Our bookshelves are sagging. One of these days they are going to fall forward, brackets pulled out of the wall by the weight of all the words.
We’ve taken lots of books to the thrift shop over the years. Some were awful, some were good, but not so good they became best friends. Those are on the shelves.
I know there are people who never re-read a book once it’s finished. But my family isn’t like that. When we find books that we love, we treasure them and read them over and over.
It’s like having a visit with a best friend you haven’t seen in a long time. They may tell you a story that you’ve heard many times over the years. But you want to sit with them, treasuring being in their presence again, even if you know how the story ends.
So which valued friends are weighing down my shelves?
Elizabeth Peters (and in her persona of Barbara Michaels). Mary Norton. Stephen King. Robert A. Heinlein. P.J. Parrish. L. Ron Hubbard. Agatha Christy. James Heriot. John Sandford. Victoria Holt. Elly Griffiths. James S. A. Corey. J.K. Rowlands. Winston Graham. Ann McCaffrey. David Weber. JRR Tolkien. Meg Gardiner. C. J. Box. Barry Lopez.
And on and on and on. I just pulled out a Harry Potter this morning. The book has been read by all three of us so many times that the binding is separating from the pages. Same with some of my Elizabeth Peters books that are almost thirty years old. Same with one book Brite and Fair by Henry Shute, which is almost a hundred years old and still makes me laugh out loud when I carefully turn the fragile pages.
A couple of the Elizabeth Peters books I’ve replaced with newer copies that are sturdier. But I still reach for the well-read ones. Because when I open the old ones, it’s not just the story. It’s the memories of all those who borrowed the book. It’s the finger smudges from all who have read it. It’s the treasures you find inside from dried flowers to breadcrumbs.
All things that show me the story is loved and part of a larger family.
So do you re-read books or are you unable to return to them after finishing?
And what old friends are on your shelves?