Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ten Books I Really Want to Re-Read

Inspired by Kristin's list on We Be Reading, I started thinking about rereads.  I think the only downside to reading book blogs is that I learn about so many wonderful books that my TBR list is getting enormous.  I spend so much time reading and think about these new books, I never seem to make time to re-read my old favorites, unless it's for a book group.

I'm actually about to start re-reading Love in the Time of Cholera for a book discussion group next week -- sometimes I don't reread books for discussions, but it's been so long since I read it I've forgotten most of it.  It's been almost 20 years since I read this book, so does it really count as a reread?  (I'm also leading the discussion, so I definitely want it to be fresh in my mind before the meeting).

Here are the top ten books I want to re-read, when I have time.   (Ha!)

1.  Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I have to get this one done by May 4th!

2.  Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.  I fell in love with Maugham's work all over again when I read The Painted Veil for my classics book group.  Of Human Bondage was one of the first classics I ever read for pleasure -- it was foisted on me by a guy who lived down the hall in my dorm freshman year.  He insisted I take it home and read it over the Christmas break, and since I had an enormous crush on him, I obeyed.  I ended up loving the book, though things never did work out with the guy.

3.  Watership Down by Richard Adams.  I loved this when I was a teenager, but I haven't read it since.  I'd love to know if it has stood the test of time.

4.  Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  Another favorite from middle school and high school, I first read it in sixth grade.  I used to read it over and over but it's been years since the last read.

5.  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.  I've seen the movies multiple times but I've only actually read the book once.  I need to reread it before I go to the JASNA annual meeting in October.

6.  Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  I've been taking Spanish classes for the past year so I want to read more Latino literature, and it would be fun to reread this (definitely in English, my Spanish still isn't that good!).  I remember loving it and the movie adaptation was excellent.

7.  Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh.  I thought this was hilarious, so I recommended it to Amanda at The Zen Leaf for our reading swap.  I want to reread it and see if it's as funny as I remember.

8.  West with the Night by Beryl Markham.  Another book I chose for my book swap with Amanda.  I remember loving it so much I read it really slowly because I didn't want it to end.  She didn't like it as much as I did so I want to reread it and see if it's just as good the second time around.

9.  Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.  I recently reread Jane Eyre for the first time in years, now I want to reread this one too.  It's one of the only prequels/sequels to classic lit I really like.

10. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  After my initial reading of Love in the Time, I was inspired to read more Garcia Marquez. It's one the three novellas in his Collected Novellas which has been sitting on the TBR shelf since my husband gave it to me before we were married, so I've probably had this unread more than twenty years!  I really should just sit down and finish the whole thing, shouldn't I?

So do you find you push your rereads aside in favor of new books because of blogging?  Or do you just hear about so many new books that you don't have time for the old favorites?  What would you reread if you had the chance?


  1. I love rereads and tend to go through periods where all I want to do is reread. Book Blogging used to make me curb those desires, but now I've gotten to where if I want to reread, I'll just do so!

    Blogging also seems to have an interesting curve to the TBR debate. When you first start, you don't add too much, but as you go on, you add more and more, and after a few years, when your TBR is crashing down on top of you, you sort of shut down and stop reading as much and become uninterested in finding new books. I didn't think it would happen to me, but it did, right on schedule. I've seen so many bloggers go through this exact same pattern that it quite amuses me. I wish I could do a psychological study on it.

  2. Oh this is a great topic! I'm actually going to do this post on my blog too...

    Also Watership Down TOTALLY withstands the test of time! One of my favorites :)

  3. I am sure you could read anything by Marquez over and over, his writing has so much subtlety to it. I just love Chronicle of a Death foretold, and have several others on the pile. Confess I failed with 100 years of solitude, strangely I kept expecting something to happen and got bogged down in the story going round on itself.
    I know what you mean about adding to the TBR pile, sometimes I have to stop myself blog browsing, or only read reviews of stuff I have already read.
    thanks for sharing

  4. I love to re-read my favorite books and do it whenever I'm in a reading rut. However, after reading your post I realize that I haven't been doing it as often as I used to (not because I haven't been in a rut, because I have), because lately there seem to be more new books overwhelming my shelves. Hmmm. I should definitely make time for more re-reads. As for your list - loved it! It actually made me remember to pick up some Waugh and Maugham - thanks! And, yes, re-read Esquivel (love that book!) and the Rhys (love her work!). By the by, that is so cool you are learning Spanish - I've been wanting to brush up on mine, since I'm not as fluent as I used to be. Maybe we should do a shared read of a work by a Latino author - there are some great ones out there - in fact I just got my copy of Lorraine Lopez' latest book. Anyhow, great post!

  5. I have the desire to re-read books, but I always feel guilty about it because I feel that my job requires me to read the latest , most talked about books first. Patrons really do expect librarians to have already read the books they themselves just heard about on NPR!

  6. I love rereading. It is soothing to pick up "old friends" and see what you still love above them. I wish I had more time to reread, but I am still revisiting some favorites during this process. I am sure I will reread a bunch of this again sometime down the road.

