7 Books I Want to Read Again

Whenever I finish one book, I often find myself with the delicious dilemma of choosing which one will be the next taken off my shelves. But my to-read list has grown longer than my to-do list. (Darn you, Goodreads!)

So, why would I reread books? Sometimes I want to slow the insatiable desire for new, better, more and hang out with the familiar. Like sitting with an old friend and reminiscing for a while.

Also, books change as we change. As we gain more life experiences and have more years on this planet, our perspective changes. I admit—I didn’t like Pride and Prejudice when I read it in high school. Now, it’s one of my favorites. (Though, I think I’d have to live a long, long time to change my original opinion of Moby Dick. *cough*)

There are some books I reread and realize that I missed the point the first time around. Maybe I was distracted by life’s little intrusions. Maybe I was skimming. (Note to self: Don’t skim! Why bother!?)

Here are seven books on my TBRR* list:

*To Be ReRead

All Creatures Great and SmallAll Creatures Great and Small, by James HerriotMy copy is yellowed and the cover is torn (see photo), but I’m not getting rid of it. As a country veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire, Herriot’s patients ranged from dogs and cats to pigs and cows. He wove his animal tales (pun intended), while painting a beautiful portrait of the windswept moors and the hardy, hardworking farmers. I remember his stories as warm, but not sappy; insightful, but not preachy.

 

58345The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. When I read this novel in college, I’d learned that the story shocked readers when it was published in 1899. I thought Kate Chopin was prescient, imagining what female marital infidelity would look like. But now I wonder: Was the book ahead of its time or was it shockingly contemporary? Just because it wasn’t discussed openly doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. A good book to reread in this Snapchat, swipe left, share everything age we live in.

 

386187Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt.  There is practically a law that says you must read this book before you visit Savannah, Georgia. And so I did. And it was terrific. And to a large extent that is my memory of the plot. So when a friend read it and recounted the escapades of the Lady Chablis, the eccentric drag queen, I realized it’s time to be enamored all over again.

 

 

The Alchemist, by Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho. I can’t remember what happened to my copy. Maybe I loaned it to a friend or donated it in one of my intense yearly bookshelf purges. Two weeks ago, I was browsing at a stoop sale (the urban version of a yard sale) and my eyes landed on this book. I was about to walk away (do I really need another book!?!) when the seller handed it to me and said, “No charge.” It feels like the universe wants me to read this one again.

 

 

A Walk in the WoodsA Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. This was my introduction to Bill Bryson’s writing, and now I’m a Bryson completist. His curmudgeonly, wry tone always leaves me in good spirits. It’s been at least 15 years since I last read this one, and I still have the book on my shelf.

 

 

 

to kill a mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Because I refused to read Go Set a Watchman.

 

 

 

 

The Getaway Car, by Ann PatchettThe Getaway Car, by Ann Patchett. This slim volume of writing encouragement is only available as a Kindle Single, but it’s worth downloading the app, if you don’t already have it. (And it’s a reasonably priced $2.51 at last check). Lately I’ve needed a writerly pick-me-up. The long, sometimes soul-crunching process can make me question moving forward with a story.  To that, Ann Patchett says:

 

“Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.”

 

Do you reread books? Which ones? 

Coming next time: an interview with Bethany Ball, author of What to Do About the Solomons! 

BEFORE YOU GO

  1. This fall, I’ll be teaching my most popular class at The Loft Literary Center called Back to Basics: Creative Writing Techniques, starting September 20. The Loft Literary Center

I’ll let you know when registration opens.

2. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be moving over to WordPress.org in the next month or two. The move requires all of you to resubscribe over at the new URL. So frustrating, but I don’t know a way to transfer subscriptions. (If you do, please let me know!)  I want to keep you informed about the move and the new writing courses I’m developing. I’ve started a newsletter. I’d love it if you’d sign up. As a thank-you, I’m offering my short editing checklistThis is one of the checklists I use when editing fiction writing. Thanks so much for your support! 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

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32 comments

  1. All great books to revisit, Jackie. I am currently rereading Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge. I also love reading Fitzgerald’s Gatsby every few years. The Getaway Car is one of my favorites and thanks for reminding me to pull it out again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved The Getaway Car and The Awakening. I’ve been rereading two novels recently–not all at once but every so often because I like the writing voices. They are: Bee Season and The Middlesteins.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this list! I also think Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a great read to push through those writing blocks. I’m re-reading end of an affair by Greene and feeling inspired and enchanted 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Big Magic is a great suggestion!

