New Old Friends

I often get joshed by my children for re-reading books.  They remember me poring over something thirty years ago and here I am today back with the same story in my lap. Yet they themselves listen to music they enjoy over and over again and that’s okay.  Or they chuckle over the same family tale at the dinner table for years, go home to the same house over and over again and repeatedly enjoy the same meals.

I mean there are people out there who have seen Casablanca on fifty or sixty occasions but I shouldn’t read Something Of Value four or five times in my lifetime?  Captain’s Courageous?   Kidnapped?

Good books should be re-read.  Especially well-written fiction or histories including the subset of biography because a man or woman has taken a year or two of their life to put an adventure together for you or to assemble a thousand or so references in order to hammer out a thesis which explains events or a life, sometimes in a completely unique manner, and you’re is supposed to get it all in four or five hours?  I don’t think so.  Besides as a former president might say “sometimes you dis-remember.”  Read a dozens of books after that one with something important to say and have to reboot.  Get your facts about something straight again.

Because most books, just like most movies and music are chaff.  Don’t supply much nourishment even if they might be at one moment fun to read or diverting and since it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other at first blush you have to dive in, let the winds of life blow the worthless away and leave the grain on your threshing room floor.

So when you do find one that says something important you should keep it around.  Come back to it on occasion.  And the great thing is that a good book once read is like an old friend or neighbor who’ll put up with being ignored for a long time because when you knock on his door again, he always opens with a smile.  Is ready to stop and chat, share a pot of coffee – lend you those same tools again. 

And you need those tools which only books can loan you– your child needs those tools.

So in introducing books to children speak of as acquaintances, some of which might turn out to be friends.  Friends who might wind up in their lives for their lifetime and upon which your child can always depend.  Especially when the two of you are distant in the future or – you’re not around any longer.