Thursday, March 10, 2016

Keepers vs one-read stands. What makes a book special??

Some books are one-read stands. Once I've read them, it's done and I move on. No phone calls. No flowers. Just wham, bam, thank you book.

But others go on "keeper'' shelves, and get read multiple times.

Which books are keepers? What makes a book a prized possession that gets read and re-read multiple times with the same joy as the first read? I guess that depends on the book, and on the individual reader. Sometimes it's nostalgia if the book was a gift, or something special shared with a loved-one. Other times, it might be that the story was just very engaging. Or maybe it's a signed copy or special edition. Every Bibliophile has favorite books, and for every favorite there is a story about why.

I have several children's books on my keeper shelf that will never leave my possession, just because they were my favorites when I was a little girl.  Harry the Dirty Dog. The Laughing Dragon. Gus, the Friendly Ghost. I felt such joy having them read to me as a child, and then reading them to my kids when they were small. They sit in places of honor on my bookshelf and always will.

There are some books that I just love. Re-reading them is like a visit from an old friend. The magic is still there no matter how many times I've read the story before.

I have a large collection of Agatha Christie novels that take up two shelves in my livingroom. I have been collecting her books since I was 9 years old. I fell in love with her murder mysteries at a young age, and have been re-reading them for decades. Even though I know "whodunit," I love being whisked back to the 20's and 30's for a wicked poisoning or shooting. For me, every single one of them is a delightful romp back in time. Her books make me happy. They will always be on a keeper shelf for me.

Some classics elicit that same joy for me. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. A Christmas Carol. Treasure Island. Anything by Jane Austen and the Brontes. The Chronicles of Narnia. Edgar Allan Poe's stories. Sherlock Holmes. The Little House on the Prairie books. And the newcomer to my classics shelf: The Harry Potter Series.

Other books I keep handy because they are funny or feel-good reads. Calvin & Hobbes collections. Garfield. Dilbert. When I've had a bad day, I pull down a cartoon collection and get in a good laugh or two. Best way to end a bad day on a happy note. Who can be in a bad mood after watching Garfield face plant in lasagna and nap away the rest of the day in a carb coma?

And then there are the few special books I own. Ones I waited in line to have signed. Limited editions that are special for me. And ones inscribed as gifts from special people I have known. Yeah, I do have a sappy side. :)

What makes a book a keeper for you?? I'd love to hear your stories! :)

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