This is a little late coming, but as you might know, I’ve been busy. I mean, I’m always busy, so that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. But I meant to write this back in June, and I’m just now getting around to it.
As some of you may know, my birthday was in June. And every year, I read The Giver on my birthday. I’ve done this since I was thirteen when I was given my first copy of it by a friend named Jamie over lunch on the last day of school.
This means that, as of this year, I’ve literally read The Giver twenty times. That’s right, the same book. Twenty times.
And you know what? It’s never gotten old. Every year, it feels different. Every year, even though I could quote you whole pages of it, it feels like I’m reading it with fresh eyes.
Why is this happening? It’s the same book. It hasn’t changed since 1993 when it first came out. I refuse to acknowledge that a movie exists, so that hasn’t colored my perception. And yes, there are more books now. But sadly, I’ve only ever read Gathering Blue. And that only once.
The book hasn’t changed. But the eyes reading it have. I am a far different person now than I was twenty years ago. I mean, I would hope I’m not the same person I was when I was thirteen. But I’m also not the same person I was when I was fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, or thirty. I hope that I’m not the same person a year from now.
And as I change, as I become a different person, the words ring out from the page differently. Their tune hasn’t changed, but I hear them different.
Different passages, different words touch me. Every year a different phrase moves me. Every year it means something new to me.
I can’t help but wonder if other people have experienced this. An I the only one who’s invested time every year to absorb the same words? I know that some people read the same poem over and over, studying its melody and features. But does anyone else do that with prose?
Some, I imagine, do this with holiday classics. I have tried to read two books in particular for Christmas every year, A Christmas Carol and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I don’t always have the time, and it hasn’t been so long a term thing. It’s also a bit more universal, you know? A lot of people read those books every year. No one, as far as I know, reads The Giver every year. This makes it a very intimate experience.
No matter what your age, you can start this tradition right now. It doesn’t have to be your birthday. Maybe you have a book you read every Summer, every Fall. The important thing is to pick a book with a depth that can be explored over and over. One that you will feel comfortable revisiting over and over. A book that means something important to you.
It’s best if the book has a significant meaning aside from the book itself. Though no matter the book you chose, it will start to collect that meaning over time. I read The Giver, and I remember reading it in my attic bedroom at thirteen. I remember reading it in my first apartment for the first time. I remember reading it under a shady tree in the grass, on a bus on the way to work. I remember reading it in twenty different places, in twenty different versions of my skin. And as I’ve read it every year, I’ve moved forward. I, like Jonas, have given myself over to a leap of faith. I have hoped that I would find people who love me at the bottom of that hill.
When a station goes dark, Sennett is asked to join the last remaining IHP members to investigate. When they arrive, they find so much more than they expected. A terrifying virus is loose on the station, that they might never escape from.
Meanwhile, Station 86 is having its first free election. Godfrey hadn’t had any intention of being involved, until he isn’t given a choice.
In the meantime, April’s true identity as the first hybrid humanoid is no longer a secret. And there are those who can’t stand that there’s a half Earthian, half Khloe. There are those that will never rest until the little girl is dead. With Sennett trapped, stations away, Godfrey and Mason have to work together to keep April safe.