Assay: In a novel, a mark of greatness is that a reader can return, over and over, and find something new. I've read Anna Karenina four times, and each time, it has been a different experience. As I am able to bring more to the novel, I take more from it.
This is a mark of greatness even in children's books. You might think that a book written for children would be so simple that it couldn't provide that depth of experience, but that's not true at all.
For instance, over the weekend, I re-read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town on the Prairie. And although I've read that book dozens of times, I loved it just as much as ever, and appreciated it in new ways, yet again.
For instance, I was struck by a line that I'd never particularly noticed before. The awful Miss Wilder has just sent Laura and Carrie home from school -- a terrible disgrace. As they're walking home to tell their parents what happened, Laura tells Carrie that she's not sorry for the way she behaved, because it was all Miss Wilder's fault. The narrative continues:
"Carrie did not care whose fault it was. There is no comfort anywhere for anyone who dreads to go home."
I've been thinking so much about home lately -- the idea of home, the reality of home -- that this one line hit me with particular force. People's idea of "home" may be very different, but home is one of the keys to happiness.
That's why it seems to me that the effort to make home more homey is so worthwhile. Have you found any good strategies to help ensure that your home is welcoming, so you don't dread going home, but look forward to going home?
* I loved cruising around Inchmark. I wish my daughters' school had "Crazy Hair Day." Maybe we'll do a home version.