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Rereading Your Second Favorite Book
My favorite book is As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I reread it every year. Many other people also have this habit with their favorite books, including Faulkner himself, who used to go back to Don Quixote, my father, who returns to The Angle of My Repose, and my friend Allison, who revisits the Bible. What I've noticed across the board is that these books tend to be the ones with fat, thick spines and wise, life-changing import. They teach you big things. Your second- or third-favorite book, however, is like a younger child; it doesn't have to work that hard—it can even goof off. Mine is Little House in the Big Woods, which I've also learned a lot from (specifically to always mind my pa and never go sledding on Sundays). And yet until this year, I didn't make room for it on my to-reread list. Because we tend to think of “favorite” as singular. A favorite book. A favorite movie. A favorite person. But it's not as if adding to that group will diminish your feeling for the first selection. Choosing favorites may just be like loving: the more, the more rewarding.