Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

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Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share “Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time” this week. At first glance the topic may sound weird but there is a difference between re-reading an old favorite and reading a new favorite for the very first time. There’s so much excitement as you realize how much you love this book and/or these characters, the suspense of not knowing where the plot is going or how everything is going to wrap up. Is the author going to break your heart or give you the ending you so desperately want? Re-reading and knowing the answers to these questions can be comforting but doesn’t quite match up to the magic of that first sense of discovery. This is a list of my favorite books of all time, but there are specific reasons that I wish I could read some of them for the first time.

Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak–Ask me what my favorite book is and I will tell you it’s The Book Thief, no hesitation. The order of my favorites gets murky from here, depending on my mood, but this one has held strong at number one for thirteen years, ever since I first read it. But when I think of actually reading it for the first time, I always think of two maintenance men who worked at the hospital with me. I was allowed to read if I was caught up on my work so I was lost in these pages. I had called maintenance earlier in my shift to report that the heat was out in my office. Maintenance showed up as I was really lost in WWII Germany with Liesl, Rudy, Max, and Papa. I was so irritated while they were trying to ask me questions about what was going on with the heat! Why wouldn’t they just leave so I could get back to my book? I do re-read books but I’m afraid to re-read this one because what if it isn’t as perfect as I remember?

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery–The first time I tried to read Anne, I was just a bit too young for a classic and thought it was boring. Anne, boring! What was I thinking? Luckily I tried again (probably when I saw the movie with Megan Follows) and fell in love. It would be nice to know that I loved it from the beginning though.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess–My library only had the novelized version of the illustrated book. I had no idea there was an illustrated version. I still loved it so no harm done. But when I realized that it was originally published with illustrations by Charles Vess (!!!), whose artwork I love, I had to go buy a copy for myself and read it again. It was every bit as magical as I expected. I wish I’d read that version first.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis–I’ve loved Narnia for so long, I don’t even remember the first time I read it. Maybe in third grade with my class? Was it an assignment or did our teacher’s assistant read it to us, as she did so many books after lunch? I just don’t remember. And my third grade teacher and her assistant were unreasonably strict so that wasn’t my favorite grade. I wish I had a clear memory of reading it and truly experiencing it.

Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint–I was already a huge Charles de Lint fangirl by the time Someplace to be Flying was published but this one sealed the deal for life. Meeting the Crow Girls and Raven for the first time (that I recall) and finding out exactly why Jack Daw hates the Cuckoos so much, oh, and I think Margaret and Coyote put in appearances… All of this is pretty secondary to the main story but it enriches everything so much.

Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith–I’m an Appalachian mountain girl, with deep, deep roots in the region. Ivy, the main character, feels like she could be one of my ancestors. I adore this book for capturing the spirit of these mountains and the people so well.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly–Mattie Gokey is living in the Adirondacks, on the more northern end of the Appalachians, but she felt like family too. She loves her family but she wants more from life and I wanted more for her.

Ahab’s Wife; or, The Star-gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund–I honestly feel grateful to my 11th-grade English teacher for letting our class get away with watching a movie version of Moby-Dick rather than making us read the chunkster. But I love Una and her unconventional life enough to wish that maybe we had read the classic that inspired her creation. But then again, maybe not.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee–Luckily, I never had to read TKAM at all for class. I can be contrary by nature so I really, really disliked almost every book I had to read for class, frustrating all my English teachers to no end! I loved this from the first time I read it.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger–I remember checking this out from the library and then going with my parents to visit my sister at college for her birthday. I had been working night shift for only a couple of weeks at the time and hadn’t fully adjusted to it. All I really remember from that visit is sleeping a ridiculous number of hours and waking up just long enough to read this book. It would have been nice to be a bit more alert for the experience.

That’s my list! Have you read any of these? Which books did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

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  1. I remember stretching out on our couch late one evening, finishing the final chapters of The Book Thief. I was sobbing and my husband, who is an avid reader, said there was no way he was going to read the book if it made me so sad. I couldn’t make him understand that the writing was so moving and powerful and that he really should read it. He never did. I loved Anne of Green Gables even more the second time I read it (a year or so ago). Peace Like a River is a favorite, but I’m probably the first to say that I wasn’t too impressed with To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe I should read it again. I think I read a Northern Light, but I don’t remember anything about it. Fun post!

  2. Green Gables. Isn’t that so true! That tale about puffed sleeves and bosom friends (and ahem, beaus like Gilbert Blythe too) is once and for all. And Charles de Lint and Mockingbird too. Your commentary on Ahab’s wife made me smile, and your commentary on Northern Light makes me want to read that next. Great selection.

  3. I would put any of my 5 star books on a list like this, but especially the Harry Potter and Barbara Kingsolver books.

  4. Great list! I don’t remember my first experience with Narnia, either… I know I read the books for myself (instead of having them read to me) but I was young enough that I don’t remember reading them for the first time. And I kinda wish I could read Stardust for the first time again also… but for me, I’d need to read it BEFORE watching the movie, because the movie set REALLY high expectations for that book! I ended up really disliking the book because I loved the movie so much; maybe if I’d read the book first, it would have had a better chance of me enjoying it.

      1. I think it’s because the book and the movie set very different tones. It seems like it would be easier to go from the darker/more serious book to the lighter/sillier movie than the other way around. I know that is a huge part of the problem I had with the book, at least.

  5. I love that first feel of discovery! Thinking back to those feelings you had when first reading an old favorite. This topic was neat. Narnia I kinda wish now that I had use- those books have such a sense of wonder- and Charles vess is the best!

  6. The Chronicles of Narnia also made it to my shortlist, but I didn’t use it for my final list. I’ve already read it more than once and will probably still read a few more times!

    Never read Moby Dick, never wanted to. There is a children’s edition in the library that I might take a look at though. But now I am very interested in Ahab’s Wife! Going to take a look now.

    Elza Reads

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