I don’t usually reread books. I feel more urgency to read something new, to discover a new author, or to live a new adventure through my reading. However, there are some books I have read more than once, even three or more times.
I remembered these books because of Josh Hanagarne, author of The World’s Strongest Librarian. I attended his event at the SLC downtown public library a few weeks ago. It is part of his tour to promote his book. His talk was engaging, funny, and sincere. My husband and I really enjoyed it, and it was good to see both Josh and his wife Janette, whom we once socialized with on a regular basis because Janette and I worked together. Once I quit and she quit, we stopped seeing each other. And with social media, one never has to see one’s “friends” anymore. We all stay so connected (yet disconnected) online.
Anyway, Josh’s speech was about how many of us readers often claim, “This book changed my life!” Yet he pointed out that this is often hyperbole, and the person exclaiming it cannot articulate exactly how or why it changed their life. So he shared a bunch of books that had actually changed his life. Some of them were silly, others were quite serious, and some were inspiring.
During this review of some of these books, he mentioned rereading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole each year and how he kept coming back to Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. He asked the audience to share some of the titles that kept them rereading. I thought about mine silently, but because I’m not big on rereading, I couldn’t think of just one that always drew me back or demanded another look regularly.
So, today I give you a list of the books I have actually reread. I’ve reread them because I enjoyed them and because circumstances required it. Often, I had already read the book but then a class would have it as assigned reading. I would then reread it to refresh my memory and to be able to produce an accurate paper. I also found this with some of the book clubs I’ve been involved with over the years. Here’s my list.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
All of the Beverly Cleary books
Dracula by Bram Stoker
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I recently reread a book because of the Literary Wives series that I am hosting with three other bloggers.
I just finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for the second time. It is the next book in the series, and I will be posting my thoughts about it on June 1. We encourage you to read along with us and join the discussion by commenting on our posts or posting your own review.
I’m glad I reread this one. It gave me a chance to revise my rating of it on Goodreads. Apparently, I had given it only one star! And then I spent the last year recommending it to people. So, when I went back and saw that low rating, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even remember thinking so poorly of it. I do recommend it, and I raised my rating. I look forward to sharing my thoughts in more detail and in hearing your own opinions on the book and the famous couple at its center, the Hemingways.
Which books have you reread and why?