In 2011 when my twins were still in high school, our local school held its annual Academic Awards/National Honor Society Initiation/Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony event. It was a weeknight during one of the busiest weeks of the year.
Since there were no local sports heroes were being inducted into the Hall of Fame, my usual strategy would have been to stay home and skip the event. But, as my kids were part of the academic festivities that evening, I went with the plan of sliding out the back door right after their names were announced.
For some reason, though, I decided to stay for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony to listen to the inductee’s speeches. In the end, what a great decision that was!
One of the inductees that year, Dr. Rachel Schmidt-Brown, Clay Center Community High School Class of 1981, gave an acceptance speech that was pure gold. Dr. Schmidt is a professor of Spanish at the University of Calgary and a world-renowned DON QUIXOTE scholar.
She has spent an entire academic career studying and researching one great work of classic literature. Dr. Schmidt spoke about finding and following your passion in life. Good stuff. But, what stuck to my ribs was when she mentioned how she sits down every five years and rereads DON QUIXOTE.
I just about jumped out of my seat. Do you mean a person who spends every day of her illustrious career studying one book, written 400 years ago in Spanish, and reads it for FUN every five years?
Then came her take-home message; Dr. Schmidt explained she reads DON QUIXOTE every five years to get a fresh perspective of the manuscript from where she currently is in her life. She knows she has changed over the five years; changes in her family, kids, and career. She explained how the story takes a new life; a new meaning with every successive read. What a beautiful concept!
So that got me thinking. What books or stories do I read over and over again? How does an older and, hopefully, wiser perspective affect me? Below is my list of stories I read over and again with an expanded understanding developing with each read. It’s truly a gift to be able to cultivate a deeper understanding of not only these wonderful stories but of who I am as a person. Reading is indeed a superpower.
- The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
- How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
- Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
- Platte River by Rick Bass
- To Build a Fire by Jack London
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
- Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemmingway
- Lenten Gospel Rotation (Every Lent, I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John in a four-year cycle. Always surprised by how my life perspective affects the way I read the Gospels.)
Do you have books or stories you read over and over again? How do time and life influence your reads? Do you pick up a certain detail in a different way? Please leave a comment, I would like to know.