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Some people enjoy seeing a movie they love again and again, or are fine with watching reruns of a favorite show. Others can revisit a book that resonated with them multiple times. I’m not one of those people! No matter what the format, I rarely have any desire to return to a story where I already know the outcome. Last fall, I made an exception and reread The Secret History by Donna Tartt and to my great relief, I enjoyed it almost as much as the first time around. So, for today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) I’m highlighting other books I’d really like to read a second time.
When considering book, I only looked at ones published in the last ten years, and I excluded any that I’d read in the last couple years. Still, narrowing my choices down to ten proved to be much harder than I’d expected!
11/22/63 by Stephen King – 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his best. As I read this book I was constantly in awe of his creativity and storytelling ability. At nearly 850 pages, it’s crazy long, yet the story flew by. I’d like to see if the King magic would hold up for a second time around.
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg – This is one of several gut wrenching books on this list. I came to Did You Ever Have a Family knowing almost nothing about it and so I was blown away by the collective grief of an entire community in Clegg’s novel. I remember it as being so beautifully told and that’s why I would like to revisit this novel.
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson – I may be wrong, but I have a sense that this is one of those books not a lot of people have read. I loved Henderson’s complex story of a down-and-out Montana social worker trying to help the nearly feral son of a paranoid survivalist. His book was rich in layers of complexity, making it worthy of a reread.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – Books with a big cast of characters are ones I really go for. Then you set one in NYC and I’m devoted. I think I remember The Interestings so well, but I’m sure if I read it again I’d find that I’d forgotten much about the lives of six friends who first meet as teens at a summer camp for the arts. I want to be part of their lives again!
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – People have wildly varying opinions of A Little Life, and I’m firmly on the side of loving it. In fact, this may be my all time favorite book. It gutted me. I’ve never cried as much with another book, nor mourned as deeply. Those feelings are still so strong when I think of A Little Life that I know I’ll read it again someday.
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes – No one was more surprised than me when I became immersed in this book about a company of soldiers during the Vietnam War. I don’t like war stories, but Marlantes, a Vietnam vet who took nearly 30 years to craft this story, focused on on the men as much as the war. He took you there with them and I’d like to go back.
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan – I found myself shocked, awed, and devastated after reading Mudbound. So why would I want to go back? Set in 1940’s Mississippi, Jordan’s book about two families, one white, one black, was so well crafted that despite knowing the outcome, I’d appreciate picking up on all the details again.
Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian – This is easily my favorite Bohjalian book. I like well crafted World War II stories and his is among the best. What drew me to Skeletons and has me wanting to go back is that it’s told from the point of view of a family from Prussia fleeing to the west as the war is ending. The horrors they see are both eye-opening and devastating.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Many dystopian books can be just too much for me, but not Station Eleven. St. John Mandel plopped her characters into a world devastated after a virus wiped out much of the population. Following this band of people as they fought to survive their new reality and each other was a pleasure worth savoring again.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – This is a coming-of-age story at the very top of the game. In 1987, June loses her beloved uncle to a disease no one wants to talk about. Her journey to understanding and her growth through compassion make Tell the Wolves I’m Home one of the books I’d most like to read again.
What books are on the top of your list to read again?
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Sarah's Book Shelves says
I’d love to re-read The Interestings…now let’s see if that ever happens. Ha!
I also loved 11/22/63, Did You Ever Have a Family, A Little Life (although I’m not sure I want to go through that again), and Mudbound.
I still haven’t read Tell the Wolves I’m Home and it’s been on my list for ages!
It would be really hard to read A Little Life again, but I definitely want to someday. I thikn you’d like Tell the Wolves.
This list has made my tbr explode even more! I’ve only read 11/22/63, A Little Life and Did You Ever Have a Family and I loved all of them…I’m with you that A Little Life is probably my top book ever at this point, the only time I’ve ever sobbed over a book! I own Station Eleven so I should read that (someday) and I really want to try The Interestings and Skeletons At the Feast! Fun post Susie!
Renee, I think you’d love Station Eleven. It’s got so much going on and is something of an adventure, too.
I would love to reread 11/22/63. I actually purchased the hardcover when it came out. I think the only thing stopping me is the length! I like long books, but it is soo long!
I’m not sure I could red it again, but I did love it.
11/22/63 is my favorite book! I’d love to re-read that, but like everyone notes, it’s too long. I also thoroughly enjoyed A Little Life and Mudbound, though both make me cry thinking about how some human beings can be so cruel to others. I’m probably in the minority, but I did not like The Interestings-none of the characters really did it for me. Another book I’d really like to have time to dive into again is The Heart’s Invisible Furies-loved it so much!
I agree with you on Heart’s. I didn’t include it because it was so recent, but well worth a reread.
Ann Marie says
I’ve been meaning to get to Did You Ever Have a Family for the longest time. I’m adding 11/29/63 and Skeletons at the Feast to my TBR. I also enjoyed Tell the Wolves I’m Home. A Little Life wasn’t a great read for me but I can understand why so many people loved it. This is a great list!
Thanks, Ann Marie. Did You Ever Have a Family is another sad one, but so well told.
I have almost all of these on my TBR, but I’ve not read any of them. It’s interesting to see what people have reread or would like to reread. My usual rereads are either mystery series that I love or gentle books that make me feel good when I’m down.
I reread so little, but the ones I’m drawn to are definitely the more serious books. I must be nuts!
Aj @ Read All The Things! says
I read Station Eleven and really liked it. The Stephen King book is on my TBR list, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon.
A Little Life is one of my favorites, too, but I’m not sure if I can handle reading it again! I would love to read Station Eleven again. I remember really liking The Interestings and Tell the Wolves I’m Home, but I don’t remember a lot about them.
I’m too much of a chicken to read most Stephen King, but I would like to read 11/22/63.
11/22/63 isn’t scary like some of King’s other books. It’s much more of an adventure, with some odd twists thrown in.
Lisa @ Captivated Reader says
I haven’t read any of the books in your TTT post this week. Lots of books for me to explore. Happy reading!!
Here’s a link to my TTT post this week:
I read 11/22/63 when it first came out. I really liked it. I wasn’t sure if a book could hold my attention for over 800 pages, but it didn’t even up feeling like it was that long because I was racing through it to see how it ended.
That’s exactly how I felt when reading 11/22/63. My sister (who doesn’t read much) is the one who convinced me to read it.
I agree I rarely reread books (too many others to read) but I wouldn’t mind revisiting sometime Station Eleven and perhaps The Power too. A lot going on in those.
Such a great list and we have so many in common! I love that Skeletons at the Feast is one of your favorite Bohjalian’s because it’s mine too and plenty of people have never read it. I would definitely read it again.
I loved A Little Life but don’t think I could read it again. As beautiful as the writing was It was too much for me.
And Tell the Wolves? So tender, such gorgeous writing. I do need to read it again because I started a review but never finished it!