Truthfully, my favorite book changes all of the time.
I know that a person who loves reading as much as I do, should be able to hold tight to one book that stands above all others. But it’s just too hard.
Like today, for example. I saw this wonderful new poetry book titled Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman. It is so beautiful that I was afraid to put it down because I wanted to somehow “hold onto” all of that color and beauty. So, that could really be a new favorite. However, that doesn’t mean it will replace Charlotte’s Web or The Great Gatsby or The Book Thief or so many others that I consider favorites.
There is a shelf in my room that is just for my most treasured books. If a friend were to look at them, they may have some questions. Included is a book called The Trouble with Jenny’s Ear by Oliver Butterworth that I absolutely loved as a young girl, but re-reading it a few years ago made me squirm.
Written in 1960, it includes gems like this: “His sister laughed at him. That’s just like you, Harold. You were always forgetting us girls. When you were a kid you used to go around trailing wires and buzzers and things, and all the boys would follow you around, but you never understand why girls weren’t interested in your doorbells and clock springs. Uncle Harold rubbed his chin. ‘I guess you’re right, Sis. Probably that’s why I’m not married yet. Do you suppose it’s too late? I’m almost twenty-eight.'” So much for my early feminist education.
Less embarrassing, my shelf holds a special gift from my husband—a first edition of Charlotte’s Web, a book that is always on my top five list, no matter what the day has brought. And a book of poems by the late Jane Kenyon.
The most recent addition to the collection is a book that I found while shelving at the Inly Library. It was quite dated, and I put it aside to see if it was a book that should “retire” from service. I opened it up, and saw that it had first been discarded from my hometown library, the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library.
I stared at that book for the longest time thinking that somehow we might recognize one another. At that point, I figured if it followed me that far, it deserved a place on my shelf.