Recently I came across the article 14 Books You Wish You Could Read for the First Time Again. Off the Shelf editors asked members of their Facebook group which books they wish they could read again for the first time and published some of the responses.
I agree with these titles from the article:
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Examining the Off the Shelf list made me consider exactly what qualities make me want to reread a book. Often it’s the enjoyment of seeing how a writer makes a particular story work—the mechanics of getting plot and character to mesh to produce a satisfying whole. Sometimes it’s the experience of spending time with characters who feel like real people, and other times it’s seeing how characters react to situations that we hope we’ll never have to face in real life. Usually it’s the emotional realization that, although we are all individuals, we all share a common humanity.
Many times rereading a book is more pleasurable because I already know, in general terms, what’s going to happen and who I’m going to meet along the way. Yet there are still some books that I wish I could read again with fresh eyes.
For that reason, here, in no particular order, are a few books I would add to this list:
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
- “The Lottery” (short story) by Shirley Jackson
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
- Disturbances in the Field by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
- Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy
- Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
- Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
- L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
How About You?
What makes you want to reread a book? And what books do you wish you could read for the first time again?
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown