One of the sorriest comments I’ve ever heard anyone make was as follows:
“I never read a book twice. I’ve done it. What’s the point?”
I don’t have the words, really, to respond to that statement. For me this is like saying, “I never have to breathe again. I did it once. I’m good.”
But my friends at Little Free Library posted a BuzzFeed list yesterday that hit me right where I live: “28 Things Anyone Who Grew Up Loving Books Understands” Every single thing on this list is me to a “T.” There are a few items that apply more to when our kids were in school (Scholastic book fairs, Pizza Hut reading rewards, summer reading programs), but I was just as wrapped up in those at the time as they were.
Lately I’ve been deliberately re-reading some books that are firmly entrenched in my “book family.” Ones that I own but, for one reason or another, have set aside for years.
The Secret Garden – Old fashioned, quaint, just a little bit preachy, but such a beautiful story with so many lessons subtly taught. And who can resist the idea of a garden kept in secret? This time around what struck me hardest (because I’m reading it from the perspective of a mom now) was the excellent parenting advice provided by a peasant cottager. Susan Sowerby knew a thing or two about raising healthy kids.
Little Women – I literally read this classic at least 15 times in my childhood. Some years ago I was able to get hold of the same edition I had then – my first copy had been lost at some point. Again, it’s old-fashioned and slightly preachy, but such a delight. The new connection I made this time? I’ve unconsciously modeled our family’s values and structure on those of the (educated but poverty-stricken) March family. All of those years reading about their courage and resolve stood me well in my own life.
To Kill a Mockingbird – I didn’t read this masterpiece until I was an adult, sadly. This current re-read is in preparation for Harper Lee’s second book, set to come out this month. As with Little Women, I’ve been surprised to discover that my strongest, most deeply held beliefs about living life with empathy have their foundations in the wisdom of Atticus Finch.
Tomorrow is the first day of our semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale. It’s a pretty safe bet that I won’t be able to carry out in one trip all the books I’ll feel compelled to take home with me. Not only for my own love of books, but to feed our Little Free Library.
If I can give even one person who passes by our library a gift as meaningful as what books have given me, my bucket list is in pretty good shape.