Do you like to re-read the books you love? I do, and I’m going to give you some suggestions about five re-readworthy books. For those of you who do not re-read, and move on to fresher pastures, this may seem mystifying. Why would you re-read a book when there are so many others to discover? I’ve often wondered about that. Here’s what I think works in favour of re-reading:
- Familiarity, in this case, breeds more intense love. It’s not like the old proverb we’ve been taught in school – you know the one I’m talking about! It’s because you love the work so much that you are paying your homage to it by reading it again. And again.
- Some parts of the book really resonate with you. Maybe the language, the setting, or the dialogue – you are on the same page as the author. Reading the book just once does not seem enough.
- Alternatively, there are some parts of the book that you need to re-visit because your understanding is not complete. You need more time to fully digest the morsel. And that’s fine.
Whatever your reason may be, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally ok to re-read some books, even if they are not philosophy primers. It’s like meeting your old friends again and again. And each time, you find something new to talk about. As children, we did re-read some of our old favourites. Why not as adults?
So, here are the five books that I re-read. The reasons are different for each one, but the point is that they grow more and more like old friends. I’ve picked out five. They are from two different genres – literary fiction, and popular fiction. It doesn’t matter because they are well-written, with solid stories, set in different parts of the world. This, I love.
- The Lost Years – Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve been a fan for a while now. She’s been called “America’s long-reigning queen of suspense”, which is not surprising. In this particular book, she combines my twin loves of mystery and history! What’s not to like?
- Half of a yellow sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. One of my all-time favourite books. Read a review here. She’s written many others, but there is something about this one which succeeds in evoking empathy. The book is set in 1960s Nigeria and the feisty protagonist Olanna battles a (civil) war, and a more internal one with family.
- What she knew – Gilly Macmillan. I love nail-biters (books, I mean). This one fulfills that suspenseful itch nicely. When a mother loses her child, the world blames her. How does Rachel Jenner cope with the nightmare that follows when Ben vanishes? It’s frightening, specially if you have children. The raw desperation that emanates from Rachel gets me every time.
- Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood. A truly compelling work, this one’s been made into a series. I believe it’s on Netflix. It’s based on the true story of Grace Marks, a notorious 19th century woman convicted of the murder of her employer and his housekeeper/mistress. What Atwood has done with the story is nothing short of brilliant. A study in psychology, gender, sexuality and crime, this book keeps me returning regularly.
- The woman in the window – A J Finn. This thriller is on its way to Hollywood. It’s Finn’s first book and became a runaway success. I love it for the unique almost movie-script-style fast paced action. Anna Fox’s story and the demons that haunt her troubled mind makes for a gripping re-read. Here’s a review for the book.
Let me know which books you like to re-read.