Friday, November 05, 2010

You Read That Already, Didn't You?

One of the most oft asked questions when someone walks into my house is "Have you read all those books?"  I have a few books, here and there.  Well, I won't lie and say I've read all of them, I have a bad habit of buying books quicker than I can read them, but I have read a lot of them and am working on reading the ones I haven't.  Another question that gets asked a lot is "Why do you keep them all?"  Now that's a tougher one.  My Dad used to be after me all the time to get rid of some books, if nothing to make room for the new ones I continue to buy.  But it's hard, real hard, for me to let a book go.   The answer I always give when someone asks me the second question is that I like to go back and re-read a good book.   Now for those people that don't even know the enjoyment of even reading a book once never understands this answer.  Why would you want to read something you've already read they ask.  And no matter what I say they'll never understand.  But there are some books that I've read at least a half dozen or more times.  Every few years I go back and read all the John McDonald Travis McGee novels.  I've read pretty much all of Harlan Ellison's stuff more times than I can think of.  Sometimes I'll just be looking over my books, nothing in mind and see a title that reaches out and grabs me, yells at me to pick it up and visit again.  The Great Gatsby is one I get caught in picking up every so many years.  The World According to Garp is a repeat offender.    It doesn't matter that I've read it before, once I open that first page and start reading it again I'm lost.   I can feel the excitement as I read the words and it doesn't matter I know what's going to happen in the coming pages.  It still gives me a thrill.  How do you explain that to someone that doesn't know that a single book can be more exciting, more inventive, more awe inspiring than the biggest most expensive movie?  It's like explaining sight to a man that's never seen.

I'm getting a little bit better as far as this is concerned.  Awhile back I packed up about a hundred paperbacks and sent them overseas to some of our proud fighting men and women, hoping that they may get a little enjoyment out of them.  Because I have to admit there are some books I own that I will never go back and re-read, or that I have no desire to even look at again.  I would rather someone that might enjoy them to have the chance to read them if all I'm going to do is let them sit on a shelf and collect dust.  So I think I'll probably go through the shelves again and collect a pile of them and see if I can find that address or another one to send some more overseas.  Or to some other place that can use them.  Books should be read.

This post actually was going to be about a recent series that I'm in the process of re-reading right now and how much I'm enjoying them  but it's kind of grown out from under me, so I think I'll leave that to another post.


Anonymous said...

I came by to see your Peace Globe but just had to comment on this post too. I could have written this! I have had the the same conversations with people about why I read so much, why I keep books after I've read them, and - the real puzzler - why I would read a book again that I've already read. I'm lucky enough to have one whole room and most of a second dedicated to my home library, not to mention bookshelves in every other room in the house. Good to meet another soul who treasures books and reading as much as I do...:)


Travis Cody said...

One day I'll start weeding books out of my library. Not soon, but one day.

My Kindle is slowly changing my reading habits. There may come a day when I'll only have hard copies of my most favorite books.

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