    Sense and Sensibility is the Austen novel I know the least. I have only read it once and I am not sure how I feel about it. It has been so long since I read it, and some of its "big sisters" overshadow it in my memory.

    Even though I read GWTW last year, I really want to pick it up again. It was just so long and wonderful!

  7. I used to re-read books all the time but since I started blogging I've been adding so many new books to my TBR that I just can't seem to find time for re-reads anymore. One of the few books that I did re-read last year was Watership Down and I was pleased to find that I still loved as much as I did when I was ten years old!

  8. Oddly enough since I started my blog, I have been rereading Children's books.

    Not sure at the moment, if there is any others I want to read again. Perhaps Oliver Twist, forced to read it at school, I would like to have another go without having to read it out in class which I was always picked to do!

  9. Amanda -- that's my feeling exactly!! I am being CRUSHED by the weight of all these unread books.

    Llevinso -- I'm relieved to hear that about Watership. I loved it as a teen and I'd feel so bad if it wasn't as good as I remembered.

    Martine -- I've tried 100 Years of Solitude twice and never really got into it. I'll probably give it one more try before I give up forever.

    Nadia -- my Spanish is pretty sad, but I'll keep working on it. It is the FOURTH language I have attempted to learn (no, I don't speak any others. Yet.)

    Anybolyn -- that's really annoying about the patrons. And of course people assume you sit around reading all day, right? And you've read every single book in the library? Uh huh.

    Allie -- I love GWTW, I find it to be an extremely fast read despite the length. I need to watch the movie again too, it's been years.

    Helen -- I really do think it's the blogging that keeps me from rereading, but I can't decide if it's writing blogs or reading them -- I think that READING so many blogs is what adds to my giant TBR list. And volunteering at the library where I am SURROUNDED by books. I'm constantly writing down new titles and adding them to my TBR list when I get home.

    Jo -- I never read Dickens in high school and only one in college, Great Expectations, which I loved. I didn't pick up Dickens for years after that and ended up loving most of his works. I loved Oliver Twist, but I didn't read it until I was an adult. It's one of my favorite Dickens works.

  10. I really need to reread Gone with the Wind!

  11. Lola -- maybe I should start a group read this summer! Seems like a lot of bloggers would love to read it or reread it.

  12. Love this post. Lately I've been doing more rereading than normal as I've been introducing books from my youth to my dds and reading with them. There have been a few that made me wonder what I saw in them, but for the most part, it has been an enjoyable exercise. I've found that I do get frustrated when I do more rereading because I feel like I should be reading from my TBR shelves. But I have managed to slow down my purchasing this year a little bit, so I'm consoling myself with that. GWTW would probably make my reread list as well. :)

  13. I need to re-read A Tale of Two Cities! I loved the book when I first read it and I think that, 10 years later, I would appreciate it even more. Of course, finding the time and motivation to take it on is difficult...

  14. It's hard enough to find time to read books that are not for review, let alone re-reads. But that's my own fault for putting these obligations on myself. However, I was feeling poorly a few weeks ago and so re-read one of my favorite books to feel better. In that instance - no other book would have done!

    Great topic!

  15. I'm glad I am not the only person to read a book because a guy I liked recommended it! In my case the book was To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. It's a case of I'll keep the author but not the guy! :) I would love to reread Love in the Time of Cholera. Clare Chambers is one of my favorite reread authors--pure comfort reads for me. And I loved The Painted Veil, which I recently read and can't quite get inspired to write about--I know I can't do the book justice. I am going to read Cakes and Ale next and would love to read Of Human Bondage this year, too! I like rereading but I tend to be tempted by new books more often than rereads.

  16. Excellent list--I've been wanting to read West with the Night for years now, of course, owning a copy would help me accomplish that goal! I loved Like Water for Chocolate, and it is definitely rereadable--I do have a weakness for magical realism.

    As you know, I recently reread S&S. Still fresh, funny, and moving.

    Last time I reread GWTW I figured it was my last time, but since I want to read Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood, I imagine I'll get the urge to reread the original.

    I basically have no desire to reread Watership Down. I read it as a teenager and thought it tedious and that is still the impression I hold of it. Will be interesting to see if it still sparks for you.

    I think Wide Sargasso Sea was my first introduction to the prequel idea and I loved the notion of another writer providing an alternative view of a story. It's been >30 years since I read it, so I could use a refresher.

  17. I must read West with the Night. I do like a good biography and African memoirs.

  18. I try to find time to include a few re-reads each year - so far this year I've re-read four books including Lost in a Good Book and The Hobbit, which I'd been meaning to do for a while - I should be able to find time to re-read four or five more books later this year.

    I like Gabriel Garcia Marquez too - and I really must re-read The Autumn of the Patriarch sometime (though doubt that will be this year).

  19. I re-read my favorite books all the time! And each time I feel as if I have gained something different from my reading.

  20. I'm glad to have inspired someone else to make a list! I have a few Garcia Marquez books that I would like to re-read as well. It's been probably 15 years since I last read something by him after a binge of his works. I'm curious how I will like them now.