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Does a Book Ever Call to You from the Shelf?

Does this ever happen to you? You're minding your own business, going about with your life (working, playing, whatever), and suddenly a book calls to you from the shelf, demanding to be read. Soon, if not today.

For me, I've had a sudden urge this past week to re-read The Railway Children, by E. Nesbit. This is particularly odd, because it's not one of my usual favorites. I like it, but it's not one that I read over and over again. I think that I read it once as a child and once as an adult. But something that I've run across recently must have made a connection in my mind, to evoke The Railway Children.

I'm not sure what this was. Something about trains? Something about lost parents? I think it may have had to do with needing to pack up a couple of sets of sheets, to take to a cabin in Lake Tahoe that a generous friend loans us periodically. Remember the scene where the kids write on a sheet, and hold it up to be read by a passing train traveler?

I'm a little bit annoyed, actually, because I have a big pile of other books that I want to read, books that I haven't read yet. And here I'm going to have to put some of those on hold, so that I can re-read The Railway Children. But you have to give Edith Nesbit points, too. Here's this book, written 100 years ago, with the power to call to me from the shelf.

This happens to me with other books from time to time. Mostly with children's books, but also with some adults books (what I consider comfort books). I wrote back in January about My Personal Classic Books, which I defined as "the books that you expect to re-read at regular intervals for the rest of your life." These books frequently call out to me to be read, much as I periodically get the urge to telephone an old friend. This thing with The Railway Children is a bit more random, more like getting the urge to call a friend who I like, but don't actually know all that well. But now that I think about it, that's kind of cool!

What about you? Do books that you've already read ever call out to you from the shelf? Are they always favorites, or does this happen sometimes with less familiar books? And here's the question: do you act on it, or just wait for the urge to pass? Have a great weekend! -- Jen

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.