Many books are one-and-doners. This post is not about them!
Once or twice a year I re-read a book upon finishing to deepen my understanding (Lincoln in the Bardo or My Brilliant Friend, for example).
Other times it’ll be a few years later for the joy of catching up with an old friend. A book that’s been with you for years can evoke wonderful feelings and memories. These are the books that are among my old friends:
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – I adore the skill John Irving has in wrapping everything up. Everything in the book has a purpose and is pulled together at the end. Triumphant feeling just reminiscing about this book.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – My mom and I were huge fans of old movies. I watched the old black and white movie as a child without knowing the title numerous times. The creepy orphanage and madwoman scenes made a definite impact. When I started reading Jane Eyre as an adolescent & realized I had happened upon the book that the creepy movie was based upon, it was love at first read.
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver – I first read The Bean Trees in an early 1990’s book club in Hoboken. I was hooked – Barbara Kingsolver was the first modern writer I encountered whose books included everything a twenty-something wanted: environmentalism, social awareness, (maybe justice?), romance, natural beauty. I have returned to this book several times and consider it a kind-of fairy tale, even as a no-longer twenty-something.
My high school copy of Pride and Prejudice – well read!
Pride and Prejudice by the Queen Jane Austen – this I have read probably 10 times, starting in high school. I even used the book as a basis for a business school paper for my Negotiations class! (I wrote about Mr. Collins’ marriage proposal to Elizabeth and their back/forth). Maybe then my favorite book ever? I know I’ve read Sense & Sensibility at least twice. I just re-read P&P earlier this month after finishing a demanding Hilary Mantel book. I needed something loving & familiar to get back in the saddle. So satisfying!!!
What are your favorite “old friends”?