Response to this prompt from The Daily Post: Off the Shelf
With an overflowing list of books that I still need to read (Anyone still finishing the Lord of the Rings series?), plus new bestsellers rolling out each day- seriously- who has time to reread? Well, I have a few confessions. I’m probably the only teenage girl who hasn’t yet read The Fault in Our Stars and hasn’t even started the Divergent series. I still don’t know the ending to the Hunger Games series since I haven’t finished Mockingjay yet. (Although I promised myself I’d read it before watching the movie.) I just honestly haven’t had enough time to devour all the literature that comes my way.
And yet…each time I walk past my bookshelf I get this funny feeling. The books that I’ve already read, some that I’ve already reread four or five or ten times, beckon me. That alluring familiar cover of an old book draws me in. I reach out, pick it up, flip through the pages, contemplate it. It’s been a couple of months…I’ve forgotten the plot…maybe I should give it another go… And then I can’t resist any longer. I stop everything I’m doing, forget that ever-growing list of new books I need to tackle, and curl up in a corner to read the entire Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time. Why is that? Why do we do that? Is it nostalgia? Do we do it to relive our childhood, to feel that same sense of wonder from all those years ago? Or maybe we reread to catch something we didn’t catch the first time? Or maybe it’s that smug satisfaction of already knowing how it all ends.
Whatever it is, I’ll admit I am drawn to my old books, the ones I enjoyed before being swept away by the whirlwind of chaos that is high school. (OK, I dramatize.) Yes, my Harry Potter novels sit side-by-side invitingly, but there are others as well. One of my old favorite children’s books was The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. It’s got that sweet mix of humor and a historical setting with a hint of homespun Texas charm. The writing is childlike yet unique and brilliant; the characters both hilarious and lovable. Yes, this certainly makes for a tempting revisit to my past.
But then my finger finds it’s way to a thick black book, tracing the spine of it lovingly. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas made for a compelling read in my tenth grade English class, one of the assigned readings that I’d actually fallen in love with. There’s adventure and romance and everything you could ever want in a classic novel, even if it is over a thousand pages long. The thing is, when I read it about a year and a half ago, I read it in blocks and chunks, stopping often to make an annotation here or highlight something there. The second time around, I just want to sit back and enjoy it. I know I will return to it again someday, but I might have to wait another year to find the time to finish the entire thing.
My final reread choice would be the beloved The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The truth is, I’ve already reread this at least once. But ever since my friends insisted I watch the BBC Sherlock series and I ended up toppling headfirst into the bottomless pit of screaming fangirls and insane Reichenbach Fall theories, I’ve wanted to return to the stories that started it all. I know the scriptwriters of the TV series, the infamous Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, often allude to the original Sherlock Holmes books. I want to see if I can pick up a clue as to how Sherlock may have faked his death and what will happen next to our favorite British hero. Besides, the original stories are just as exciting as the modern makeover, and I can’t wait to rediscover the reason why I loved Sherlock Holmes in the first place.
I have to stop now; my books are calling me again. Time to find a comfy spot to curl up with a cup of tea and an old companion.