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It takes a special book to prompt a reread these days.
When I was a kid, I read the books I owned over and over and over again. If I owned it, you could almost guarantee that I’d read it at least four times.
I loved new books and library books, but if I didn’t have one handy–no problem, I’d just read something I had again.
My family thought this was a little weird (I mean, how many times could I reread the same Babysitter’s Club books?), but they also thought I was weird because I could read while the TV was on in front of me.
I don’t do that much anymore (though I sometimes can read even with kids running wild around me, so I guess it’s kind of the same?), and I also don’t reread books very often.
There are just so.many.books that I want to read, and they are so easy to get. A few taps and I have the next one downloaded!
But there’s a reason I keep physical books on a bookshelf. They aren’t just there for looks (though walking by them does make me happy, so there’s that).
The ones I keep are books that I think I might read again someday. And there are reasons why you should reread your favorite books!
The list below includes many books that I count as my very favorites but my foggy mom brain has forgotten a lot of the details of the stories.
Some of them I just loved so much that I want to experience them again. They’re there when I just need a familiar, comforting read. The first book on my list below is like this (as well as the rest of the series). I picked up comfort reads like the Little House series and The Secret Garden often as a child.
I hear that many readers who grew up with Harry Potter find those books comforting (apparently, the Harry Potter audiobooks are amazing, and many people simply keep them constantly running in the car or where ever they listen. Comfort audiobook listening is a new thing to me, but I get it!).
Others on the list below I want to read again to see if I still love them. NOT loving a book that was once your favorite is definitely a danger of rereading, but it’s also interesting to see how your tastes and opinions change.
I’ve started reflecting on my favorites in a reading journal; it’s fascinating to see what sticks with me, even years after reading a book.
Another great thing about these books? If you haven’t read a book in a while, these are excellent options to help you start reading again.
Not only will they help you start reading again, they’ll help you like reading again–and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a reader!
Here are more tips to kickstart your reading habit and LOVE reading again.
Most of the books below are on my shelf but won’t count in my read my shelf challenge–because I’ve already read them!
I may not read all of these again this year, but these are the ten at the top of my reread list.
Books Worth Reading Again
It’s been a number of years since I read this book (and the other three that come after it), but what I remember most about this memoir is how much fun I had reading it. I recall telling another bookish friend at the time, “These books are just making me happy right now!” There is no large, dramatic story here, but James Herriot’s telling of his life as a country veterinarian in Yorkshire is warm, funny, and touching.
Herriot spares himself no embarrassment but proves himself keenly observant and sensitive as he interacts with the characters—human and animal, by turns eccentric, sad, and inspiring—who pepper his stories. This was true comfort reading for me, and one I looked forward to sinking into the couch with. I will re-read at some point, ideally during a snowstorm with a hot cup of tea.
At a party in the vice-presidential mansion of an unnamed South American country, a band of young terrorists enters and takes hostages. The hostages include a world-renowned soprano, a Japanese business titan, and diplomats from various countries. The days and months stretch on and lines blur, relationships form, and tensions rise and fall and rise again. This is one of my favorite books and was my first introduction to Ann Patchett–now one of my favorite authors. I recently reread it and had a great experience; read about it in Why You Should Reread Your Favorite Books and How to Make It Worth Your While.
The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of the books that brought me back to avid readership after grad school burnout. I have always been a dog lover, so of course I couldn’t resist a book narrated by Enzo, a philosophical dog who bemoans his lack of thumbs and likes to ride in race cars. Enzo will alternately charm you and break your heart, as he reflects on his life while anticipating his death. Dog books are predictable in their sadness, but those of us who love them also love dogs. It’s hard to resist an imagining of their rich inner lives, and Enzo is particularly irresistible. It should go without saying that you’ll need your tissues, but it’s worth it. Also see: 8 Heartwarming Books for Dog Lovers
This is a book that initially didn’t grab my interest with the title, cover, or description. For some reason, I picked it up anyway, and it stands out as a favorite. Victoria has aged out of the foster care system and finds herself working in a flower shop. She discovers that she has the unique talent of matching people with the perfect flowers. While I remember loving this book, it’s been a number of years since I read it and I don’t remember many details of the story! I hope to reread it soon and see if I love it as much on a second read.
In 1942 Paris, Jewish people are rounded up and sent away–often to their deaths. Sarah, 10 years old, hides her little brother in a cupboard, locking the door and promising to return. What follows is the story of her desperate journey back to him, alternating with the story of a journalist 60 years later who is investigating the round up. This is another book that stuck with me but that I’ve lost the details of. There are many great World War II books, and I’ve read a few in recent years. I’d like to reread to see if this one holds up.
I first read this book as a young teenager and it blew my mind. In addition to this being my first dystopian read, it was one of my first exposures to a book that was subversive, political, and feminist. This is the story of Offred, a woman who not so long ago was a wife, mother, and independent woman. Now she is a handmaiden, separated from her family and pressed into service for her fertility. Each month, she must submit to the Commander in hopes of becoming pregnant. This is a frightening tale of a society where women are fully oppressed and valued for little else than their ability to procreate–scarily prescient in today’s political climate. This book remains a favorite, but it’s been years since I read it and I’m looking forward to reading it again.
In 1945, English combat nurse Claire Randall walks through a circle of standing stones in Scotland and finds herself in 1743. Separated from her new husband by 200 years and at the mercy of a suspicious clan embroiled in conflict, Claire must use her cunning to survive and make her way back to the 20th century. Young Highlander Jamie Fraser emerges as a potential ally and protector in an alien time and land. As she and Jamie grow closer, Claire faces decisions about her life–including when and where she wants to live, and who she wants to be with.
This entire series was completely immersive for me–dramatic, a little sexy, and unputdownable. I raced through all of the (huge!) books. Once I know the release date of the next one, I might take on reading the whole thing again. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, but it’s also great storytelling and filled with history. Did anyone outside of Scotland know much about Culloden before Outlander? I didn’t, and Outlander offers glimpses of life in Scotland, Paris, the Caribbean, and early America. It’s a fun ride, and I can’t wait to get back on.
I can’t say that a story about building a cathedral in Middle Ages England sounded like a riveting premise–but I was wrong. This massive tome is filled with drama and intrigue, evil characters, romance, political maneuvering, and fascinating history. It’s a bit of a historical soap opera, on par with Outlander, in the best possible way. Highly readable, hard to put down, and also a bit of a guilty pleasure. The third book in Follett’s Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire, was released in 2017, and it’s sitting on my shelf alongside the first two. They reference one another a bit, but each is set several centuries after the last, so reading them all isn’t completely necessary. Nonetheless, those immersive reading experiences don’t come along often, and I may do a reread of The Pillars of the Earth and the second book, World Without End, before diving into A Column of Fire–just for an extended soapy reading experience.
Two twins in Ethiopia are born to an Indian nun and a British surgeon, but they are orphaned after their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance. Love of the same woman pulls the twins apart, but their bond them back together to reckon with the past. This is an epic story, set across decades and countries, about families, forgiveness, and the nature of healing. I know I loved this book, but I remember very little about it. I’m looking forward to reading it again like it’s the first time.
While I loved Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, this one sticks with me even more. The tale of two women brought together under oppressive circumstances in Afghanistan. As dangers grow both in and out of their home, their bond and resourcefulness are the things that see them through. I am both fascinated and horrified by the circumstances of many women in Afghanistan. This story brings readers into one home to see how two women manage to make a life under such oppression–and the sacrifices they must make for those they love.
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What books are you planning to read again?
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