Twice Upon a Time: 3 Ways You Can Treasure Rereading a Book
Updated: Feb 25
A Story Without an End
Have you heard this beautiful song, a favorite of mine, performed by teacher and musician Earl Grant?
As the lyrics unfold, the singer contrasts his feelings of love with things that must come to an end. A rainbow, a river, and a highway all have a stopping point. The one thing in the song that resembles love? A story.
At first, a story seems to be one of the experiences that will end—when the last page is turned, there's nothing more to be told. But the next words go on to explain that love is a treasure, like a story, that will continue on forever.
I think that explains to me why I love rereading so much. When a story comes to an end and the last page is turned, it is not truly over.
For the best stories, there is a certain feeling that keeps me thinking about the book long after I've "finished" it. I know how it all turns out, but there are other things that make me look forward to going back.
Here are the three joys I've found in rereading a book:
1. Rereading to Treasure the Writing
There are authors who use words like a painter wields a brush. The word pictures they create seem to change and shift with additional meaning at each reading. A writer like G.K. Chesterton plays with words and ideas in a way that makes it fun and exhilarating to try to grasp more of his insights.
Authors you'll find falling into this category, in addition to Chesterton, are:
Henry Beston: The Outermost House is as close to poetry as prose can become.
Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose. It is one of the most emotionally moving stories I've read.
C.S. Lewis (both his fiction and non-fiction always have more to tell you).
2. Rereading to Treasure Favorite Characters
When did you first discover Anne of Green Gables?
I found the Anne stories by L.M. Montgomery during my twenties when a wonderful librarian (and my boss!) recommended them to me. To her credit, she didn't express shock that I hadn't already read the series. The only explanation I have is that I bypassed quite a few childhood classics to read nature books and stories by P. G. Wodehouse, Miss Read, and O. Henry.
As an adult, after I finished reading all the books in the Anne series, I didn't want it to end. I read through LMM's short stories, always hoping to find another mention of Anne and a place called Green Gables.
Here are a few of my favorite characters to revisit that you might like to meet (or meet again).
Actress Lucy Waring in Mary Stewart's suspense story, This Rough Magic. For more about one of my favorite author to reread, see Allison M.'s terrific blog site: Mary, Queen of Plots,
Young veterinarian James Herriot, his boss Siegfried Farnon, and a host of memorable characters in All Creatures Great and Small.
3. Rereading to Treasure the Elusive Feeling of Childhood
Another song that comes to mind, sometimes played during the Christmas season, is the surprisingly haunting "Toyland." The lyrics indicate that when childhood and "once upon a time" are left behind, you can never return to them again. I disagree.