Books as Fuzzy Slippers

I love new books. Discovering new authors. Slipping into worlds I haven’t known before. But I also love rereading. That’s part of why I love buying books–so I can revisit them.

Rereading a favorite book reminds me of that afternoon cup of tea with a squirt of honey. Fun fuzzy slippers. A hot bath. It’s like comfort food without the calories. Just opening to the first page offers a surge of delight. Even if the details are hazy, I know the story well enough to anticipate the joy of meeting the characters again and being transported to a setting that previously enchanted me.

I’ve reread books most often when sick or exhausted or stressed. I’ve reread after surgery. During the early stages of labor. On airplanes when I don’t want to give my full concentration to a new discovery. Between classes back when I was in high school and college. And often, these days, I pick a familiar favorite off my bookshelves because I’ve run out of new books.

Right now I have a few fantastic new-to-me novels and one short story collection waiting for my attention (thanks to my husband and his excellent Christmas-giving abilities and two awesome book-gifting friends). But I’m leaving them in a happy little stack for the moment, because I’m in a rereading phase. It’s January. It’s wet and foggy. And I’m sleep deprived. I want the comfort of opening a great book and venturing forth into a story I’ve already discovered.

I just finished Jane Austen’s MANSFIELD PARK, which I read for the first time about four years ago. Prior to that, I devoured Chang-rae Lee’s ALOFT (for the third time).

Right now I’m rereading THE LITTLE BOOK by Selden Edwards. I wrote about this excellent work of historical fiction when I first started my blog. I’m enjoying being transported back to fin-de-siecle Vienna, and into Edwards’ imaginative world of time travel, lush historical details and richly developed characters.  I can’t wait to read his next book, slated for an August release.

What books are your fuzzy slippers? Do you have favorite titles or favorite authors? Or are you one of those readers who only reads each book once?

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About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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14 Responses to Books as Fuzzy Slippers

  1. SusanKColeman says:

    The favorite reread used to be “Wuthering Heights.” Now I go back to “The Time Traveler’s Wife” over and over. The characters are so memorable and vivid and their story is told with such love, I am moved to tears each time I reach the end, even though I know what’s coming. “To Be Sung Underwater” will be another one. Read it for the first time late last year and it’s still sitting on the coffee table, begging to be cracked again, even if just to pick out a few passages to revisit.

    • I adore “Time Traveler’s Wife” and have read it a few times. I somehow missed “Wuthering Heights” so I’ll put that on my list, and I’ll check out “To Be Sung Underwater” too. Love that you have left that book out to admire it and to be reminded of the treasures within. My bedside table has a few books I am not ready to put back on the shelf!

  2. Emma Burcart says:

    Hmm. There are a rare few books I reread. I think because there are always so many new books on my list. I have more than a dozen new books waiting for me when I finish my current read that the thought of going back and rereading something I love just doesn’t appeal to me. That doesn’t stop me from buying books, though. I love to look at the spines on my bookshelf and remember the characters and the setting and how much I loved the book. I’d love to get the place where I have enough time to read and reread, but for now I’m moving forward.

  3. Yes Laura, I feel all warm and fuzzy when I can curl up with a familar voice. I can’t tell you how many times I want to return to some of my favs and this year our book club has added a “classic” category. We will be reading, for many rereading, Wuthering Heights by Emili Bronte. I save books I had in high school, their worn pages loving memories of the first or third time I bathed in the delight of their words. The list is long and reaches back many years to the magic of discovery. It also includes poets like Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks or it may be the Nine Short Stories of JD Salinger. I love to mix the old with the new, the known pathways to a recent journey 🙂

    • What fun–a classic category in your book club. I have kept and treasured all my old books, too, including a volume of Emily Dickinson my neighbor gave me for my eighth grade graduation and a volume of Keats from my British exchange student. The experience of discovering those poets through those lovely people make the books all the more special and the rereading all the richer.

  4. Emma says:

    My fuzzy slippers are The Forbidden Game books by L.J. Smith. I first read them when I was in school, many many years ago! I feel like the characters are like old friends.

  5. I often re-read books. Sometimes it’s for pleasure (why would I ever want to stop reading Henry James’s sentences?), but often it’s study. If I’m writing about a book, I have to really get into it to have anything worthwhile to say. And, since I write mysteries, I often re-read the ones that most inspire me, to se what more I can learn from them. I read and re-read Inherent Vice for five months before I started writing about it.

    • It’s so true that I have to admire the language of a book in order to want to reread it. A smart interesting plot helps, but if there are no beautiful sentences, the allure isn’t there for me. Rereading mysteries while writing that genre makes so much sense, as you can analyze how a book works and how the clues unfold as a way to shed light on your own manuscript choices.

  6. Bryna says:

    I love rereading! The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by Tolkien are always irresistable, especially in the fall when I find myself with an odd longing for an adventure. But when I really need some comfort books, I look to Mark Helprin’s trilogy: “Swan Lake,” “A City in Winter,” and “The Veil of the Snows.” I received the middle book as a gift and loved it. Then I discovered the last in a bookstore. I finally hunted down the first book last year. They may be “children’s” books, but they’re not your ordinary children’s books. 🙂

    • Hurray for rereading! Isn’t it interesting when certain books feel just right for certain seasons or moods? I’m loving all these comments about favorite books, because I need to add them to my first-time reading list. I’ve heard of Mark Helprin but I’ve never read anything by him.

  7. Books as fuzzy slippers…as patience (that’s what they were in NYC, when I had 45 minutes twice a day to read without interruption)…as refuge…as nervous breakdown (trying to read Brian Greene’s “The Hidden Reality” convinced me how incredible stupid I am. My go-back-to book–besides my own, of course–is Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow”. Great characters and an affirmation of life despite ordeals that makes me smile. xo

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