Story Magic

My friend Anya wrote a post earlier today about the magic in stories. I suggest you go read it, but the basic summary is that there is magic in movies and in books and in oral stories, no matter how many times you watch/read/watch them and that each person has a different opinion about how much magic is left in them.

Anya says herself that she doesn’t reread books. I do. Many of the books on my bookshelf I have read at least twice. There is one series called the Frog Princess Series that I’ve read so many times I’ve lost count, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read the first one at least 10 times and the last one at least 3 times. I’ve read the Harry Potter Series twice. I’ve read the original Percy Jackson series 3 times. I’ve read the entirety of The Books of Bayern twice and some of them three times. I’ve read the Fablehaven series twice. I’ve read Beastly twice, Bella at Midnight more times than I can remember, the Thirteenth Princess twice, Prophesy of the Sisters twice, City of Bones twice, many of Gail Carson Levine’s books at least twice (Fairest is my favorite and I’ve read it at least 3 times). I’m getting ready to read the Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus series for the second time. And then there is Pride and Prejudice at 4 reads with a 5th next summer and a 6th summer after that and so on and so forth. There are other books, like the Pharaoh’s Secret, that I’ve read more than once, but I could be here all day.

So what makes me reread books so much? I have a couple of answers to that.

I think part of it is that feeling of familiarity, knowing it’s a story I loved, still love, and will continue to love, and then also knowing that’s I’m not going to be disappointed. They’re my safety net. My tried and true ways and places to disappear to for a few hours. Places filled with people I love and, in their own way, love me.

The other part is best expressed by another’s words. I once stopped to read the introduction by Margaret Drabble in my version of Pride and Prejudice. Just once. And in that introduction, Margaret Drabble says that every time you read Pride and Prejudice, you find something new in it’s pages, and I agree. I think that also applies to other books. The first time I read Harry Potter, I was in 4th grade. Several years later, there were words and phrases that I had forgotten. A certain way J.K. Rowling expressed Harry’s feelings. Lee Jordan’s hilarious commentary on the Quidditch matches. It was almost like reading the series for the first time, except I already knew it ended well. It was the same when I reread the Percy Jackson series last week. I knew that Percy was sassy and sarcastic (his nickname is Persassy Jacksasson for a reason, after all) but I had forgot just how laugh-out-loud funny he was as a narrator. There are certain golden lines I had forgotten. Certain descriptors of monsters (I had know idea reading about what monsters looked and smelled like could be funny until Rick Riordan came along).

You see, books are funny like that. If you wait long enough between rereads, you forget stuff and then you get the joy of it being almost like the first read. I never feel that way with movies. More details are on that page than could ever be on a screen because you’re mind can process far more of a written scene than a timed scene simply because when you read something, you’re mind can move around more easily, but when you’re watching a movie, your focus is often on the center and what is in focus rather than what is blurred it. Sometimes I think that’s why reading the book is so much better than watching the movie. You get so much more detail. There isn’t a space constraint, so there are inside jokes, funny phrases, unnecessary but hilarious scenes. There is just more.

And I know some people prefer movie over books and hey, each to his own, but I’ve always found way more magic in the pages than on the screens.


And just so we’re clear, I’m not disagreeing with you, Anya. I’m just adding my two cents.

2 thoughts on “Story Magic

  1. I agree about the power of re-reading. From my experience, we bring a different self to a book when we read it different moments in our life. If I am open to being, at least partially, developed by my numerous experiences, then I bring a different me each time.

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