Some people live for opening up the crisp pages of a brand new story they can dive into. In my youth, I could relate to that. I devoured new book after new book. As I aged, however, I saw that habit change. Of course, I still pick up a new book occasionally, but if you were to ask me what I am reading now, nine times out of ten, I’ll say I’m re-reading one of my favorites.


Generally speaking, my genre of choice is Juvenile and Young Adult supernatural/fantasy fiction. Contemporary titles have never been my thing, because we live in a contemporary world filled with a gamut of experiences and emotions, reading about it has never kept my interest. The books that have caught my eye and embedded themselves inside my soul all have had some element of fantasy, witty dialogue, hints of romance and hope.


Some would say, what’s the point of re-reading a book? You’ve read it already. You know the beginning, middle and end. Why pick it up again? To each their own, but in my opinion, that’s the best thing about re-reading. You know the journey you’re in for. You know the feelings you’ll experience while following the hero of the novel through their journey. And best of all, re-reading your favorite book brings back all the memories of reading it the first time.

Currently, I’m re-reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I remember the first time I read it as an advanced reading copy prior to the novel’s publication in 2005. My mother brought it home like she had so many other advanced readers through the years thanks to her job as a youth services secretary at a local library. There was no hoopla surrounding this book or the unknown author who wrote it. Of course, I immediately got sucked into the charm of Twilight just a few months before the rest of the world would get Twilight fever.  

Like many, I fell in love with Edward Cullen hard, and even bought an early run T-shirt, released through Stephenie Meyer’s site, proclaiming me part of the I Love Edward Cullen Fan Club. I haven’t worn that shirt in a while, but I can’t part with it, because of the impact Twilight made on me. I remember reading it for the first time and how much joy it brought to me then, and during countless re-reads. 


Reading Twilight brings me back to one specific day. I had finished the book and fully fallen in love with every aspect of it. On a very special day in October, I believe, of 2005, Stephenie Meyer was on her first book tour, going to Barnes and Noble Booksellers around the United States talking up her vampire romance. Twilight fever hadn’t hit the world yet, so my local Barnes and Noble in Old Orchard Shopping Center had set up about 20 chairs between the stairs and the opening to the kids section. There was a table set up no more than six feet away from the first row of chairs, where Stephenie and her publicist sat. The crowd wasn’t large. I honestly don’t remember there being more than ten people there: my mom and I, a woman who clearly hadn’t read the book and was just there for the autograph, and maybe three or four others. I believe Stephenie read some of Twilight to us and then took a moment to answer questions. 


What I remember most about that event, however, is going up to the table to get my book signed by Stephenie Meyer herself. This woman, who had written a book based on a simple, but vivid dream and had no idea that just a few short months later, she’d be the author everyone was talking about, was sitting at an uninspiring table, looking a bit out of her element, looking almost as nervous as I was, a junior in college, who was, in a word, starstruck. In hindsight, I know exactly what I would say to her now, but in the moment, all I could do was compliment her on her book. 


Standing in front of her, Stephenie tried to make small talk with me for a moment. “You look kind of like Bella,” she said with a smile. I don’t remember what I said back to her, probably something boring like ‘thank you,’ but that compliment is one I will never forget. I mean, when the author of one of your favorite books tells you you look like the main character--you remember it forever. I’d like to think that when Stephenie and the producers were casting the film version of Twilight, she thought back to the day she met a short brunette girl with porcelain skin and a heart shaped face at one of her first book signings.


The time I could have chatted with her would have been such a gift--one that will never come around again, because the world, like me, fell in love with her Twilight Saga. The green author I met that day at the signing is long gone and my chance to really talk to her about her books went away with her. That being said, I still love that day and re-reading Twilight, especially re-reading the book she signed, always brings me back to this moment when I actually met Stephenie. 


If I’m being honest, I am a different person now than in 2005, when I first read Twilight and had this signing experience. I’ve grown and, honestly, will tell you straight out that I hold the sequels and movies in far less regard than the book that started it all. Even so, that doesn’t make Bella being asked out to the Sadie Hawkins-style dance repeatedly to Edward’s delight, any less fun.


Re-reading your favorite books not only transports you back to a story you love, but also to the place you were when you were reading it. That is one of the joys of re-reading that doesn’t get discussed as often as it should. Maybe your favorite title is one you read around your wedding day. Or, sadly, around the time a loved one passed away. Maybe your favorite book was given to you by a very dear friend and is a reminder of their love. Re-reading can bring up to the surface so many memories and feelings you may not have thought or felt for a while. 


Twilight isn’t the only book I love to revisit. I’ve re-read The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper numerous times since I picked up The Grey King as a sixth grader. The Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger is one I enjoy revisiting as well. The same goes for the fantastic series Vampirates by Justin Somper, the poorly named, but oh so good, Immortal Beloved series by Cate Tiernan, and my favorite of all of Stephenie Meyer’s books, The Host.


I want to set a challenge for you. Take a minute and think about a book or books you haven’t read in a while. Books you loved. Books that made an impact on you. Next time you’re looking for something to read, consider re-reading one of the books that came to mind. Take notice of the emotions or memories that come up while re-reading the title. Enjoy the reunion with whatever book you choose, because it’s sure to be an adventure, even if it’s the second, third, or the hundredth time.

  Adult Services Assistant Librarian Ashley Brooke Sero