As I was rereading my set of Harry Potter books, I realized that I may have to buy another copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban. The binding is broken in four different places, and I’m pretty sure that the next time I read through it, it’ll buy the farm in the sky. Sad, but that’s what obsessive rereading will do to a book.
It made me wonder. Why had I read that book so many times that the book is literally worn out? What is it about that book? Well, there’s a long and a short answer. Those books matter to me. That’s why I reread them. Something in them speaks to my soul and makes me feel better. I don’t know what it is, but it’s in there. It’s not the excitement anymore (I have them memorized), but something in there puts my mind at ease and makes my life somehow easier.
I read a lot. I’m not going to divulge how much is a lot, but let’s just say that my reading habits could be compared to the eating habits of teenage boys. I’ve read books that I knew I’d never read again, and though I love the idea of a giant library in my home, I usually send those books on their way. I keep books that I either want to reread at a later date, lend to a friend, or save for when my children need a book like that.
There are books that make us laugh, cry, and scream. There are beautiful books like Looking for Alaska that make me wonder how I ever got along without it.
And then there are books where I want to scream at the author and say “How could you break your own rules for time travel without so much as pretending to give a crap about the laws of the universe as you ordered them? It’s YOUR universe! Write in it!”
There are books out there where I have rooted for the bad guys because I wanted to see the “heroine” get it. There are books where I was so frightened the heroine would get it that I couldn’t set it down until I knew she was safe. I bet you know the difference I’m talking about.
But those books that I keep coming back to, those books matter in some deep, profound way for me. I know I shouldn’t compare my books to other people’s books, but I just have one hope with my writing. I hope that my books matter. I don’t feel like my stories have much potential to matter the same way Looking for Alaska or Harry Potter have mattered to me, but that’s what I hope for. I’m not there yet, but that’s what the journey is for.