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Books Re-Read

It finally happened, just as I had long fear it someday would.

Several times, I have blogged about having too much to read (for example, I’ve often feared that with my voluminous reading habit, I would someday read (or worse, buy) a book that I had already read or (worse yet) already had on my shelves.

On a recent trip, my wife and I stopped at an outlet mall beside the interstate to stretch our legs. Amid the plethora of shops was a bookstore. We strolled through its aisles, not to buy but just to browse and stretch.

I breezed through the history and Bible study sections untempted by any title, although those are the sections in which I’d normally be most tempted to buy something. After all, I had only recently donated 13 boxes of my books to charity in an attempt to downsize my library for retirement. I had no intention of buying any more books!

But when I was passing through the section of reference books, a title grabbed my attention. My hands lifted the book from the shelf, and my eyes skimmed its pages. The title sounded vaguely familiar. And I seemed to recall having seen the cover before. But neither the author’s name nor the table of contents rang any bells of remembrance.

The longer I studied the book’s pages, the more I heard it crying out to me, “Buy me! I’ll help you with your writing!” That plea–and the 60-percent-off sticker in the upper right corner of the cover–won me over. I walked out of the store with yet another book.

Shortly after returning from our journey, I began reading my new acquisition. It was pretty good. I began to underline key points and to jot down in my notebook ideas for writing projects that the book brought to mind.

But in the back of my mind I kept hearing another little voice crying, You’ve read this before! Finally, I decided to silence that annoying voice once and for all. I climbed the steps to my office and scanned the dusty shelves. The newly purchased book was nowhere among my other literary trove. Then I pulled the journal in which I write the titles of every book I read as soon as I’ve finished it.

And there was the title of the book I’d just bought. I had checked the book out of the local library a little more than a year earlier. Then why hadn’t I remembered it?

This just shows that it’s sometimes good to read some books more than once. Obviously, I hadn’t received that book’s full benefit the first time I read it. Or maybe I hadn’t been paying sufficient attention. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right time; now, however, time and circumstances were just right for the book’s message to “click” with me.

Francis Bacon famously said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” I might add, some books apparently are to be read more than once.

I also know of another Book from which I would benefit from a second reading–or, rather, numerous readings. Even daily readings. God’s Word. Human authors can teach me some things; God’s Word can teach me so much more. It teaches me everything I need to know for this life. More importantly, it promises eternal benefits, what I need to know for the life to come after this earthly life is ended.

Why not join me in reading the Bible–again and again?

Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson

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