***Breaking news alert. We interrupt this blog post to announce (with glee) that our monthly blogger and Wicked Accomplice Sheila Connolly’s newest book, An Early Wake, will debut on the New York Times Mass Market Paperback Bestseller List at #10 on Sunday!!! We now return you to our regularly scheduled posting. (After an appropriate amount of squealing and dancing around.) CONGRATULATIONS, SHEILA!***
Jessie: In NH huddled under a mohair and wool blanket with nothing but her typing fingers sticking out
Every writer I know, not surprisingly, has a lot of books. Books heave and bulge and topple from our shelves and tables. They form perilous stacks behind doors and in corners. They lurk under beds and amongst the dry goods in the pantry. For me, all of this seems perfectly natural and as things should be. Over time, however, I’ve become better at culling the herd, at ruthlessly donating to my local library and to charitable organizations that seem happy to receive them. I’ve come to pride myself in how well I feel I manage my personal library.
So it was a surprise to me when recently a visiting friend looked round my office and asked if I really needed all the books I kept in there. I actually gasped out loud before assuring her that I did. Later, when she’d gone, I stood in front of my bookshelves and considered if I had told the truth. Certainly, I did not need them if need could be defined as food, clothing and shelter. Fewer than half of them were reference books so I couldn’t even claim they were directly used in my work.
What I came to realize as I stood there considering them was that they are mostly re-reads. I have read the majority of them more than once and plan to do so again. I do have a stack of to-be-read books and also books on loan from the library and from friends but mostly the books on my shelves are like favorite foods. I devour them with immense pleasure and then wait awhile before feasting on them again to better enjoy the taste. I would never consider not eating something ever again because I had already enjoyed it. For me both books and meals are about nuance at least as much as novelty. I delight in second helpings of each.
So readers, are you re-readers too or do you find there are so many wonderful books out there that you never look back?