Friday Book Chats: Books Worth Re-Reading

When I was a child I used to reread my favorite books over and over again. In fact, when I asked for specific books for Christmas or my birthday I only chose books I had already read and knew I loved enough to want to own. Of course, as a child I had tons of free time to read and my books weren’t usually very long. As an adult, I rarely reread books, mainly because there are SO many books I want to read that I don’t feel like I have the time to spend on a reread. But every once in a while there’s a book I love enough to reread. These are all books I’ve read more than once, and at least one of those times as an adult.

There is also a list of current kindle deals I am aware of at the end of this post.

The Count of Monte Cristo – I loved this story ever since I saw the Wishbone version on TV in elementary school. I hunted down the book and read an abridged version half a dozen times through elementary school. In college I read the whole 800-page thing and loved it just as much. It’s such a great story of revenge and forgiveness. (BTW, the book is pretty different from the movie, in case that’s your only experience with it, though I think we can all agree that Guy Pierce is the ultimate villain and that Jim Caviezel has the sexiest voice of life).

Pride and Prejudice – I’ve probably read this five or six times. I was in seventh grade the first time I read it and it’s an all-time favorite. I know this isn’t a super original pick, but what can I say, there’s a reason it’s so famous. Growing up with sisters I’ve always found myself attracted to stories about sister relationships. And I also have a thing for the Mr. Darcy types- sort of standoffish and mysterious and somewhat brooding. Which is how I ended up with Jonathan. Obviously.

Emma – I’m not sure why I’ve read Emma so many times (3). I’m not even sure that it’s my favorite Jane Austen novel. I really like P&P and I’m also a big fan of Persuasion. But I like Emma’s personality. And I like how all of her meddling bites her in the butt and Mr. Knightley is still into her, even though he’s seen her in every silly and ridiculous stage of her life. I think it’s a much more nuanced picture of love than your typical romance.

Arcadia – This is a play, but I still think that counts as a book. I think I first read this in high school and then again in college and then Jonathan and I went to see the stage play in New York  for our first anniversary. Like all of Tom Stoppard’s work, this play is incredibly clever and witty. The entire thing takes place in one room, but it moves back and forth between the 19th and 20th centuries seamlessly and confronts the mysteries of science, mathematics, literature, sex, an romance.

The Poisonwood Bible – I already wrote about this in my favorite literary fiction books so I won’t go into lots of detail, but this book is fantastic. It’s a compelling story, but also a fascinating reflection on colonialism and westernization in the name of Christianity.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – I think I’ve read this three times. I also listed this in my favorite literary fiction books and listed Oskar as one of the most interesting characters I’ve read. I just love it. I actually especially love reading this one aloud. Something about the language.

Lord of the Rings – I first read these with my father as a preteen and read them a few more times in the following years. I was a deeply committed fan before the movies made everyone go crazy for them. At this point I wouldn’t say they are my favorite fantasy books, but they will always remain the quintessential classic.

The Chronicles of Narnia – I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia starting as a child until most recently when I read The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy aloud to Jonathan on road trips a few years ago. These books are worth rereading because the stories are timeless and because there is always something new to discover and love about them. In general I really hate allegories, but it doesn’t bother me in Narnia because it doesn’t feel too heavy-handed. These are so short that I can read them in an afternoon, so they are a great go to when you want a quick read. I imagine we’ll read them with our kids some day.

Hamlet – Hey, another play! I really love Shakespeare but Hamlet has to be my favorite. (Again, I’m into those distant, brooding types). Hamlet is just so perfectly, deliciously tragic. And it has everything – ghosts, romance, murder mystery, insanity, revenge, comic relief. It’s something I feel I can always come back to and enjoy.

Harry Potter Series – I’ve read the entire series through twice and read a few individual books more than that. Unlike most people my age who sort of grew up with Harry, I wasn’t allowed to read this books as a kid, so I gobbled them all up between the ages of 17 and 19 (which was how old I was when the final book was published). Harry Potter is wildly popular for good reason. It’s inventive and imaginative and wildly complex and still completely relateable.  I think I will continue to read these every few years for the rest of my life. #HP4Eva!

What about you? What are the books you find yourself going back to even though there are so many new books left to read?

Current Kindle Deals

*As of April 24th. I use the US Amazon site. Prices may vary on other sites.

New On Sale:

The Financial Lives of the Poets, Jess Walter ($1.99) I read a different Walter’s book last year (Beautiful Ruins) and really enjoyed it so I’d like to check out this one too.

Cold Sassy TreeOlive Ann Burns ($2.99)

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald ($1.99)

Fall of Giants, The Century Trilogy #1, Ken Follett ($2.99) Follett is a GREAT historical fiction writer. This one is set in the First World War era.

Still on Sale:

Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer, Micha Boyett ($3.03)

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell ($4.99). Adorable. One of my favorite YA books.

BossypantsTina Fey ($6.99)

We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. ($1.99)

The Maze Runner, James Dashner ($1.99) I haven’t read this, but the movie was mildly entertaining. Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent might be interested.

The MartianAndy Weir ($5.99) Another one I haven’t read, but everyone who has raves about it.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through to make a purchase a small percentage of your purchase will go towards supporting this site. This does not affect the price of the items in any way. 