      Greene always reminds me that it’s not necessarily the “what” that keeps readers turning the pages as much as the why or the how. He often reveals in the first few pages what happened (The End of the Affair gives it away right in the title!) but I always keep reading to find out why. Thanks for reminding me to put him on my re-read list.

      Like

  4. I just reread The Awakening-interesting to see it listed here. I thought I had read everything by Ann Patchett-in fact I would really re-read The State of Wonder. But I didn’t know about the single The Getaway Car. I’m going over there right now to download it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think this is a really good post. I have a really bad habit of not finishing books because I get bored ( because it takes me like a year to read a book) or want to move on to something better. It’s good to rember to appreciate and savour the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are remaking the movie of Murder on the Orient Express (coming out this November). Even though I read the book years ago, it will all be new to me because I can’t remember whodunit. 🙂

      Like

  6. I don’t reread books (over 600 on the TBR list!) but if I did, I’d like to revisit the French lit I had to read in college. It would be nice to read those books without taking notes and dissecting them for a class. Also, I wouldn’t want my memories of favorite books to be diluted. If that makes any sense at all.

    I’ve tried to read Moby Dick three times and just…can’t.

    On another note, did you hear that Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea are both being made into movies? I’m so glad you told me about the novels, Jackie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoo! 600 books. 🙂
      I did see that Between Shades of Gray is being made into a movie. It’s called Ashes in the Snow. I’m not sure when it’s going to be released, but I’m keeping watch for it. If the film is as good as the book, it will be incredibly moving.

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  7. Duuuuude I always love your lists. The Alchemist is my favorite! Your lists always inspire me. They inspire to start writing stuff down 🙂 glad you told me about the move, I’m totally up for subscribing wherever you are 🙂 but why the move? Have a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The WP.org platform gives me more flexibility. I’ll be able to offer online classes right through my new site. And I can combine this blog and the site into one location. Makes it easier all around. What’s new in your world?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dude that does sound better! Nice. I had little and a lot going on since my little pool injury, but I’m getting back on track. OH! Plus I wanted to get in contact with you about something. What’s the best way email to reach you at?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love The Grapes of Wrath even though I hated it in high school so that’s always a good one to reread. A few other favorites are All the King’s Men and Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. I’ve been wanting to read a lot of the ones you’ve mentioned – thank you for those reminders!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love A WALK IN THE WOODS! 🙂 Reminds me that I want to get the audio version for our next road trip so that my husband can enjoy it too. (He mainly reads science books.) I love re-reading INTO THE WILD, THE GREAT GATSBY, and TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I recently reread Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time, Animal Farm and 1984. I tend to read the same authors over and over: pure fluff like Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman, and Georgette Heyer. I also love Diana Gabaldon, and eagerly waited for the next book in her series, but couldn’t finish the last one for some reason. I haven’t had the heart to check out the TV show they made out of those books because I can tell from the trailers that the characters don’t look anything like they do in my head.

    I also loved A walk In The Woods, which I read on your recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love finding an author whose work resonates that I just want to read everything he or she puts into the world. For me that is Bill Bryson and David Sedaris. I’m starting to feel that way about J. Courtney Sullivan in fiction.

      I’m so glad that you liked A WALK IN THE WOODS. I’m a Bryson evangelist, so I never know if I’m coming on too strong. 🙂

      Like

      1. I like Sedaris too. His style is much like Bryson’s, I think. His are also the kind of books I would like to write, except I don’t know if there is a market for my random ramblings, or if that only works once you’re already a famous writer.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sedaris and Bryson got their starts somewhere! But I can’t think of too many women authors with a similar tone and perspective. That’s good. You could be the first. 🙂

        Like

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