We’ve had a summer of loss. As I’ve been grieving one death and then another, I’ve noticed something about my reading habits. They’re in flux. I still crave time reading but I’ve been much slower and rereading the same line or page many times over.
What I crave to read has changed too. Typically, I have both a non-fiction and fiction book on the go. I’ve realized that non-fiction has been challenging for me over the last six weeks. I read what I need to for research, but I can’t seem to focus on non-fiction for long.
Last week I wanted to escape into a book of fiction as I often do. Instead of something new, I returned to an old favourite series where the characters and setting are familiar. Opening the book was comfort, a feeling of going home. In the middle grade novel Alone, the main character says this about rereading favourite books: “Old friends to smooth the hard edges of being frightened and alone.” Old friends within the pages of a book. That’s what I craved.
In the literacy sessions I give to parents, I’ve had many share their concern that their children gravitate to one particular series, a series that they’ve read before. I reassure them that, in time, they will move onto something else. This summer has confirmed for me that perhaps, our children too, need these old friends. They will eventually stumble upon something else… perhaps something that we conveniently put in front of them. They will find new favourites and their habits will change–throughout their lives.
There is certainly nothing wrong with finding solace and comfort within the pages of a book, whatever the book. In fact, isn’t that precisely what we want books to provide?