My son is reading Pride and Prejudice for school. This makes me so happy.
He said to me, "You know, Mama, if I ever have any questions about the book, I'm just going to ask you because you've read it like a hundred times."
This too makes me happy.
And a hundred? Could be. Maybe more. (*wink*)
I remember when I first read dear Jane's definitive novel. My husband and some of the children, I can't remember who or how many, had been gone for the day and I, eager to spend some quality (and quantity) time lost in the pages of a novel, grabbed the slightly tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice that my mom had picked up for me a few years prior; she nabbed it for me from a pile of my great aunts' stuff that no one wanted upon the division of their possessions after their deaths.
Though it seems inconceivable to me now, I was at that point a complete stranger to Darcy and Lizzie and the pride and prejudice they were each guilty of. All I knew was that this particular edition was old and that the novel itself was maybe a classic, I wasn't exactly sure.
Despite my ignorance I read the whole thing in a day.
And many times since.
I wonder sometimes what makes a novel re-readable. Not all are, you know. But there are those, like Pride and Prejudice, for which the experience is all the more pleasurable upon the second...and third...and fourth reading. And beyond.
It's an exclusive club, those books I can't stop re-reading. Dear Jane's novels, but of course. Jane Eyre. Anne of Green Gables. Harry Potter.
Speaking of Harry Potter, it matters little how many times I've read them nor how familiar I am with the story, there are certain parts of the novels that bring me to tears, in The Goblet of Fire and The Half Blood Prince particularly.
Sharper minds and more astute literature scholars could tell us the whys and wherefores of what makes a book re-readable. I think that the best books, the books we read again and again, are more than mere mechanics of characterization and plot and theme. Our repeated reading of a particular novel surely speaks to the emotion and feeling evoked as well as to the larger story the book tells, the story beyond the actual plot, the story of ourselves and the human condition and beauty and good and evil and joy and sadness. Books speak and some of the best books are worth listening to more than once. Besides, it's a comfort to visit old friends, is it not? And, hey, it's fun too!
Do you often read a book more than once? What books are on your repeat list?