Listened to the same song over and over?
But what do you gain from reading something you’ve already read? Obviously you know the story and where it ends but what is that old saying… “It’s how you get there that matters”? I don’t mind taking a walk with Frodo again, learning the meaning of friendship and responsibility. I love solving mysteries with Sherlock as he puffs his pipe and mumbles how elementary everything is. Merlin loves to say “I told you so,” over and over again when I doubt the folly of man. And I tell Snow White not to bite that apple, but why doesn’t she ever listen?
I sit with Tom Sawyer watching his own funeral, laughing at the hypocrisy of adult society. Peter Pan giggles and says that he never wants to grow up and flies to attack Captain Hook. The pirates chase us because Jim Hawkins chooses the all the wrong role models. Professor Lidenbrock urges Axel and I to journey to the center of earth but we are afraid. We fall down, through the ground and Alice tumbles into a confusing world that causes her to cry so much she creates a pool of tears. We wash ashore to Lilliput, becoming giants. Gulliver rambles about people called Yahoos and talking horses. I laugh because the places and people he talks about are so different from my own…aren’t they?
Wait…there is something else…something else about the stories that I love. Oh, I remember. Gulliver, yours was the first book I checked out from the library. And Peter, I heard your story told through my father’s voice before bedtime. Tom, you were the reason why I was a tomboy. After I heard your story, Alice, I received my first pet rabbit. I read about you, Axel, on my first plane ride when I was so afraid that I couldn’t even look at the window. You were all there with me.
And now all of you are on my bookshelf within reach, whenever I need you again.
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