Like a lot of booky kids, I was a huge rereader when I was growing up. I must have read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban over twenty times. But in recent years, I have reread less and less frequently, I think because there are so many new (or new to me, I should say) books which I’m excited to read that rereading an old one feels like a waste of time. However, there are a few books which I would like to return to.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
I’m pretty sure that I’ve only read this once, in around 2013, although I have seen the film multiple times. I remember loving this the first time around, but I think I read it on a solely surface level, and missed a lot of the undercurrent. I want to reread it with more analytical eyes, and I’m definitely a more considered reader than I was four years ago.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Like everyone else, I loved this as a teenager: there’s something about its melodrama which seems to deeply appeal to fifteen year old minds. That said, I have literally no memory of how it ends, which leads to me to suspect that I didn’t actually finish it.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The main reason I want to return to this particular novel is that I would like to read Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, but feel like I could do with a refresher on the source material first. I think I was about 14 when I first read this, meaning it was almost a decade ago, and I think I mix up plot points between this and Wuthering Heights. (As much as I do want to reread these two Brontë’s, I’m also loathe to pick up these lovely Vintage editions, which have never been read and are therefore in perfect condition, because I just know I’ll wreck them.)
The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
For a long time I’ve claimed this as one of my favourite books, but I recently tried to summarise its plot and realised that I don’t actually remember it very well. I was pretty young when I read this, so I suspect that there are thematic elements which went over my head on the first pass.
Resistance by Owen Sheers
I first read this only two years ago, but I’m already feeling the draw to read it again. This is one of my favourite books of recent years, and one that I do still think about pretty frequently, so I know that I would love it on the second reading: my reason for wanting to reread it is no more complex than that.
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
I read this around the same time as I read Resistance and also adored it. We are now into the self indulgent section of this list, where basically I just want to return to books I love, for no reason other than that they make me happy.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I’ve read this a couple of times before, and seen the BBC mini-series frankly a ridiculous number of times. I’m not the first person to say this, but Elizabeth Gaskell combines the wit and romance of Jane Austen with the social and political awareness of Charles Dickens, and she is brilliant.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
This is the only Austen that I have never reread. Come to think of it, it’s also the only one that I haven’t seen a TV or film adaptation of. I would like to though, as it’s the Austen which is most different to the rest. It was her last finished novel, I believe, and it has a more mature, cynical tone to it, from memory.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I read this before I had ever watched Parks and Recreation, and I just think I would get more out of this having seen the show, which is a pretty significant part of the book.