Rereading Old Favorites

After my aunt fell ill and died shortly thereafter last week, my brain entered the “Don’t You Dare Try To Think or Be Productive” zone called grieving. My NaNo writing gave up the ghost, and I gave up the writing of that story. Instead, I decided to reread an old favorite story of mine, the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.

One year, a friend of mine gave her circle of friends the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was one of those lucky recipients. After reading that book, I went out and bought books 2 and 3 in the series. I couldn’t believe there were 7 books in the series, and I had to start waiting like everyone else before I could find out what was going to happen next.

Every year, I would preorder my book and then start counting the days until the book was released. After I got my book, I would go home and read the whole thing in one shot. Book four has 731 pages, and the other books are even longer, each one in turn. I read quickly, but even a 900 page book at approximately 100 pages an hour will still take you 9 hours to read, maybe 10.

Yes, I really did stay up until the next day reading the book I had stayed in line the night before to read.

Have you ever read the books? You simply cannot put them down. Each page, each line is a necessary party of the story. To pull yourself away and read it later requires an amazing amount of self-control and disciplines, which I seem to lack when it comes to reading fantastically-written stories.

Let me tell you, I am not complaining!

One night last month, I dreamt about one of the scenes in the book. Without giving too much away, let me just say it’s the scene where Draco and Harry are up on their broomsticks after Draco takes Neville’s Remembrall. After I woke up, I figured my brain was telling me that it was time to re-read the stories.

I no longer remember how many times I have read the series, but I am not tired of it yet. Now that I know the story very well, I find that I am noticing little details that I may not have caught before. For example, Harry & Hermione sneak out of the castle under the Invisibility Cloak and hear something in a closet that they do not have time to investigate. Later, you find out who or what was in the closet. I am not sure I caught that in prior readings, and there have been other examples that have come up as well like that.

Catching these little things makes me appreciate the kind of excellent writing, referencing, and story tracking that Rowling must have done in order to make the Harry Potter series the kind of gripping, well-written, and thoroughly thought out story that it is.

Another of my favorites that I read last month was Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. A friend of mine rereads the story every October before Halloween, and I started doing the same thing last year. To me, October is the quintessential fall month, with cider and ghost stories and candy and Halloween and the changing of the colors on the trees and the leaves as they fall on the ground. October is the perfect time for re-reading ghost stories.

For our Halloween wedding anniversary, we visited Sleepy Hollow, NY cemetery. Sleepy Hollow is the town where the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving takes place. Afterwards, I ordered and received a 1939 printing of a collection of Irving’s stories, which also includes his story Rip Van Winkle. I started to read it, but then had to put it aside for NaNoWriMo.

With Christmas coming up, I will be rereading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the only story by him that I enjoy.

Do you have books that you like to read during the year? If so, what are they and why do you like them?

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