I know a lot of readers enjoy reading the books they love over and over again. But, while I have shelves of books I cannot bear to part with, intending to re-read them someday, there are too many books I have yet to discover to spend time re-reading all of those favorites. Sometimes, though, I give into that urge to reconnect with an old friend. After reading The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, which, while good and thought-provoking, was not the book I wanted to be reading at the time. I needed a laugh and a comfortable story. I picked up Ramona the Pest my favorite of Beverly Cleary’s books about Ramona Quimby and quite possibly my favorite book for most of my childhood.
As soon as I began reading, I was back in my childhood bedroom, laughing at Ramona’s antics and recalling how I had identified with Ramona, the baby of her family and not really a pest at all, and how I had wanted to be as bold as her. I found myself picturing the scenes as they’d been illustrated in the edition I first read nearly 30 years ago rather than the updated illustrations of my current copy. It was like taking a time machine back to my childhood. And I probably laughed even more now than I did the first few times I read it thanks to my now-adult perspective of Ramona’s adventures.
Re-reading, even more than first readings is about how a book makes you feel. Ramona the Pest put a smile on my face when I needed one and brought to mind the carefree days of childhood when I could spend an entire Saturday in my room reading my favorite book. What books do you turn to when you need to visit and old friend?