May 23, 2016
The Comfort of Rereading
When I got a bit older—as a tween and teen—I found myself rereading a lot of my favorite Madeleine L'Engle books, in particular A Ring of Endless Light and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. And, though I cringe a little to admit it, I also reread several favorite Sweet Valley High books. (Rereading Sweet Valley High was not only a guilty pleasure but also provided the slight satisfying twinge of schadenfreude resulting from watching them do crazy things I'd never do and suffering the consequences.)
I was actually kind of a reading and rereading machine as a youth. And in retrospect, not only did I reread books simply because I loved them, I also turned to familiar reads when I needed comfort. My parents were divorced, and I regularly spent fairly long stretches of time at my dad's house over the summer and on weekends. If I was upset or missed my mom or was just plain bored, I would draw or read, and often I'd pick up something I'd read before, picturing myself as James finding the giant peach that allowed him to escape the nasty Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker and traverse the world with his new insectile friends who appreciated him for who he was.
As an adult, it's harder to find time or justification to reread books. As a writer, being widely read is encouraged, and between reading broadly and reading deeply within one's own genre, that doesn't leave a lot of room for old favorites. Despite that, I've managed a few rereads in recent years. I "needed" to reread The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime to properly appreciate Book 3, for instance. But this past week I found myself rereading purely for comfort for the first time in a long time. Under a lot of stress, and feeling rather unenthusiastic about reading anything that might even remotely remind me of the writing I'm currently failing to do, I flipped through my Kindle books and landed on a newer classic: the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. Determined, spunky girl with sword works hard, then harder; Alanna is truly special, one of a kind, not like the others around her but nevertheless loved and respected for her abilities, her loyalty, and her diligence.
Or maybe I just wish I could hit things with a sword…
What are your favorite rereads? What books could you read over and over and never get sick of? I want to know!