Earlier this week, a Montana library received quite the surprise when one of their lendable books, “Bid Time Return,” by Richard Matheson (author of numerous well-read titles, such as “I Am Legend” and “What Dreams May Come”), was returned after 35 years. It seems that the man who “borrowed” it loved it so much, he read it at least 25 times since the book came in his possession in 1982. The book loving thief even had the book restored and signed by the author before he sent it back to the library, along with $200 to make amends.

“This is not my book, it belongs in the Great Falls Public Library — wrongfully taken, yes, but if you can, kindly take into consideration it has been loved and cared for all these years and know I am sorry for taking it,” the unnamed man wrote.

Written in 1975, “Bid Time Return” has been republished as “Somewhere in Time.” According to the synopsis posted on Amazon, “Matheson’s classic novel tells the moving, romantic story of a modern man whose love for a woman he has never met draws him back in time to a luxury hotel in San Diego in 1896, where he finds his soul mate in the form of a celebrated actress of the previous century.” The novel is the inspiration behind a 1979 movie of the same name, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

There is seriously so much I love about this story. First, I love that the goodhearted book thief showed such care for a book he stole before giving it back to the library. What I really love, though, is the fact that he read the book 25 times. As an avid reader, there are a few books I have read several times over. The first is “The Lovely Bones,” by Alice Seybold. Like most movie remakes, the book was a million times better than the film. Alice Seybold is an incredible writer, painting each scene with breathtaking imagery. The second book I’ve read several times through is “The Monk Downstairs,” by Tim Farrington. Like Seybold, Farrington’s descriptions are like poetry and I’ve read everything he’s ever written. Third would be “Eat. Pray. Love.,” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Like many a (former) divorcee, this book crossed my path and had me dreaming of year-long adventures to Italy, India and Indonesia.

Never have I read a book 25 times, though.

Do you have any books you’ve read more than once?

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