That One?! But You’ve Read It Twice!

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

The book that started this discussion.

I have always known that there were two types of people in this world – Readers and Non-Readers. While Non-Readers baffle me, I understand that not everyone loves to read. I also understand that there are subcategories of my exceptionally scientific classification. There are Readers-Who-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Read, Non-Readers-Who-Become-Readers-But-Only-For-A-Certain-Book/Series/Author, Readers-Who-Refuse-To-Read-Certain-Books/Series/Authors, and so on. Recently, I discovered another sub-genre of readers: Readers-Who-Don’t-Reread.

And I thought Non-Readers baffled me.

I discovered Readers-Who-Don’t-Reread talking with my coworker. She is very much a Reader. Self-admittedly, she doesn’t read as much now as she did before she was a mom, but she is absolutely a Reader. In a discussion about The Hunger Games movie, I mentioned that I had reread the trilogy at least five times and was probably going to read it again before the movie. This shocked her, and that shocked me. It turns out the only book she has reread, ever, is To Kill a Mockingbird. A great one to reread, for sure, but still the only one.

I am a Reader, and most certainly a Rereader. I have been since I first learned to read. For me, books are more than another form of entertainment to be consumed. While I read a lot of what I call “brain candy” or “beach books” these days, certain books are more than something to read – the characters and the stories are old friends. They have become part of my life. When I first moved to Colorado, I knew I would be okay here because just like Laura Ingalls I was living by the banks of Plum Creek (and the house had real windows to boot!). Whenever I get a bad haircut, Jo March has already given permission for me to be upset (“My one vanity!”). A good cry is simply one Bridge to Terabithia away, just as reading Heidi feels like a great big hug.

Belle in Book Store

Belle: I'll borrow...this one.
Store Owner: That one?! But you've read it twice!
Belle: It's my favorite! Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!

I love to read, and I love books. I can’t imagine simply putting them on the shelf and walking away, being done with them forever. My books are more than just paper and ink. The stories in them are living and breathing organisms, growing and changing as I get older and the context I’m reading them in changes. Many books get left in the past, but there are many I can’t imagine living without in my present: The BFG, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Number the Stars, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Pippi Longstocking, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, My Side of the Mountain, Lysistrata, Herland, Uylsses, Stiff, The City of Dreaming Books, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Bell Jar,and so on, and so on, and so on.

I know, I know. Just as some people are Non-Readers, other people simply aren’t Rereaders. For those of you who aren’t, do me a favor and give it a shot. Pick up a book you’ve read once, and make it something you really enjoy. Find some time, get comfy, and tear through it. See how it feels enjoying it for the second time. If you didn’t like it, that’s fair. For those of you who did? Welcome to the club. Pull up a chair and grab an old book of the shelf. It’s great to have you.