Margin Notes: Books you reread

In honor of the Back to School season I was catching up on the Bookends column on the NYTs and really liked the column where they dove into which books you read over and over. It made me think.

Which books do I read again and again?


Most books I've read multiple times are those from my childhood--The Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Secret Garden, Bridge to Terabithia, My Side of the Mountain, The Giver. Those books are my jam. Sometimes when I'm at my mom's without a book I'll pull one of these out and dive right in--there's a sense of adventure, usually a coming of age, they feel a little magical. (Maybe that's just because I spent so many nights tented under my covers reading chapter upon chapter.)

As an adult reader, I'm always looking for the next book to entertain me, the next book to make me think or laugh or bring light onto a subject or character that I find interesting. I honestly don't reread books as much as I used to. I think the repetitive nature of reading as a child and young adult helps you understand the world around you. You read over and over to learn those same lessons, but dig a little deeper each time--nature is special, friendship can be a blessing and a curse and hard to navigate, parents aren't infallible, your circumstances can change in an instant so be kind to others and treat others (animals included) as you want to be treated, there's magic, mystery and wonder in the world around us. These are all important lessons. As an adult, I guess I just don't dig as deep. I don't fall in love with characters in the same desperate way I did as a kid. Now that I'm writing that, I'm a little wistful. How cool to fall so hard for a book?


My adult re-reads have tended toward coming of age novels (I'm a sucker for a good one) with epic morals, too. A Prayer for Owen Meaney, The Handmaid's Tale, Love Story, Love in the Time of Cholera. I love a well-constructed plot and endearing real characters. Beautiful language doesn't hurt, either.

I don't often re-read books, there are so many out there that I want to read, it's hard for me to stop looking forward and look back instead. I need to do that more frequently.

My friend Jen just told me she's going to read Prayer for Owen Meany because she never has! I'm so jealous. I want to read it for the first time again.

What books do you come back to over and over? What inspires you to reread something?


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