Books have been an important part of my life since I read Fun with Dick and Jane all those years ago. I've read more than I'll ever be able to count or remember. Some of them changed my mind about certain things, some changed my heart and many have changed my life. Believe it or not, even if I didn't necessarily enjoy the book, I treasure each one that I've read. I consider them all gifts.
I'll admit to having an extremely large keeper shelf or rather shelves. Some of my keepers I read once a year. It's like visiting family without the strife or stress and you always know what's going to happen. I find that very comforting.
Some of my keepers are books that I'll never part with but I'll never read again. That may seem strange. It certainly seems odd to my non-bookloving husband. He can't understand the reason behind keeping a book I'll never read again and I honestly can't come up with a reasonable explanation, so I just don't try. I only know that though I may never revisit these stories and characters again, I want to keep them as a part of my life.
I don't know specifically why a certain book becomes a keeper for me -- other than the reasons listed above. I do know it must move me, touch me, resonate with me in such a way that parting with it would be painful. It might be the emotion, the characters, the story, the setting. It might even be one paragraph or sentence that just seemed so perfect and I can't let go of that perfection.
What about you? What makes you hang on to your favorites? Is it the author, story, characters, setting, time period. What does it for you?
Oh and while we're on the subject, what are your top three keepers? Mine are Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught, The Bride by Julie Garwood, MacKenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard and It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And before you write and tell me that's four, not three, I'll go ahead and admit I know it. Stopping at four was hard enough, stopping at three impossible.