Monday, July 23, 2012

Top 10 books I love to read over and over again

Hey ho everyone! It's been a while since my  last post! I need to get back on the wagon for real! So I thought I'd start today with a list of my top 10 favorite books to re-read and why.

Re-reading is not for everyone, I hear. Some people devour a book the first time through, addicted to the rush of not knowing what will happen next (or at least to the illusion of not knowing what will happen next). I call this "plot-angst." When the plot is discovered and the characters all reach their destinations in life (literally and/or figuratively), the non-re-reader's angst dries up. That's all they need from those characters. It's like a one-night stand, really.

Not me! One of my favorite things about reading a book is re-reading. I hurry through the first time to get the "plot-angst" out of the way. Of course we're all drawn in by "what's going to happen" in a good story. But that's why I love to re-read. Without the distractions of "plot-angst", I can focus on the characters... I can really dig in and enjoy who they are. In a good re-read, the characters become like old friends I revisit again and again and again. I want characters I can build a relationship with that will stand the test of time.

Here are my top picks for re-reading (starting at the bottom):

10. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein - Here's a wonderfully told tale by the master of storytellers. Adventures, dragons, battles, treasure, what's not to love? Whenever I pick this book up I feel I'm going home.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis - I could fill up my entire list with separate books from this series, but that wouldn't be fair. Though some I love more than others (The Last Battle, Voyage of the Dawn Treader) this entire series is a wonderful re-read, and the characters fill me up every time.

8. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte - A tragic love story whose characters and plot always leave me puzzling over how their lives and loves could become so painfully desperate.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray - I just re-read this book (first in a three book series) the other day and I loved it even more than the first time! The setting and the plot are both so intricate and the characters really stand out to me. I'm hoping the rest of this series will hold up as well.

6. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen - God I love this book. Darcy and Elizabeth steal my heart every time I read and I love to mull over the burgeoning feminism that Austen laces her characters with... wit, intelligence, independence. Sigh...

5. The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart - What an amazing story this is. Stewart made King Arthur and Merlin seem real to me... her use of history and mythology woven together to create a world like no other will have me going back to her novels (and England) again and again.

4. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card - The Ender books will always have a special place for me. You'd think this is one series that would lose it's luster once you know the ending, but it's not so. Ender's tortured soul stole my heart from day one. I can't help myself.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling - Epic. If you leave off the 17 years later tag at the end, this is a masterpiece of a work for me, and after following the characters all the way through their journey to defeating Voldemort, the pay-off is worth every bit of ink.

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling - This book really struck me deeply. Why? Not so much the main characters... Harry, Ron, Hermione all go through a lot of changes in this novel and that's great. But Neville steals my heart in this book... he grows up and becomes more multi-dimensional... and I love him for it.

1. The Book of Flying, Keith Miller - Sheer poetry and whimsy. I will always enjoy re-reading this modern fairy tale. I highly recommend you give it a try as well. Miller's writing is stunning and his story goes straight to the heart. It's something to aspire to.

What are your favorites and do you re-read often? What does it take to get you to crack a book for a second time?


  1. I've read The Hobbit several times, and the whole Harry Potter series at least 5 times through. It's the same thing for me: the characters make me read it again.

  2. I've read a number of Mercedes Lackey's books a few times, but definitely the Harry Potter Series.

  3. It always makes me a little sad when I hear someone say that they only read a book once, even if they love it. Do they only listen to a song once, or watch a movie once, too? Glad I'm not the only re-reader. It's definitely about the characters, but also finding so many little things that I never saw before. In that way, it's still a little bit new, every time.

  4. Oh I love this list because I've read 8/10 of the books and have re-read 4 of them myself. I have never heard of the Book of Flying, I definitely check it out. Of course I've heard of Wuthering Heights and once tried to read it, but I think I was too young. Just recently re-read Pride and Prejudice and I love your description of it. Have you tried Persuasion yet?

    Please do join the weekly Top Ten meme. It's so much fun!

  5. Ooh, good post! I am definitely a rush-first-time-plot-angst + re-read-again-and-soak-details type of reader.

  6. Oh there are a lot on your list that I've never read. I'll have to add them. I'm especially interested in The Crystal Cave as I'm a total King Arthur nut. :)


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