Repeat Reads

I was babysitting a 15-month old little boy a few days ago, and we went to the local bookstore to hang out for awhile.  The little guy loves books, so I was thrilled to spend some time in the kids’ section with him, checking out children’s lit for awhile (it’s not typically the part of the store to which I gravitate).

We read a couple cardboard Dr. Seuss and Thomas the Tank engine books (the traditional favorites with little boys), and then we found the pop up book section.  He was in book heaven.  He found one with Jungle animals, and the pages with a tower of monkeys and a huge tiger seemed to please him the most (especially when I made sound effects for him).  But the biggest hit was the trip to the airport book, which told the story of a family’s airplane experience, with full, moving pop-ups and sound effects.  His favorite page was the last one, with the airplane taking off and the engines roaring.  He echoed the sound effects on that one.

After we’d finished reading that book, I closed it and put it on the shelf.  But he walked right to the shelf and took it back off and handed it back to me.  So, I read it again.  And put I back on the shelf.  Same routine.  This went on about 10 times. I tried the jungle animal one again, but no, he as obsessed with reading the airplane book.

I thought this was pretty funny.  But  I realized, there are books that I read over and over and over.  So, maybe I don’t read them back to back, but year after year, I get them off the shelf, only to experience them again, even if I know passages word for word.

So, in honor of my 15-month-old friend, I’m listing the books that I love to read over and over again.

#1 The Bible

This one gets the award for most read, on a daily basis as a matter of fact.  Not only is it one of the longest books that I read, it’s also one of the oldest.  I’m sure I’ve read it more times than any other book, too.  I’m always finding new things to learn from it.

#2 Pride and Prejudice

I’ve talked about this one a few times before.  Let me just say that Elizabeth and Darcy never get old.  I tend to reread other Austen books as well, but this one gets first place among her works.

#3 The Pilgrim’s Progress

I love this simple allegory with deep eternal significance.  I still cry after Vanity Fair.

#4 Paradise Lost

Milton’s epic poem means different things to me in different times of my life, as all good poetry should.  Its beauty is unparalleled.  His mastery of the English language is second to none.  Not exactly a “beach read” (even though I’ve tried), but well worth the effort. I admit that I rarely read all the way through (it’s the longest poem in the English language, folks), but I’ll often read a section or two when I get a specific craving.

#5 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Although I always start with this book, I typically end up reading all of them in the series.  I usually read them in order, the order in which were published (not the chronological order).  I’m astounded how a children’s story can mean so much to me as an adult.  That’s the mark of a good writer.

What are your “repeat reads?”

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just about anything by Madeleine L’engle… I re-read her books often. “The Last Battle” by C.S. Lewis (my fave Narnia book), “The Secret Life of Bees”, “Great Gatsby”, “Pride and Prejudice” (!). I’m sure there are more but my head is stuffed up and I’m breaking through a fever so my brain is in a fog!

    AL: L’Engle is a gem. I got to hear her speak once, at my college. I’d love to hear your recommendations for which of her books you suggest most. I’m going to see the Secret Life of Bees this week. I wish you could join me! Love the book, and I hope they do it justice with the movie.

    Get well soon!

  2. I wanna go see Secret Lives with a girl friend. It sucks not having a girl friend here yet.

    L’Engle’s writing gets multiple reads by me, and Little Women too. One day I won’t tear up at that part…

    AL: I’m going to see the Secret Life of Bees with one of my book groups. You need to hurry up and join one of your library’s book groups! Great ladies in there. Okay, I’ve read a Wrinkle in Time, but that’s it. I do have a copy of the next one in that series as well as her autobiography…Walking on Water? What book of hers should I read next, L’Engle fans?

  3. Madeline L’Engle is also a favorite author of mine. I’ve read “A Wrinkle in Time” several times (most recently to my 10-year-old daughter which waas very special). “Wrinkle” is the first in a Trilogy that also includes “A Wind in the Door” and “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”

    AL: Thanks for sharing Josh.

  4. I saw Secret Life of Bees Sunday. While it doesn’t follow the book entirely, I thought they did a pretty good job.

    It is a tear jerker!

    AL: ugh oh, I’d better bring tissue. Thanks for the warning!

  5. L’Engle’s journals are my favorites, like Two Parts Invention, A Circle of Quiet… Also, in a British poll last year, Pride and Prejudice is on the most re-read list, and on the “Books I Can’t Live Without” it’s the first on the list. If you’re interested, I’ve posted the links in my blog last November.
    I’ve enjoyed all the book talk on your blog. Thanks for the forum for booklovers!

    AL: Love that “Books I can’t live without” list. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/mar/01/news . That will be a good resource! I’m so happy to have so many book lovers who read the blog and are willing to contribute to the discussion!

  6. Ah, Madeleine L’Engle…..one of my favorite authors, but for her non fiction more than her fiction. Wonderful, wonderful! Walking on Water is fabulous, or it was to me anyway. My copy is highlighed and there are notes on the end pages too. All about art and faith…very inspiring to us artist types.

    I also especially enjoyed Penguins and Golden Calves.

    AL: Thanks for the recommendations. I know another woman who reads Walking on Water often, yearly, I think. Actually, her name is Sarah, too!

  7. And…regarding my repeat reads:

    Everything by Elizabeth Goudge

    The Bible

    My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

    The Chronicles of Narnia

    My collection of Christmas books.

    AL: Haven’t heard of the Everything book. Will look into that. My Utmost for His Highest is an excellent choice. It’s the devotional that never grows old. You can do a year of it and start over again afresh. I have several well worn copies about my home.

  8. Hi Amy….sorry, I was not clear; I should have said “everything written by E.G.” Though I’m sure she would have done something wonderful with that title if she had written a book called Everything!


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