Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Ten Rereads

I love Daniel Pennac's Readers Bill of Rights. I do. Of the ten rights listed, my favorite is probably #4, the right to reread. While I know that not every reader values rereading books, I can't help but feel sorry for those that just don't get it. Yes, there are many, many books in the world to read, that you're going to want to read, but there is something extremely satisfying about rereading books. Part of what distinguishes a good book from a great book is the desire to want to read it again, to revisit it again. To read such a great book only once, that would just be so wrong!

My favorite books to reread

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I know, I know. Frankenstein might not seem like a great comfort book, a book that someone would love oh-so-much that they just have to read it every year or every-other-year. But. For me, Frankenstein is one of those wonderfully, beautiful books that just gets better each and every time. I detail this a little in my first post about the book, How I Came To Love A Monster.

Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It. Can such a bleak book truly be a comfort book? I don't know that I call it a comfort book exactly. It's just that every year--since it was first released--I've found myself needing to pick it up again. I crave this book, the intensity of it. You can't not lose yourself in it. You can't help but feel cold and hungry and isolated. I suppose, if nothing else, the book shows you how much you have to be thankful for.

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. I'm including this one not because it is my favorite-and-best novel to reread now. But. How can I ignore the seven or eight years of my life where I read this book like crazy over and over again? Through junior high and high school and the first year or so of college, any time I felt stressed at all...I'd seek out GWTW.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Another 'old friend' I'm including more for the past than the present. It's not that I've stopped liking (or even loving) Ender's Game. I even still have good intentions on rereading it again--rereading the whole series again. But I've just come to like (or love) other books a little more. Or in some cases a lot more!

Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. A relatively new friend, I know. I've read this one only twice. BUT. If I'm being honest, this one has THE potential to become the chosen one, the one book that I read every year. The kind of book so satisfying it feeds your heart, mind, and soul.

L.M. Montgomery's Anne series. I could pretend that I mean just the first book in the series, Anne of Green Gables. But that wouldn't be the truth, would it? Because, for me, the series as a whole is so wonderful, so charming, so perfectly perfect that I wouldn't dream of stopping at one! No, Anne and I are kindred spirits. (I just hope she doesn't mind how I feel about Gilbert.)

Lois Lowry's The Giver. Was The Giver my first dystopia? It probably was. My memories of 1984 are way too fuzzy to know for sure. Though my memories for 1984 are a different kind of fuzzy from Great Expectations. With Great Expectations, I remember there is a crazy lady with the decaying wedding cake. I remember nothing at all from 1984. Anyway, The Giver was my first dystopia that I LOVED and adored. The one that I thought was the best book ever.

C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I do have opinions on Narnia. How could I not? These are books I have read at least half a dozen times. Of course, my strongest opinion may just be that they should be read in the PROPER ORDER. With none of this nonsense about The Magician's Nephew being first. Really! Seriously! How could anyone think that order makes any sense at all? Anyway, this book is one of those oh-so-magical books for me!

Beverly Cleary's Ramona series. It wasn't a difficult decision to include this series on my list. It was a given. I don't know that I could ever, ever choose just one as my favorite-and-best, but the series as a whole, well, they are just so much FUN to read again and again and again.

Jane Austen. Okay. I can't pick one Jane Austen either. I could eliminate Emma if you'd like. But as for the others, well, I need them all. Persuasion probably is my favorite and best if I had to pick just one. But there is just something so happy-making, so satisfying, so pleasant, so right, about all of her books. And I've discovered that they only improve with rereads. Books that were only okay for me for first time, mean so much more the second time through!!!

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jillian 12:55 PM  

Yay for so many of these -- and for rereading! My list includes several of the above, as well as Jane Eyre, Villette, and Little Women. :-)

Face to the Sunshine 1:17 PM  

I love the Anne series, too, and am going to read Gone With The Wind soon, thanks to your recommendation. Do you also love Little Men and Jo's Boys? I do!

Face to the Sunshine 1:19 PM  

Okay, and Jan Karon's Mitfor series. Have you read those? So good! Warm, funny, gorgeously human, but infused throughout with the glory of God.

Phillip 2:13 PM  

Why wouldn't you read Magician's Nephew first?!?

Kailana 9:22 PM  

This is a great post! I don't really reread at all... It's a shame because I always want to, but then never do!

Allison 10:43 PM  

I'm a huge rereader :) North & South and the Anne books are some of my most read books, glad to see they made your list as well!

sally apokedak 12:55 AM  

I'm with Phillip. The Magician's Nephew came first for me.

I've read Narnia at least a half a dozen times and Anne's books a few. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have had several shots. I'm pretty sure Heidi has had at least two reads. And definitely Wee Sir Gibby and several others by MacDonald has had three or four. But the book I've read most is The Wolves of Willoghby Chase. I don't know why. I read it a certain time in life, I guess...I was eight. And it stuck with me as one that I had to revisit many times because I loved it so much.

mel u 4:07 AM  

I just read GWTW for the first time and I totally loved it-I will for sure reread it more than once-I also have read the Giver and might reread it-I enjoyed your very interesting post a lot

DesLily 5:19 AM  

great list Becky. I know I can't remember all the rereads I've had but the Pern series is up there with the most reread. the Belgaraid series is another and the Dragonlance series, the Shannara series, the thomas covenant series, name some lol. the latest one I've reread would probably be the 13th tale (3 times so far)...when all else fails go and read a book full of character you really really is a comfort to revisit!

The Reading Panda 8:37 PM  

I re-read Little Women at least once a year. Somehow, wherever I am, reading that book makes me feel like I am at home (sappy, yes, but true). I love the reader's right to re-read!

(and yes, I adored Little Men, but was less wild about Jo's Boys)

Jenny 3:53 PM  

Most of my re-reading is YA books, with the Black Stallion, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, and Young Wizards series on top.

Jen Robinson 9:26 PM  

Oh, great list, Becky. I'd re-read most of these, too. Especially Jane Austen. Haven't re-read Life As We Knew it, but that's a great idea.

Sarah 8:31 AM  

Oh you're so right! Re-reading books is just so much fun. I love how you say the difference between a good book and a great book is the test of re-reading. Many of those you've mentioned I LOVE :)

Susan 10:49 AM  

Sometimes rereading books is as much fun, if not even better, than reading new ones, isn't it? No one is like Anne of Green Gables, no one. No one did Lord of the Rings like Tolkien, and Jane Austen is in realm of her own. All of these I have reread many times, and their delights are as timeless as ever. Thank you for your wonderful post, Becky!! And it's ok if you don't like Gilbert, 'cause I do! lol

Melissa (Avid Reader) 11:09 AM  

I love your list. The Anne books, Austen's work and Narnia books are all some of my favorite re-reads. I do need to re-read Gone With the Wind soon.

Kay- Her Book reviews 11:33 PM  

A couple of these are on my Re Reader list as well. Stopping by from the Weekly Geeks Linky.

kayang 7:06 AM  

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is on my list. It's humorous and full of adventure.

Anonymous,  12:03 PM  

The Anne series is always a good read. Personally, I'm always rereading my favorite series. Or just any book. I always rush through books the first time around in my haste to find out what happens to the character. The second time (or third, or fourth, etc) is about slowing down and savoring the parts I liked, and understanding the characters and the story better.

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