Last year I spent 6 months at my school in the position of Teacher Librarian. I am an avid reader, I teach English, I love books, and having students say to me: “Miss, I want to read a book but I don’t know what I want. Do you think you could help me find something?” was my idea of heaven. It was utterly fascinating watching the habits of readers close up. I’ve always known that readers fall into 2 categories, but this was reinforced during my time in the library.
Reader 1: reads book, thoroughly enjoys it, never reads it again.
Reader 2: reads book, thoroughly enjoys it, reads it again and again.
I happily admit I fall into the second category. If I love a book, I’ll read it repeatedly, but leave months, sometimes years between readings. I thought everyone was programmed like this, but after some lengthy discussions I have found that plenty of people are happy with enjoying a book and don’t feel the need to re-visit it ever again.
I recently commented to a friend that there was a book I was desperate to buy. “But why?” she said. “Just get it on your Kindle. It’s not like you’ll read it again.”
When I explained that I would indeed read it again, my friend was surprised. She prefers to buy an E-book and then delete it after reading it. I prefer to buy the real deal and keep it in a bookcase. I understand that in a word full of ‘stuff’ filled with junk, that downloading a book onto a tablet is a neat and streamlined way of doing things. I don’t have a lot of room, but I MAKE room for my books. I find re-reading certain books to be comforting. They are like old friends and I can rely on them to stay the same.
In a world full of social media and video games, where kids are attached to their phones constantly checking their newsfeed, it was awesome to see students borrowing books from a broad range of genres, or spending time at lunch actually IN the library relaxing with a book as opposed to staring blankly at a phone. Reading allows for escapism, something we all can use a bit of.
Owning hard copy books versus downloading E-books isn’t really what grabbed my attention during my time in the library; it was the amount of students who will borrow a book they’ve borrowed before. When I’d tell them they’d previously borrowed it, they’d usually reply “yeah Miss I know. It’s SO good I have to read it again!”
What are your reading habits like? Are you a ‘read once and put away’ or a ‘re-reader’? What books do you go back to time and time again?