Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Re-Readable Books - A Top Ten List

I love to re-read books. There’s nothing better than picking up a book for the second, (or third, or fifteenth) time and entering the author’s world afresh. I read quickly, and sometimes I miss things. Or I’ll forget something in between readings. And depending on what’s going on in my life, I may discover entirely new meaning in the story.

I remember reading C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was eight. I LOVED it. Escaping to a world where animals can talk? And magic is real? Just by hiding in a closet? Perfect. I read the whole series at least ten times. There was absolutely no part of my mind that searched for Christian references.

When the movie came out a few years ago, I bought the series and read it again. It amazed me to see what Lewis had hidden in the pages. And this time thinking all the while of how my children will enjoy the story, not just enjoying the story for itself.

I read for entertainment. If a part of a book doesn’t catch my interest, I’ll (*gasp*) skip whole pages to get onto the good parts. Sure there are millions of really good books out there. But only books that entertain me (or speak to me in some way) qualify as re-readable.

I recently picked up a book (let’s just say it’s from an insanely popular vampire series) for the second time. My daughter is reading the series, and I wanted to refresh the story in my mind. Sadly, this book (and series) does not qualify for re-reading status. It’s killing me. Too much mooning. The heroine is driving me insane. Not to mention the fact that I don’t like the casting of the movie, and all I can see are the movie characters when I read it. I don’t have a lot of time to read anyway, so it’s being shelved.

The fact that a book I enjoyed so much the first time (and yes, I REALLY loved it the first time) could be so un-entertaining the second time got me thinking. What are my favourite re-reads? And why are some books re-readable? Hence the list.

So—Ta da! Here are my top ten favourite re-reads of all time (in no particular order):

1. Harry Potter (1-7) by J.K. Rowling—Do I need to expand on this? Fantasy, excitement, brilliant entertainment. Sure there are a few parts I skip through, but for the most part I could re-read these books twenty times and not get bored.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen—I love, love, love the snippy, barbed dialogue in this book. Who wouldn’t want a Mr. Darcy to rescue them? So romantic. And to top it off I really like both movie versions (BBC and Hollywood). Sigh.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte—Again, romance at it’s best. A few parts are skippable, and I want to shake Jane when she’s hanging out with St. John. Or slap him. But still, I could re-read it yearly.

4. The Narnia Series (1-7) by C.S. Lewis. I’m proud to admit how many times I climbed into my closet as a child, hoping to be greeted by a faun.

5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick—This book gets me in the gut. Very entertaining. Even the third time. I’m eagerly awaiting book three.

6. Are We Having Fun Yet? (16 Secrets to Happy Parenting) by Kay Willis and Maryann Bucknum Brinley—This one you may not have heard of. It is an AMAZING guide to parenting. My copy is dog-eared and well worn. Kay Willis, may she rest in peace, is my hero.

7. Dragonsong by Anne MacCaffery—Another escapist’s dream series. I love Menolly. And dragons.

8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M Montgomery—I have to admit, I tried to read Anne when I was ten, and had to put it down. I think Anne’s dialogue was just too much for me then. Now, it’s charming.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—Seriously. This book is so incredible on so many levels. Ethics, romance, drama and entertainment. I love it. Cover to cover.

10. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. I can’t remember who recommended this book to me the first time. I know I begged my book club at the time to discuss it. And I’m looking forward to discussing it with my daughters in a few years. A feel-good series for teens and up.

So there you have it. I’m sure I’ve missed some. And don’t think me shallow for the lack of classics or deep philosophical books. If you agree, disagree, or think me a wacko, feel free to comment. I may come up with more and do a revised list later. I’d put the Bible down as one but I’ve never read it cover to cover. And my own manuscripts? Well they’ve been read a million times, but I can’t recommend them to you, as they’re not published. Yet.



Riel Nason said...

Hi Brenda, I loved Harry Potter too and Anne of GG. Although I will admit I didn't read Anne until a few years ago after we went to Cavendish and I revisited Green Gables as an adult. I like lots of LMM books, The Blue Castle is probably my fav. Great to hear you are still writing!!! I am writing my second novel now. Knock on wood it is flowing right along.

Overdunne said...

When and where can I get your book, Riel? I'd love to read it! It must be very exciting to see what you've written in print. :) I've just joined an online crit group via a Twitter Chat called #writersroad. They're wonderful and I'm hoping it will help. I'm also signed up for the Ontario Writer's Conference in April. Thanks for the follow :) Brenda

jan_shaw said...

March 2012 cannot come soon enough!! Dying to see The Hunger Games movie already. The whole series was amazing to read I can't wait to see who's cast in the movie!

Riel Nason said...

Hey, My book will be out later this year. I will know the exact date soon. It is in final copyedit now. Believe me, there will be some shouting from rooftops once I know the exact details. ;-) It's a good idea to go to the conference. Sounds fun. And blogging is fun to, isn't it. I love to see my Follower number go up too.