There are three books that I own that I have read more times than I could possibly count. They are books that at a certain time each year I pull them down from the shelf, open them, and immerse myself in their world as if for the first time. (you’re probably reading this and wondering about the title….it doesn’t make sense right now but it will….I promise!)
The first: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Every year when my family takes a vacation, this is what I read. I have worn out paperback copies of this book, and finally decided to put it on my Kindle so that no amount of reading could ruin it. I start it as soon as we hit the express way…before we are even across state lines I am lost in the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. By the time we reach our destination I could be about halfway through….and finish about halfway home, at least with the Kindle I have plenty to read when it’s over. I don’t know why I do this….maybe it’s because the first time I read it I was on vacation, or because in my own travels I can picture Lizzie walking in the summer rain, I don’t know, but this is just the first.
The second: Each year, in late summer/early autumn I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I fell in love with this book as a freshman in high school. I bought my own copy to read in class and take notes right in the book, as I did with all assigned books in high school. My first copy was a mass market paperback, you probably know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one that gets passed out to students in school, small enough to tuck in your bag and only pull it out in class. Not me. I tucked it in my purse, and every chance I got I was reading it. I would be chapters ahead of my class and completely engrossed in the story. I was so lost in Jem and Scout’s world, that I would stay up into the early morning hours just to see what would happen next! That copy is still on my bookshelf but it stays there now because after many years of reading it is literally falling apart, the cover is torn, and the pages are loose but for some reason that I can’t explain I’m still holding onto it….and the paperback that I replaced it with, that is in slightly better condition – but only slightly. In total I have four copies: a leatherbound hard back, the 50th anniversary edition I received as a gift, and the two mass market paperbacks. I am in love with the story, the characters, and the youthfulness in the story telling. Something about it just keeps me coming back for more.
The third and final book is not a novel, but rather non-fiction- a memoir of sorts: Safe at Home; Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic by Alyssa Milano. This book I read twice a year no matter what. I read it first in February, on the first day of Spring Training….I read it again in October, at the start of Post Season Baseball. No matter what my team has done in the off-season, or during the season. I go back to this book not because of stellar writing, not because of Alyssa Milano’s personal story, but I keep going back because I’m in love. I’m in love with a game, a game that connects me to my family, and keeps me coming back for more regardless of how my team plays. It’s not just a book about baseball….it’s about family, finding yourself, and staying connected to your past. The game of baseball spans generations, it connects us to our past, and to the country’s past. Baseball held on through war, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, and the Yankees took the field to the shouts of hundreds of thousands of fans (both in the stands, and at home) after 9/11.
I wasn’t always a fan….in fact for a long time mom and I were pretty much indifferent to baseball. It was just noise in our house (obnoxious noise when dad would yell at the T.V.), that I didn’t pay attention to. Mom became a fan before I did, she ‘saw the light’ as dad would say. So did I eventually. Not right away, but I did. I not only became a fan, but I really connected more with my dad. I had always been a mama’s girl; cooking, learning to sew, doing all the things girls and their mamas should do together…but I never really connected with dad…baseball helped me do that.
I hate to leave you in the lurch, but this post is already longer than I had planned so I will continue in a later post. Look for part two later this week!