“I’m reading!” my toddler insists. E will not even look up to listen to my question or comment about the book he’s reading. When he’s into a book, he’s fully engaged. Though I feel a little sad by this early independence, I also am very happy.
I have been reading to E since he was in the womb. At 2 1/2, he makes his teacher-mama proud. He loves books and often wants us to read to him. He always asks for one more book and then another “one more book” before naps and bedtime. When things get too quiet in the house and we can’t see E, we often find him in front of the bookshelf or in a corner of the room, surrounded by books, reading them to himself one by one.
E’s bookshelves have gotten a bit overcrowded lately. I recently tried to hide away some seasonal and simpler books until E’s sister arrives in the fall and we get a new set of shelves for her room. Tonight, after not seeing them for two weeks, E was asking specifically for some of these hidden books. Even with newer books and library checkouts at his fingertips, E does not tire of reading the old books. He simply loves to reread.
This makes me think about the rereading my students do and that I do as an adult. Many students seem to have their “go to” books–trusted books they know will satisfy again and again. Sure, I want them to stretch their wings and find new titles, new genres. I can’t deny them, however, that pure joy of a story well told.
I know that satisfaction too. Like listening to a good song again and again, when I reread I rediscover old friends, uncover new beauty, and gain new understandings and appreciation. Most times, I do choose to read new books. So many books, so little time, right? But what if I do take that break from the new and go back to the old? What might I gain? Looking at the joy on my son’s face as he pours over each page of that worn, drool-encrusted book I tried to hide, I think I might gain quite a bit!
My unfinished list of books to reread:
- Walden, by Henry David Thoreau–Fell in love with it at 16, though I couldn’t fully understand it. Reread it at 25. What a different perspective as I reread! How would it appeal to me at 40?
- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott–A childhood favorite–I may make myself wait a bit longer and read this with my children.
- Any Harry Potter book, by J.K. Rowling–I know what will happen, but I never tire of the characters and the pure imagination behind the series.
- The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver–This was the first of her novels that I read, and I felt like I had found my author-soul sister.
- The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx–She’s my other favorite author, and this is the first of hers that I read. I still can picture and feel the stark, chilly setting.
- Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini–Such a tragic and beautiful story!
What books would be on your list?