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Thursday, October 13, 2011

And Once Upon a Time...

My nephew, AKA the Nephew Monster, is becoming quite independent. He'll be four years old in a few weeks, and he is determined that he can--and should, no must--do everything himself.

That includes reading. Now, don't get me wrong. He's still not reading words, even though he knows the alphabet and will gladly recite it for anyone who asks. But the Monster has his "fravrite" books, the ones that he insists on reading every day, if not more often than that. And I can promise you, he knows these books.

He knows exactly what happens and to whom on each page. And since he knows, he likes to do the "reading."

He'll take one of his "fravrites" from me and say, "No, Aunt Cat. I'm gonna read to you, today." That leaves me with no option but to laugh with pride and listen as he reads me the story.

The Monster then turns to a page...not necessarily the first page, but whichever page his little toddler fingers manage to flip to...and starts his recitation. "And once upon a time, there was Sam."

Then it is time to turn the page again. He'll flip in one direction or another. "And once upon a time, there was green eggs and ham." Another page flip. "And once upon a time, there was a fox in a box." Flip. "And once upon a time, there was a choo-choo-train. And once upon a time, the choo-choo-train drove in the dark!" Flip. "Oops, not this page." Flip again. "This is better. And once upon a time, Sam ate green eggs and ham." He slams the book closed. "And once upon a time, the end!!! Want to read it again, Aunt Cat?"

I love reading with the Monster, precisely because of his "And once upon a time" story telling ability. He tends to get all the important details in (or at least the details which are important to his almost-four-year-old mind), without the fluff. More than anything, though, I love that he loves these stories enough to read them until they're engrained in his little mind, and yet still wants to read them again.

Are there any books that, even though you know them backwards and forwards and twice on Sundays, you still find yourself reading them again and again?


  1. Harry Potter. I know all seven of those books as if they were carved into my heart. Other than the Austen and Bronte sisters books, Potter is the only series I've read over and over again.

  2. Oh, Lauren. I'm with you on re-reading the Harry Potter books. (Or I guess I should call them Harry Potty, since this blog post is all about the Monster and that's how he says it.) I've probably read all of them at least five to ten times, and some of them dozens of times. They are definitely worth the time.

    I suppose I could have asked about movies, too. We haven't read the HP books with the Monster yet (he isn't quite four), but he's entranced by the movies. I haven't had the heart to let him watch the final installment yet. Not sure how he'd handle all of the scary stuff and the deaths.

    But if we go with movies, there is one movie I can quote almost line for line. (I'm sure if Sandra Sookoo shows up in the comments, she'll know which one I'm talking about.) And there are a number of others that are very close to that point.

  3. Aw, your nephew sounds too cute, Catherine :) Bella loves to read the same books over and over too. At almost-two-years-old, she can't really read them, so she makes us read, or she'll flip through the books, look at the pictures, and sometimes buzz like a bee or roar like a bear or bark like a dog...you get the picture :) (Those books are Pinkalicious and Princess Baby, in case you're wondering.)

    For me personally, I have only ever read one book twice, and that is Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. I *loved* that book in high school, and it would probably hold up today for me still. But usually, even my mostest favoritest books in the whole world bore me on the second go-round and I typically give up after the first chapter or two.

    Great post! :)

  4. Bella sounds like she's right on target! I'd love to let her read to me, especially since those books are NOT amongst the Monster's fravrites. I can't say I've ever read those before. Phantom of the Opera is one I have never gotten around to reading. I'm pretty sure I've got a copy of it somewhere around here. I might have to see if I can dig it up and add it to the TBR pile.

  5. Ashes in the Wind is probably the only book I have read more than twice. I think I fell in love with historical romances reading this novel. However, I can still recite from memory Good Night Moon and Moo, Ba, La La La from reading it over and over to my children.

  6. What a darling nephew you have! And I am always thrilled to see any child interested in reading. So many of them are born with a game controller in one hand and their face glued to a computer screen.

    My niece and nephews and I read the Harry Potter books together. And they always get books from me for birthdays and Christmas.

    There are quite a few books I have read again and again and can quote long passages from them.

    Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas

    To Sir Phillip With Love - Julia Quinn

    Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Read it once a year without fail.)

    Claiming the Courtesan - Anna Campbell

    The Mysterious Miss M - Diane Gaston

    Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh

    Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale

    Venetia - Georgette Heyer (another annual read)

    There are others as well. Some of them are even non-Romance! LOL

    Of course I am older than you ladies and have been reading longer and have the advantage of no children or husband with whom to wrestle!

  7. If I keep a book I've read it multiple times. :)

    Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series. Each book multiple...multiple times.

    Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series. Each book multiple times.

    A Secret Love by Stephanie Laurens

    Pern and Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey. I've read all her books multiple times but these two series I've reread the most.

    After you read the original Phantom of the Opera, you might want to read Phantom by Susan Kay. She writes a wonderful version of Eric's story. And I've reread both the original and Phantom a few times. I'm a phantom nut so it isn't surprising.

  8. Jane, that is one I haven't read. I'll have to pick it up sometime.

    Louisa, another Mary Balogh fan! I (personally) am of the belief that every Regency writer should read her religiously, like I do, but I know not everyone agrees with me. LOL. I am ashamed to admit that I have never read a single Georgette Heyer book. I hope to rectify that soon. And I completely understand about the kids with electronics controllers in their hands. My nephew picks things up and figures them out within minutes...things that I haven't learned from years of using them. It's unreal. But at least he loves to read, too. We have a weekly library date, where we take his books back and pick up new ones. Speaking of...we need to do that today or tomorrow!

    Beth, it was great to finally meet you last weekend, even if it was only briefly. Ava has introduced me online to way too many of you HCRW people, so I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with any of you! I'll have to look for Phantom. I only have a select handful that I read over and over and over again--largely because I just don't have time in the day to read half as much as I want to. But Lord of the Rings is an annual event, and the entire HP series is getting there. Other than that, I try to limit myself to only occasional re-reads.

  9. There are too many for me to count. I have literally hundreds of books that I read over and over. It depends on what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes it's Nora Roberts or Julia Quinn or Lisa Kleypas or Claudia Dain. Sometimes it's Anne Bishop or JK Rowling or David Eddings or Laurell K. Hamilton. I have books that I know I have read at least 10 times, and will read again sometime. I love new books, but re-reading a novel is like visiting an old friend.

  10. There are so many books that I've read more than once. Treasure Isle was a favorite as a young girl. Gone with the Wind is one I've read many times and more historical romances than I can count on two hands. Johanna Lindsey is a favorite, Elizabeth Lowell, Marsha Canham and soo many more.
    My three-year-old does the same thing and I believe they are very close in age as he'll be four in November as well. It's special time for mommy and baby and I hope he'll always remember it and treasure it. Your nephew is very lucky to have such a wonderful aunt who loves him so very much.

  11. Catherine,

    Your nephew is adorable. I can see why he makes you so happy and proud.

    I have few books I've ever read more than once, aside from the ones I read to my kids, of course.

    My 'favrites' are:
    Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austen
    The Odyssey ~ Homer
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood ~ Rebecca Wells
    Good Omens ~ Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (I really love this book.)

    I have lots of other books I love too, but I don't feel the urge to read them again like I do the ones above.

  12. Revisiting an old friend...yep, Olivia, that is exactly what reading these books over and over again is like for me. Warm and cozy, and just right.

    Yes, Suzie, my Monster will turn four the day before Halloween, so it sounds like they are just about the same age. GWTW is one that I read once and it was enough...but once could never be enough for me for something like Lonesome Dove. :)

    Samantha, the problem is that he KNOWS he is adorable. He preys on those of us who will fall for the adorableness and give him what he wants. LOL. Never read Good Omens. I'll have to check it out. :)

  13. Most of the authors I enjoy reading over and over again are dead. One is Georgette Heyer another is Dorothy Dunnett. Although I do re-read Stephanie Laurens and Elizabeth Peters. I like Mary Balogh's stories, but her writing style drives me nuts. When my son was little, I had Little Monster's Bedtime Stories memorized.


  14. Hmm...

    I reread a lot of the romances I've bought but I suppose my favorite reads (juding by cover wear) would be:

    Lisa Kleypas - Devil in Winter
    Mary Balogh - Tangled & Slightly Dangerous
    Suzanne Enoch - Sin and Sensibility
    Amanda Quick - The Paid Companion

    Digital first would be Jordan Castillo Price - the Psycop series

  15. Ella, thanks for stopping by. Stephanie Laurens is another that I'm always able to lose myself in. :)

    Heather, isn't that so true that we can tell the ones we read the most by cover wear? My copy of Slightly Dangerous is falling off. I might need to buy it for my Kindle soon.

  16. Oh gosh, so sorry for stopping by so late. I actually have so many it's crazy. Your monster nephew is so cuuuutttee. Love how he reads!!!

    Lisa Kleypas's Texan contemporaries are amazingly great re-reads.Anything ever written by Rachel Gibson.

    Great post!

    There are a bunch of historical favorites, too, but I wanted to mix it up with some contemporary. :)