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36 comments

  1. you have touched me. Thank you for your words of grace. Hey I am making a Christian project for YOUTUBE, with my friends, we r raising money for charity(starting this summer). Um for more info please go to my blog. ITs the one that’s say big announcement . Hope to talk soon. From ur friend Brandon. please give support

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    1. I can’t believe it either, haha. When my husband told me he had only read like two of them I was shocked. 😉 You can read each one in one sitting so it’s not a big commitment. You should get on that! 🙂

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  2. Wonderful post! Poisonwood Bible is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve been re-reading Chronicles of Narnia with my kids and am enjoying it even more than I did as a child. I’m still working my way through the Harry Potter series. I’m curious why you weren’t allowed to read them. I’ve heard others say that as well, but I’m on #3 and thus far can’t see why this would be the case for so many. Hope this doesn’t offend, and please don’t feel like you have to answer, but I’m sincerely curious. Again, lovely post and thanks for the book links!

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    1. Yes, Poisonwood Bible is amazing. 🙂 I’m not offended by your question at all – I grew up in a really conservative Christian family and at the time those books came out there was a lot of rhetoric within that community saying that these books were bad because they encouraged kids to have an interested in witchcraft. I can’t defend that position since I don’t agree with it, but that was the reasoning. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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  3. I read the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter series the summer I graduated college. I devoured all 14 books in like 2 months (THAT’S STILL INSANE TO ME!) It got to the point I would pick my kindle up and watson would bark! haha!

    I’ve since wanted to reread chronicles of narnia and harry potter, but feel there are too many books waiting on my shelves!

    I’ve read and reread Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers multiple times and given it out as a gift more times than I can recall! Great book! Have you read it?

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    1. I’ve read Redeeming Love before, but it was a long time ago. I remember liking it as a metaphor for God’s love for his people (which is what it’s intended as), but not liking it as much as a regular love story simply because I felt like it gave really unrealistic expectations of a real human relationship which i think many women took it as. Something to aim for, I guess, but not something to expect. But super beautiful way to understand the unrelenting love of God.

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  4. I love your choices! One of the most beautiful things about great books is that they yield deeper meaning with multiple meanings. I’ve also found that age matters in reading; what struck me about Jane Eyre when I was 13 was very different from what struck me about her when I was 25. It’s fun to encounter younger versions of yourself when you re-read a favorite book.

    Pride and Prejudice will always be on my re-read list too; I have three sisters, so it resonates. 🙂

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    1. Yes! Often our experience with a certain book is impacted by what’s going on in our lives at the moment, so it makes perfect sense that we would read it differently at different times in our lives. I just finished reading a book called Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch about a woman who read one book a day every day for a year and each chapter is sort of about a theme and all the books throughout her life that taught her something about that theme. It’s definitely a book for book lovers, but I thought it was really interesting.

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  5. I wish I had more time to re-read books. I did that a lot as a kid, and always enjoyed the books just as much if not more the second time around. And as an adult I have discovered books I would like to re-read. There are so many that I love. But as you say, time gets in the way. I have re-read a few over the years. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (a Pulitzer Prize winner about an old pastor writing a memoir of his life to his young son) is one of those, and it’s one I know I will keep re-reading every so often. Just so beautiful. Love the Outlander books, I’ve re-read the first one/two/three (can’t remember how many) more than once but as they are so long it’s tricky to re-read those. I’m in the midst of a year-long challenge on my blog to re-read C.S. Lewis, starting with the Space Trilogy. Enjoying those again (and I read them a few times as a teen). Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books (the first one, anyway) have also had a second-go-round in my life. I think there have been more but I”m going blank. The list for books I WISH I could read again would be considerably longer….

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    1. I completely understand! There are a number of books, especially the ones on my list of favorites that I would really like to go back to because I know I loved them, but I’m sure there are things I missed the first time around and I’d love to see how they hit me differently now than the first time I read them. Gilead is one of those books for me. I read it in college amidst lots of other required reading and while I really loved it at the time, I think I would get a lot out of a reread. Sometimes it’s hard for me to reread books because I feel like my reading time is precious and it feels like I’ll never get to so many of the books on my list that I feel I can’t justify spending the time on a reread even if I’ll enjoy it. 🙂

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  6. I kept thinking that i wanted to re-read the bio of Alexander the Great (i think it was the first bio i ever read and i just LOVED the book for some reason lol) but alas, i never got through the second round. I listen to most of my books and once i’ve heard it once, i tend not to want to hear it again but i might get the print version so i can reference specific chapters later if i’m trying to remember something

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    1. I’ve had the experience occasionally of rereading a book that I absolutely loved and not remembering why I loved it so much the second time around. I’ve also had the opposite experience, where I didn’t like something and then came back to it later and loved it. I wonder if you’d have a different experience if you came back to that Alexander the Great bio or if it would be just as meaningful.

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      1. Even I’ve read it only once :p
        Btw I was just curious to know how did you find The Catchers in The Rye

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      2. I’ve actually never read it. I didn’t have to read it in school and never read it on my own. My husband (also a really big reader) really hates it so that’s probably kept me from being too interested in reading it on my own.

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