Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Books That Only Get Better

I have shelves of books, boxes of books, and towering piles of them in some places.
Kindle? Need it much?
But I digress.
I read some of those books once and then I sort them into boxes. Others don’t get that much recognition. I read half way through, get bored/ticked off flip to the end. Those go to a very dusty corner and given away.
The novels that put a twist to my lemon are the ones I read again. And sometimes again. Many times. Those find their way onto the antique oak bookshelves. This place of honor holds the life-changers such as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, and Jack London’s Burning Daylight.
The last is one of London’s best, IMHO. My copy is in a fragile state with loose pages sticking out from every corner of its binding.
Reading the favored tomes a second time (or more) usually shows me the places I missed in my frantic need to get to the end.  Nuances of the story. Since I know how it will end, I slow my pace, and the second reading opens the story like a flower.
For instance, I missed this passage from LOTR, The Two Towers: “He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the place behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness. There was no escape that way.”
My Sweet Lord, the volumes spoken in that simple phrase.
Another example is from Mockingjay (no spoiler alert necessary, I think). “I want to call him back and tell him that I was wrong…Forgive him. But since I can’t I’ll just have to deal with the pain…”
A paragraph from Burning Daylight: “She heard the footsteps of Daylight returning, and caught her breath with a quick intake. He took her hand in his, and, as he turned the doorknob felt her hesitate. Then he put his arm around her; the door swung open, and together they passed in.”
That simple scene is more erotic to me than a play-by-play, insert tab A into slot B from one of today’s books. It speaks of mystery, of her inner fears and his quiet tenderness. Really, goosebump-city here.
What passages jump out to you the second time around, the places you skip in the page-tearing hurry to see how a beloved book ends?


  1. My husband and I both read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, and he was actually on a trip when he was reading the second one so he would just send me quotes that he loved. His favorite was, "I'm going to stay here with you and cause all sorts of trouble."

    Mine isn't as much of a quote as it is a scene in PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER when Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room and he doesn't kiss his girlfriend. Love it.

    I also love having my books on a bookshelf instead of a kindle. Even if I do eventually get an e-reader those beloved books will still get a place on my shelf.

  2. I think my copies of LOTR are probably as tattered as your Burning Daylight; it seems that every so often I simply must go with Frodo to destroy the ring.

  3. In looking up the quote from Two Towers, I got lost in Mordor. Again.

    I read them in college about forty years ago and I have read them too many times to count since. Hmmm, maybe I am due.

  4. Should I admit I've never read LOTR? Ok, I won't. ;o) I loved your phrase "the novels that put a twist to my lemon." Great!

  5. I've never read LOTR either, but I can sure quote the movies with the best of them :)

    I've reread the Dark Materials books a hundred times. Some books are too goood to just read once.

  6. I read REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly. There were sentences and paragraphs that I read and reread I was so blown away by them.

  7. A good book should have lines you drool over. Lines you wish with everything in you that you had written. Lines that say more than the the sum of their parts.

    I loved the Hunger Games.


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