Books to read more than once are my favorite kind because, let’s face it, a great work of literature should enable you to enjoy it over and over again despite the fact that you already know how it ends. It reveals itself to you a bit more each time, making more, less or different sense with each read. Yes, I’m obsessed with my favorite reads like that and am constantly on a mission to find a new-to-me book that I could read, love, enjoy then promptly add to my list of books to reread, rediscover and enjoy some more. And these are some of my favorite books to read more than once.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Cheesy I know, listing a classic when we all know classics are, by default, books to read more than once. Well…most of them! What I found so fascinating about it is the fact that I’d like to reread some more as I get older (and, hopefully, wiser) because I’m sure that will give me a whole new perspective. My teenage, overly-romantic self had been all “Aweee, they DO end up living happily ever after. This is such a good story.” Then I read it again after a few years (pretty recently, actually) and guess what – I actually had a feeling the moral of the story has nothing to do with romance and everything to do with irony instead. I mean, seriously – do you really see Mr. OverinflatedEgo and Ms. PricklyPants living happily ever after? I bet they’ve ended up killing each other or spent a lifetime of arguing! And what about Mr. Backboneless and Ms. TooSweet? Not even going there!
2. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Okay, well this just goes without saying! If you’ve made that horrible mistake of reading ASoIaF for the first time you’ll probably want to reread it a few times before The Winds of Winter come out (which will probably happen a decade from now but hey, at least you have plenty of time). Seriously, who needs real life when there are so many plots, subplots, petty conniving and ancient prophecies to get into? Then there is Targaryen family tree, Children of the Forest, history of Westeros and, of course, that age-old dilemma – if all Karstarks are Starks and some Starks are Karstarks, how many Starks and Karstarks does it take to shoe Stranger? Oh and someone seems to have misplaced some shadow-creature (dragon, maybe?) somewhere! Think I’m crazy? You have some catching up to do, me thinks. Understand what I’m talking about? No more rereads for you, then! Get a life or, better yet, let’s trade crackpot theories and, oh, don’t forget to mail me a lemon cake recipe!
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Next on my list of books to reread can actually fit in a purse, carrying it with you to read over the holidays won’t induce extra charge for breaking luggage weight limitations and you’ll even get to keep your attachments to real life and friends that use cell phones to send messages rather than ravens to carry them! And there’s a cherry on top too – reading this book whenever you feel down will lift your spirits some and remind you that the journey is grander than the coin you had to pay for the horse. Or something like that. Anyways, I’m not going to spoil it for you or install my own thoughts into your head. Just read it and I’m sure you’ll want to go back to it.
4. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Let me give you a fair warning first – if you don’t tend to get overly pissy about biblical facts, this is definitely a book to read more than once. If you do, you might want to skip it entirely because you’re going to be all “Oh, no, she didn’t! It so didn’t happen like that,” and I’m going to be like, “I told you so.” Biblical stuff aside, I really enjoyed the dynamics and exchange between female characters and loved the fact that the book has more than a few “girl power” hints without being all “let’s stop shaving our armpits and burn every lipstick we have.” Writing a pro-feminist novel with events set so early in history is hard, y’all! And even more so when you’re using religion and history and twisting it to create a captivating work of fantasy!
5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Raise your hand if this reminds you of high school! No? Anyone? Well, I bet your back is that much straighter for not having to drag this with you every Monday and Thursday for what seemed like forever. The page number is the only downside, though (and even that is not that big of a deal compared to some other books); the rest is very much worth a second read. I’m getting ready to do it myself, too, but this time, I’m thinking about purchasing rather than renting. And that’s just the thing with Russian literature – the more mature you get, the more you appreciate the complexity and diversity of characters and start seeing beyond the plot.
6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Speaking about that super easy to read stuff you’ll go through before you know it, here’s a book to read more than once, and by that I really mean a lot more than once! It has the simplicity and precision of a children’s story, even looks like any ole children’s story, except we all know it really isn’t. And gosh, how I love, love, love a theme as universal as this one, written in such a way that you can always get something out of it. I loved it as a teen, knowing little and less about the so-called “mushroom communication” (keep ‘em in the dark and feed ‘em manure), loved it even more once I began picking up the subtleties and will probably revisit it a great number of times in the future, too.
7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Oho! Now raise your hand if you thought I was going to go with Tolkien, Pratchett or Adams! Well, what can I say, their names (and novels) are always on my to-read list, regardless of the number of rereads I did in the past. What I should and really want to revisit is the novel called Great Expectations. Sure you’ve read it, too, this Dickens guy is kinda famous, I’m told. Lol! Jokes aside, I really am a huge fan of this period of British history and absolutely love how Dickens manages to paint a perfect picture of it, using characters with different social status, motives, and education to create a captivating yet very universal tale.
Have you read and reread any of these and what are you favorite reads?