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May 5, 2014

Cassandra King: Loving Books Over and Over Again

Posted by emily

In her latest book, THE SAME SWEET GIRLS' GUIDE TO LIFE: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle, Cassandra King offers her signature humor and practical wisdom to new graduates in order to sustain them through life’s inevitable ups and downs. And if you’re anything like her, you won’t be able to help but read it again and again. Here, she admits to being a repeat reader when it comes to books she loves, and how she’s found --- much to her delight --- that it’s a quirk she’s passed down to her grandchildren.

When I love a book, I will read it over and over, until it becomes as well worn as the velveteen rabbit. It's a peculiarity of mine that's always raised questions and comments, my own included. When I share books with my sister, Rebecca, she quickly dismisses the ones she's read. Her telling me that she's already read the book I'm offering her doesn't faze me. My response, that I've read it several times myself, doesn't impress her, either. Most people, she reminds me, don't reread books, because they already know what's going to happen. That's the point, I say.

Not too long ago, I found out that my peculiarity, like red hair or blue eyes, might reside in the genes. Ever since I've been blessed with a passel of grandkids (my Grands, who call me Gram), one of my greatest pleasures in life has been giving them books. As they grow out of babyhood, I study them for their unique likes and dislikes, personality quirks that help me select the perfect book for the individual child, not just the cookie-cutter childhood favorites. I've been known to spend hours picking out a dinosaur book for four-year-old Henry, or a fairy tale for little Anna Jane. 

It happened when I gave my first granddaughter (and namesake), Alessandra, her own copy of ARE YOU MY MOTHER?, a favorite book of her father, my oldest son, when he was her age. Alessandra loved the book so much that she demanded I read it again. After the third time, her father appeared at the door, arms crossed. Bedtime, he told her sternly. Gram has read enough for tonight.

Not wanting to be one of those grandmothers who undermine her grown children's authority, I dutifully tucked Alessandra in and kissed her goodnight. "Read it one more time, Gram?" she pleaded. 

Glancing toward the door to make sure my son was gone, I picked up the book and began to read it again. "Don't tell Daddy," Alessandra whispered, and I laughed. 

"It's okay, sweetheart," I told her. "Your daddy knows that you can't help yourself. You came by it naturally."