Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wondering About Rereading

Flipping through the New York Times Sunday "Book Review" this afternoon--an exercise in procrastination, I'll admit--I came across a piece by David Bowman, "Read It Again, Sam." He is discussing the rereading habits, particularly of famous authors. Coincidentally, I'd had a conversation after class with a couple of students. One said she never reread a book because she knew that meant that she might be reading something new at the time; her friend admitted that she had some favorite to which she returned again and again.

I understand both camps. I fall into both from time to time. As an English teacher, of course I read some works again and again as I teach them. I've never felt I was fair to rely on my memory from a year or more ago when I asked my students to come to class fresh from reading a text. My own reading at their scheduled pace also helps me understand the reading load I've assigned. As a result, I've read Macbeth and many other Shakespearean plans more times than I can count. To that, add To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, The Once and Future King, Cold Mountain, and even Paradise Lost--well, you get the point.

This self-discipline also leads me to change up my syllabus regularly to keep from tiring of books, short stories, plays, and poetry I love.

Today, though, I'm thinking that I may have missed some wonderful books that others find such pleasure that they return again and again. So rather than giving my own rereading list, I want to solicit lists of YOUR favorites. Since books are my favorite gift to buy this time of year (easy to wrap, too), this might be a good time to shake up my own list. I'll follow up in a week or so.


Unknown said...

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. It's one of my all time favorite books. I usually keep a copy or two around to give away, because it's getting to be hard to find.

Michele Brenton said...

Old favourites.
Green Grass of Wyoming by Mary O'Hara
All the Katy books by Susan Coolidge
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
Light entertainment.
the Bertie Wooster books by P.G.Wodehouse
the Skool books by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
funny fantasy & other fantasy/sci-fi
The Nightwatch by Terry Pratchett & all his Tiffany Aching books.
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - by Douglas Adams (all the versions)
The Red Dwarf books by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
All Anne McCaffrey's books including the ones she co-authored.
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
books by people I know but I'd reread them even if they weren't
Being Light by Helen Smith
Saturdays Are Gold by Pierre van Rooyen
Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron by Raven Dane

Unknown said...

Rosamunde Pilcher's books, The Shell Seekers and Empty House are two fiction books that I have reread more that once!

Anonymous said...

Oh Nancy, my favorite book is Jane Eyre, but I have to tell you, if you enjoy epic fantasy at all (Lord of the Rings counts as epic fantasy) you must try "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. I have read it again and again and find something new to love each time. The best part is that it is a trilogy - the second is "Wise Man's Fear" but the third has not yet been published.

Diana Terrill Clark/Domino

Anonymous said...

I have read "Time and Again" by Jack Finney (also of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" fame). It's a love letter to the New York City in the Tammany Hall days. Time travel, an artist, a romance. Aaaaaah.

Also Winter's Tale, anything by Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Pablo Neruda, plus any poets I know personally. Thanks for asking! Amy

Unknown said...

Watership Down was a book that captured me, too!

S.E.Ingraham said...

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (and her exercise book, The Essential Writer's Notebook)
On Writing by Stephen King
The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux
Points of Light by Linda Gray Sexton
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso
There are many more and they do change a bit from time to time but these do seem to stay in the list.

Elizabeth Johnson said...

Anything by Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark! Also, Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. And classics such as Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Girl of the Limberlost, and any/all of O.Henry's short stories.