Believe it or not, I have had a lot of folks think I was crazy when I said there were books I would read again and again. Most responded, “But you already know how it ends.” Well, yeah but why does that matter? Or- why does it ruin the experience? So, what makes it different for me? Why do some books practically demand that we visit again and again while others are more like a one-night stand?
For me, it really comes down to author’s ability to connect with me, pull me in and make me love this new world. The characters have to be so real and so human (even if they are fairies) that I relate and feel as if we are forever friends. The first book and series that I fell in love with and have read so many times is The Chronicles of Narnia. Those characters are as familiar to me as my own shadow. The land of Narnia has a place in my heart. I return to that book because I miss my friends. The book’s themes move me, it is a love story.
Sullivan’s Island by Dorthea Benton Frank is another I love to read again. This book is set in current times and the lead character reconciles her childhood with who she is now. The themes resonate with me. Again, it is a romance with a happily for now ending. It speaks to me because the characters are flawed but no all bad. Like us. Against the struggle, the heroine triumphs and her demons from her past are vanquished. It gives me hope that mine can be, too.
There are some books that I LOVE but I will never read again. “You Without Me” by Jojo Moyes is one of those. That book moved me, ripped my guts out and had me snotty sob kind of crying. It has been about 5 years since I read that book and I remember it vividly. But the thing is- I cannot handle that kind of emotional ordeal very often. I need to have a happy ending for me to return again. Does that make me shallow? No, it simply means that my life is so intense, my reading cannot drag me through a heart and gut-wrenching story that ends hard very often.
Which illustrates another factor in my rereading a book- it needs to be a pleasant experience for me, a way to escape the tough parts of life into a story that makes me happy and makes me smile at the end- even if I cried in the middle.
As a writer, to write a book that someone connects with a reader so strongly because I made them laugh, cry, sing, and dance- that they return again and again- that will be success. If the book has connected with my soul, I will return- and it will not even matter that I know how the story ends.
Where to Find Holly:
Twitter- @Holly K. Ross