There is so much wonderful fiction in the world today, and so little time to read it — especially with all the social media distractions.
The greatest joy for a writer, of course, is in the creative process, just as it is for a painter or carver or most other artists. Once it is done, they move on, and years later might look back at a work and think “I did that?” If they look back at all.
I’m sure authors are grateful for every person who reads their works, whether they be highly successful storytellers like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling or writers with smaller readerships. Doubly so if they know people are reading their books more than once.
C.S. Lewis had an inkling. In the preface of one of his delightful books in the Narnia series, he mentioned it was the sort of book that one might read as a child, and then dust off and read again in one’s golden years.
He was a master writer, and when I think of him, I always feel a sense of gratitude. Sometimes I tear up. I’ve read his Narnia series several times. Like so many kids, I was introduced to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in elementary school. My teacher would read a chapter every other day to the students. We couldn’t get enough of it. “Aww, do you have to stop now, Miss Lewkovsky?”
It was years later when I discovered there were seven delightful books in the Narnia series, crafted for kids from 8 to 80, and beyond if eyesight is not failing.
I read the whole series to my children twice, maybe three times.They were as enchanted by it as I was. And I plan to read the series again before my spirit sheds my mortal coil.
There have been other books that I’ve read twice, but mostly, I don’t have time to go back on novels — even though a second read always reveals more to the reader, just as it does for viewers who watch a great movie a second time. Back to the Future comes to mind: such a great script with few if any throwaway lines. I marvelled at its construction during the second and, yes, third viewings.
No doubt, most readers of fiction have favourites that draw them back for second and even third reads, maybe more.
How about you? What fiction has delighted you to the point of reading it over, and maybe over again.
Please share . . .
If you are into movies, I just discovered a lot of Science Fiction short films on a You Tube channel called “Dust” (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7sDT8jZ76VLV1u__krUutA).
My g/f is a major sci-fi and gore fan. I’ll tell her about it, Steve. Cheers
You mention the Narnia series, which, of course, is intended for children but can be enjoyed by adults. One of the first full novels I read by myself as a child was the first in L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” series, and I know I read it more than once back then. In fact, it was many years later before I saw the popular film version and at first was actually disappointed in all the changes (this, of course, was long before I realized that MOST books get altered when transferred to the screen).
Recently, after getting an e-reader (yes, I have one, though an actual book in my hands is still my preference by far–but e-readers can be convenient in other ways) I noticed that they were selling Baum’s complete works for under five dollars. I decided, why not, and I quickly reread “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” for the first time in decades. While its simplistic style is definitely geared towards children, I don’t feel that it’s “talking down” to me. And after that, I have moved on to the many sequels, which are all new to me.
Writers like Baum, C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll were masters of their craft. On the surface, their works may seem like innocent fairy tales. But scratch the surface a bit and you can find all sorts of metaphysical symbolism, which is why they appeal to people at any age. Check out the symbolism in Alice in Wonderland, or C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew, which has the two young heroes jumping into a pools taking them to different worlds. Much truth there . . .
Oh, and let’s not forget Lord of the Rings, huh?
I have a lamppost in my backyard, and a wardrobe (well, actually closet) that is actually a passageway. These are not coincidental.
I have a pool in my backyard that takes you to a world between worlds . . . (See The Magician’s Nephew).