I guess I'm jealous. At, er, significantly greater than 8yo, I WISH I had all the time he has to read -- rather than cooking dinner, cleaning, doing groceries, working (oh, yea, WORKING), I'd rather be reading too. There are so many wonderful books in the world, not to mention on my nightstand/to be read pile, I can't imagine ever having enough time to read them all. And so, it gets me a little nuts to see my son re-reading, say, Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (all of them, any of them...) for the fourth, fifth or sixth time while there are a pile of perfectly good and exciting looking new novels from the library getting dangerously close to their due date.
But of course, I'm completely in the wrong. I know that. Books aren't things to consume, or check off on a list (no matter how close their due date), they are experiences to enjoy, and enjoy and enjoy again.
I re-read favorites all the time when I was younger -- Little Women, the Nancy Drew books... even into my adulthood I re-read Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkein whenever I need a spiritual or mental pick me up. Old books are like old friends, they usually know where you're hurting and how to help.
So yesterday I asked my son why he likes so much to re-read books. Of course, he had just gotten out Grace Lin's Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat out of the library for the THIRD time and was so engrossed in his reading that I had to ask the question a number of times, raising the decibels with each asking until he finally responded.
But when he did, this was his answer. "Usually I don't read something 'till I've forgotten what happens. And then it's like reading it for the first time."
I'm not sure whether to believe him, whether he really forgets the plot (is that possible?) or just enjoys revisiting a familiar plot, in the same way a child enjoys revisiting a familiar film, song, or even, face...
What are your favorite books to re-read and why?