The books I read over and over again

One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Bessey, is doing 10 books a day for a week (I’m not cool enough to put the fancy button here). Today she talked about the books she rereads over and over again…and she inspired me to write about the books I read over and over again. 

I don’t reread books, I used to say. I like to read books once and get on with it. Rereading is boring, and there are so many other books in the world! I grew out of that. ;) I still don’t reread books often, but these are the ones I keep coming back to. They’re also my favorites. Unfortunately I’m not very good at saying things about books (besides “it’s wonderful, it’s amazing, it’s so beautifully written, you should read it”) so bear with me!

1. The Bible. As a Christian who loves to read, this one isn’t too surprising. I keep forgetting what’s in there and finding it again. It’s beautiful, confusing, challenging. It’s also very important from a literary standpoint – you will miss a lot of allusions in a lot of Western literature if you have no knowledge of the Bible!

2. The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. I read the first four books in a month when I was 13, and waited impatiently along with everyone else for the others to come out. I did the midnight releases, read the fan fiction, was a member of the websites…everything. I even got to meet some of my friends from the websites in real life! I keep coming back to these books because I love the world she created, the amazing story, and the way the books comfort in their familiarity. Oh – and I own British editions (all found at Half Price bookstores in the DFW metroplex…because that makes perfect sense!…) which makes it so much better.

3. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. It begins with a glass of orange juice, then the heroine gets kidnapped by the mysterious desert people who have really awesome horse skills and tents, and ends with…well, I can’t tell you, that would spoil the story! I love many of Robin McKinley’s books, but this is one of my favorites – and is one of the few books where I’ve gotten shivers, and haven’t wanted it to end.

4. The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. I first read this book in my second semester of college, when I was living with three other girls and feeling rather tense around my then circle of friends. The descriptions of Mary’s relationship to the royal court really resonated with me because of this. Plus, I’ve always loved books about Henry VIII and his wives. This was one of the first books that I chose to reread – I’ve read it about 4 times.

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffeneger. Utterly beautiful writing and an intriguing story – a red-headed artist who loves a time-traveling librarian…but he can’t control it. Possibly my favorite book. It’s currently on loan.

6. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. One of the few books where I made an effort to read slowly in order to soak up every nuance of her glorious prose. It’s a chilling dystopian tale of a Christian theocracy.

7. Jane Austen’s books, especially Mansfield Park (since I’ve read the first half of it about 4 times and the second half twice). I grew up with these books, and what can I say, I love slow-paced fiction with witty observations on society. These books are remarkably easy on the spirit. The homages they’ve spawned are delightfully heartwarming, especially the movie/TV series Lost in Austen (available on Netflix) and the book Austenland.

8. The Lord of the Rings books. Unlike most home schooled kids, I didn’t read these until I was 20 – but when I finally got through all the walking, I loved them. I’ve since reread them and they’re just as wonderful the second time.

9. The Sherlock Holmes stories. I first read them at the age of 12, and have loved them ever since. The best copy to read is the facsimile of the original newspaper stories – the illustrations are wonderful. Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch is a brilliant adaptation. If you have never read Sherlock Holmes, YOU NEED TO.

10. The Little House books. These shaped my childhood – I wanted to be Laura – and my fashion sense, for a bit. I’m looking forward to reading them again when Zoe gets older. Not pictured because I don’t actually own them (gasp).

Honorable mentions: Gone With the Wind, Creative Journal Writing, Jane Eyre, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ender’s Game, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women.

What are the books you reread?

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2 thoughts on “The books I read over and over again

  1. Here are a few:
    “Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger
    “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver
    “Play it as it Lays” and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion
    “Wuthering Heights”
    “Jane Eyre”

    I also love the “Swallows and Amazons” series by Arthur Ransome, any of the Agatha Christie mysteries, “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins, and many others.

    I also love the Sherlock Holmes mysteries!

  2. Hello, I’ve found you via philofaxy, having just started planning. Your most read books resonate with me, Harry, Narnia, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters. I too loved Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was growing up, which portrayed a very foreign land for some one in the Uk.
    I have gone through two sets of Narnia books, though I have to admit that my must listen to summer books are now Harry. I work as a potter, and clay and paper don’t mix, so I listen to books while I work.
    Susan

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