Oh the places you’ll go …

I’m re-reading one of my favorite books. The name doesn’t truly matter.  I believe reading is very personal and that a book invites us on adventure unique for each of us. How I experience a book and how you might experience the same one, well, that might be different. When we read, we let go of control and allow words to shape, create images and color our surroundings. How we experience a book is dependent on our personality, circumstances and where we are emotionally when we crack it open. I’ve re-read enough books to know that you can have a completely different experience another time through.

Now, I don’t re-read many books. I have too many new ones on my list! But there are a few that captivate me … that draw me in and keep me connected to them no matter how many books I read in the between times.

I received notification from Goodreads, the site I log my reads, want to reads and books read, that the final book in the installment would be released this week. I recalled how much I enjoyed the first two books last summer, sitting outside on my patio, savoring the pages as I soaked in some rays. These books had been discovered on a fluke. I’d been browsing the new release shelves at my local library when the title drew my attention.

I have to admit that I’m shallow when it comes to my media. An intriguing cover and catchy title are perfect bait.

Anyway … with a new release imminent, I decided to return to this well-loved tale. This time through, though, I wanted to own the Trilogy. And, as I’ve run out of shelf space and am trying to avoid additional clutter, I opted to download them onto my Nook. Thus my adventure in Prythian began anew.

rosesIt’s funny. I remember fundamentals. I know where the story is heading and how it will end. But I find myself reading between the lines now. Looking for signs of things to come in book two and beyond. I see the characters differently when I re-read them. I cast them in my mind and watch the story unfold. Books are my own mental movies. Of course, I know things at this point I didn’t know the first time through. Yet, I’m still fascinated. I”m still drawn in as I delve into the characters, their relationships, their stories and their adventures. Perhaps I even project myself into the character of Feyre.

Why, you may wonder, re-read a book? You know how it will go. You know how it will end. Where then is the draw? Wouldn’t it be better to find something new and journey somewhere else?

I guess a good book is like a favorite vacation spot. You travel there again and again. But when you arrive, your pulse rate slows and you find ease and a sense of bliss. You can’t wait to get there. You walk the well-known beach and discover a view you missed before. Or, you simply find pleasure in re-tracing the path you’ve gone so many times and gazing at the view of the bay which you’ve seen year after year but still can’t get enough of.

For years, my family has traveled to Traverse City in August. We’ve stayed on the East Bay. We’ve unpacked our luggage in the same — or much similar — hotel room.  We’ve shopped at Bayside Market for seafood and this wonderful cherry chicken salad. We’ve journeyed by car — and boat — along the peninsula to see the same incredible views. We’ve enjoyed Thai Food, pizza and cheese, crackers & wine at our umbrella covered picnic table. Over the years, we’ve built sandcastles, played beach volleyball and walked a familiar trek morning after morning … year after year. As an “early riser, ” I’ve watched the sun ascend over the horizon with coffee in my hand … and for a time kids on my lap.  We’ve embarked on sunset cruises or jaunted out to Elk Rapids by boat. We’ve floated on many inflated plastic “oasis” and sipped everything from water to sodas, beers, and tropical cocktails — relying on a cabana boy (or girl) to keep us stocked so we didn’t need to climb off our floating paradise.

A favorite book can be like that. It’s a friend. It’s a vacation spot. It’s a loved one … someone or someplace you revisit over and over and over again even though you know the ending. It’s a place you genuinely like to go where you can relax, unwind, let go, and enjoy every time you travel there.

When I unpack in that Traverse City hotel room, I know that seven days hence I will repack my bags. Another year will go by before I return — perhaps more. The kids will be different … older. I will be too. It is never the same, this favorite vacation spot by the bay. Each year, despite the repeats, something is different. Yet, I find joy every single time.

I guess it’s the same as that book … I know where the tale is headed. I know there will be struggles and celebrations, love and loss. But how I experience it and the pleasure I find reading it, that is new every time I crack it open.

Oh the places I go, without a ticket, car or passport. A favorite book is a friend or a special place that I can’t wait to return to … even though I know what happens on that final page …

                                                                                                                              — Jenni