I have always been baffled by people who never reread books. I have spent my entire life returning to novels that speak to me and finding new things to ponder and new things to love in them each time. Personally, I think the very best books must stand up to multiple readings, must still be engaging and have something to say no matter how many times I pick them up.
Here are some of the books I’ve read not just once or twice but multiple times because I can’t stop myself from returning to them.:
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors, ranked beside J.R.R. Tolkien. Though most of her books are classified as children’s stories, I find all of them incredibly rereadable, insightful and moving in ways few other novels are. Montgomery had a clear zest for life and also a keen eye for social observation, and reading her works always makes me want to experience life more deeply and beautifully.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Yes, I actually wrote about how the Chronicles of Narnia were a bit disappointing to me when I reread them as an adult vs. a child, but I reread all of these books (besides The Last Battle) so many times as a kid that I had to include them on this list. I likely would have said The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader were some of my favorite books from about third grade to sixth grade, and something about the series did speak to me enough that I picked them up as adult- and I think I’ll read them sometime again in the future just to see what my feelings are then.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
If you read this blog at all, you know The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book and Tolkien is one of my favorite authors, so I can probably skip a lengthy commentary here. People have written entire books on “why readers love The Lord of the Rings,” after all, so expressing why I love Tolkien’s work succinctly might not even be possible. I will say I cried the first time I finished reading it because it just seemed so beautiful. Also, Tolkien inspired my love of medieval literature, which I studied in graduate school.
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
I like every book by Potok I’ve read, which is most of his work, but My Name Is Asher Lev offers a particularly thoughtful and moving look at art, sacrifice, and being true to yourself vs. staying connected with your roots and your community.
The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Again, I’m a fan of most of Pierce’s work and have reread several of her series, but I particularly find myself returning to The Song of the Lioness quartet and The Protector of the Small quartet. Though these books are now decades old and “what a YA book looks like” has changed somewhat significantly since their publication, Pierce’s work is always engaging to me and always seems to offer modern commentary on feminism and believing in yourself.