Read it Again, Ma’am

I read all the time. If I could no longer read for some reason I’m sure I’d wither away and die. Oh sure, I could listen to books on tape, and I suppose I could make do, but there’s something magical about the way a reader interacts with a book that a recording can’t replicate.

My taste these days runs to science fiction/fantasy, but I’m always looking for some new delicacy regardless of genre. And then there are my favorites. These are books I’ve read more than once, and for someone like me who’s always looking for the next literary thrill this repeat reading is the highest compliment I can pay a book.

So what select books are among my repeats?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is number one. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve delved into the world of Scout Finch, and I read it at least once a year in the fall.

2) Stephen King’s, The Stand, is a close second. The epic tale of good versus evil still gives me chills, and I become suspicious of any sniffle or cough, certain that Captain Trips is about to wipe out most of humanity.

3) A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, comes in third, and I can’t really say why. There’s something about this coming of age story that draws me in. My heart aches for these boys on the brink of manhood and all of the pitfalls awaiting them. If I pick up my well worn copy when I’m dusting or otherwise moving stuff around I can’t help but begin reading it again.

4) I’ve read all but one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series multiple times, having read the series from the beginning every time a new book in the series was released. So I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seven times, while I’ve only read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows once.

I’ve recently added a new book to those deemed worthy of a rereading. This book, The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig, is the first book that comes to mind when a friend asks for a recommendation. So when I didn’t have a new book in the queue, I thought it might be time to remember why I recommend it so often.

The Whistling Season is set in Montana in 1909. A widower with three sons takes on a housekeeper whose ad, “Can’t cook, but doesn’t bite” intrigues him. The widower and his sons get much more than they bargained for when Rose and her brother, Morrie come into their lives.

This book is an homage to education and the one room school house, and to a time when life was a bit slower, but no less complicated than it is today. The language is incredible and the story so compelling I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reread it.

Those are mine. What books have you read repeatedly? I’m always looking for my next favorite. Looking forward to suggestions.

Peace, people!

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

24 thoughts on “Read it Again, Ma’am”

  1. Funny, I just reread “reading Lolita in Tehran” but not because I necessarily wanted to. My kid is reading it for school and it was in the house. I feel that will be a common theme this year, as my daughter will actually be reading some of my favorite books, like gatsby and scarlet letter. My go to’s are A tree grows in Brooklyn and pride and prejudice.

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      1. Well, it takes place in Brooklyn….no really, it’s the story of a young girl in early 1900s. Her family is poor, her father is an alcoholic. She loves to read and wants to be educated, which is a rarity in those times. Her And her mother were the first strong female characters I had ever read about (I think I was 9 or 10 the first time I read it). I identified with the girls live of reading and feeling like an outsider, even though our circumstances were different. I admired her resilience in the face of crappy odds. I believe it is somewhat autobiographical.

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      2. I’ve read A tree grows. We do all have our favs don’t we. Sometimes I reread a book and think… why did I love this? I think we just get older, life changes us etc but I do have some diehards I just adore .

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  2. I tend to reread particular sections of books more than I ever do the whole thing … ‘We Can Build You’ by PK Dick, is an example: I esp. like the way PHD captured the soul of Abraham Lincoln. Yet, the book ends on sort of an off note. ‘Huckleberry Finn’, is another. As much as it is dear to my heart, the story sort of stalls after Sawyer’s return. Certainly, I would agree that ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is one that once I begin, I cannot stop until the final word of the final page. ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ is another must read from beginning to the end …

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      1. If Lincoln appears in a book (non-fiction, or, something like, We Can Build You) I will usually go back to re-read all the parts he appears in. Charlie Chaplin, too. I’m sure that’s why We Can Build You is my favorite PK Dick book, though I’m certain many would disagree.

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      2. I grew up reading every biography I could get my hands on. Our little county library had a series that I remember well and I devoured them greedily. Of course they barely grazed the surface of the real men and women behind the name. Their attributes were highlighted and their failings minimized, but I didn’t know that back then. I really should dig in and read some more that come closer to the actual person. Thanks for the recommendations!

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      1. One of my college professors had written her dissertation on Huck Finn. She was furious that we’d already all read it as assigned reading in 8th grade. “It’s not for children!” She’d say as she stomped about the room. I loved her.

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  3. As I’m prone to limp my way through the literary, no Infinite Jest that, I’m content to second time the genre champs like Chandler, and Westlake, John D. and John le Carré. Can’t wait for the latter’s latest as it drops next week. And I’m currently revisiting those Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sp(ies).

    “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
    –Gravity’s Rainbow

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