I love to read. I pick up new books all the time, at the library, borrowed from friends via Nook and in person, and I read every one of them. I have many bookcases filled to the brim with fiction, non-fiction, poetry, cheesy romance novels, reference books on gardening, parenting, pregnancy, homesteading, knitting… and that’s not even getting into the shelves stuffed full of children’s books!
There are certain books that I read over and over, never tiring of their story and characters. These books have banged-up covers and dog-eared pages. Some of these books have been with me since I was a teenager, and I refuse to replace them with shiny new versions, because these are the ones I fell in love with. I won’t list them all at one time, so here are just ten books that I read over and over. I highly recommend every one.
Alas, Babylon: If you haven’t read this book, you really should. I’ve read this book dozens of times and never get tired of reading this inspiring post-Apocalyptic tale of the survival of the human spirit.
Alive: An amazing and inspirational true story about tragedy and the depth of human endurance. This story stays with me long after I finish reading it, every time.
Amazonia: This book would make a fantastic movie! It’s a page-turner that you can’t put down (even when you’ve read it 476 times and already know what’s going to happen). James Rollins does an epic job of delivering beautiful, descriptive scenery and strong characters in a story filled with suspense and action and intrigue.
Great Expectations: A true classic, and for good reason. This was required reading in high school, and I fell in love with young Pip, the beautiful but cold Estella and Mrs. Havisham in her eternal wedding dress. My mother gave me a hardbound copy for my 15th birthday, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions. If you haven’t read it yet, you really ought to.
Water for Elephants: My sister read this book first and recommended it to my mother, who recommended it to me. I figured I’d read one chapter and see how it went. I finished the book in two days, and it only took me that long because I have children who require my attention from time to time. Water for Elephants is set during Prohibition, and is full of fascinating details about traveling circuses. Such a beautifully told story – eloquent, engaging, and realistic. (Also, the novel was originally written as part of NaNoWriMo!)
The Help: I read this for the first time, cover to cover, on our drive from South Carolina to Texas. The complex nature of black/white relationships in the South is not an easy one to cover well, and Kathryn Stockett does a very good job of showing both sides of this coin: abuse and mistrust coupled with attachment and love.
Gone with the Wind: I did a book report on Gone with the Wind when I was in the 7th grade. I have read this book dozens of times in the 20 years since then, and every time I feel an entire range of emotions, good, bad and ugly, which is exactly why I read it over and over. It is a masterpiece and I will never tire of having my heart wrenched by Margaret Mitchell’s war-torn South.
Summer Sisters: I love this story so much! The relationship between Caitlin and Vix reminds me of my best friend Lee and I. Our friendship is so similar, and I can identify with so many of the growing pains and experiences that these two characters share. This book makes me feel nostalgic, a little sad, and a lot grateful for having such a wonderful friendship in my life.
Timeline: It is so easy to get lost in this book. It is a fascinating read, and always makes me drift into fantasies about the possibilities of time travel, the good and the bad that could come from such a thing. I love most anything by Michael Crichton, and this book is one of his best. I love the movie, but I love the book so much more!
Smashed – Story of A Drunken Girlhood: I was this girl, the writer, in many ways, flushing my life down the alcoholic tubes. As I got better and stopped drinking, I found this book and I really related to it. I am recovered from that time in my life, but I still read this book every year or so, to remember where I was, and the person I don’t want to be anymore.