There are those books that you read again and again, and again and again, and again and again. I have a long list of titles that I revisit, and somehow I always find that they get better – like a stinky French cheese – with time.

Perhaps it’s my aging that makes them improve, or perhaps it’s the layering of perspectives that I bring to each successive reading, but either way: it’s magic every time. Right now I am rereading Rainer Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet (and I think this might be #17!).

There are books we turn to at different moments of our lives: times that are full of change, happiness, fear, the unknown, times that are just full. I have found that Letters to a Young Poet has helped me gain perspective on them all.


Here is an excerpt from Letter #4, dated July 16, 1903:

“You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”


What books do you hold close to your heart?