10 Books Worth Reading Again (or for the First Time) | MindJoggle.com

10 Books Worth Reading Again (Or for the First Time)

It takes a special book to prompt a reread these days.

When I was a kid, I read the books I owned over and over and over again. If I owned it, you could almost guarantee that I’d read it at least four times. I loved new books and library books, but if I didn’t have one handy–no problem, I’d just read something I had again.

My family thought this was a little weird (I mean, how many times could I reread the same Babysitter’s Club books?), but they also thought I was weird because I could read while the TV was on in front of me.

I don’t do that much anymore (though I sometimes can read even with kids running wild around me, so I guess it’s kind of the same?), and I also don’t reread books very often.

There are just so.many.books that I want to read, and they are so easy to get. A few taps and I have the next one downloaded!

But there’s a reason I keep physical books on a bookshelf. They aren’t just there for looks (though walking by them does make me happy, so there’s that). The ones I keep are books that I think I might read again someday.

The list below includes many books that I count as my very favorites but my foggy mom brain has forgotten a lot of the details of the stories.

 

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Most of the books below are on my shelf but won’t count in my read my shelf challenge–because I’ve already read them!

I may not read all of these again this year, but these are the ten at the top of my reread list.

I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday.

Series: Books Worth Reading Again
All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

It’s been a number of years since I read this book (and the other three that come after it), but what I remember most about this memoir is how much fun I had reading it. I recall telling another bookish friend at the time, “These books are just making me happy right now!” There is no large, dramatic story here, but James Herriot’s telling of his life as a country veterinarian in Yorkshire is warm, funny, and touching. Herriot spares himself no embarrassment but proves himself keenly observant and sensitive as he interacts with the characters—human and animal, by turns eccentric, sad, and inspiring—who pepper his stories. This was true comfort reading for me, and one I looked forward to sinking into the couch with. I will re-read at some point, ideally during a snowstorm with a hot cup of tea. More info →
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Bel Canto

Bel Canto

At a party in the vice-presidential mansion of an unnamed South American country, a band of young terrorists enters and takes hostages. The hostages include a world-renowned soprano, a Japanese business titan, and diplomats from various countries. The days and months stretch on and lines blur, relationships form, and tensions rise and fall and rise again. This is one of my favorite books and was my first introduction to Ann Patchett--now one of my favorite authors. I recently reread it and had a great experience; read about it in Why You Should Reread Your Favorite Books and How to Make It Worth Your While. More info →
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The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of the books that brought me back to avid readership after grad school burnout. I have always been a dog lover, so of course I couldn't resist a book narrated by Enzo, a philosophical dog who bemoans his lack of thumbs and likes to ride in race cars. Enzo will alternately charm you and break your heart, as he reflects on his life while anticipating his death. Dog books are predictable in their sadness, but those of us who love them also love dogs. It's hard to resist an imagining of their rich inner lives, and Enzo is particularly irresistible. It should go without saying that you'll need your tissues, but it's worth it. More info →
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The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

This is a book that initially didn't grab my interest with the title, cover, or description. For some reason, I picked it up anyway, and it stands out as a favorite. Victoria has aged out of the foster care system and finds herself working in a flower shop. She discovers that she has the unique talent of matching people with the perfect flowers. While I remember loving this book, it's been a number of years since I read it and I don't remember many details of the story! I hope to reread it soon and see if I love it as much on a second read. More info →
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Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key

In 1942 Paris, Jewish people are rounded up and sent away--often to their deaths. Sarah, 10 years old, hides her little brother in a cupboard, locking the door and promising to return. What follows is the story of her desperate journey back to him, alternating with the story of a journalist 60 years later who is investigating the round up. This is another book that stuck with me but that I've lost the details of. There are many great World War II books, and I've read a few in recent years. I'd like to reread to see if this one holds up. More info →
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The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

I first read this book as a young teenager and it blew my mind. In addition to this being my first dystopian read, it was one of my first exposures to a book that was subversive, political, and feminist. This is the story of Offred, a woman who not so long ago was a wife, mother, and independent woman. Now she is a handmaiden, separated from her family and pressed into service for her fertility. Each month, she must submit to the Commander in hopes of becoming pregnant. This is a frightening tale of a society where women are fully oppressed and valued for little else than their ability to procreate--scarily prescient in today's political climate. This book remains a favorite, but it's been years since I read it and I'm looking forward to reading it again. More info →
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Outlander

Outlander

In 1945, English combat nurse Claire Randall walks through a circle of standing stones in Scotland and finds herself in 1743. Separated from her new husband by 200 years and at the mercy of a suspicious clan embroiled in conflict, Claire must use her cunning to survive and make her way back to the 20th century. Young Highlander Jamie Fraser emerges as a potential ally and protector in an alien time and land. As she and Jamie grow closer, Claire faces decisions about her life--including when and where she wants to live, and who she wants to be with.

This entire series was completely immersive for me--dramatic, a little sexy, and unputdownable. I raced through all of the (huge!) books. Once I know the release date of the next one, I might take on reading the whole thing again. It's kind of a guilty pleasure, but it's also great storytelling and filled with history. Did anyone outside of Scotland know much about Culloden before Outlander? I didn't, and Outlander offers glimpses of life in Scotland, Paris, the Caribbean, and early America. It's a fun ride, and I can't wait to get back on. More info →

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The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth

I can't say that a story about building a cathedral in Middle Ages England sounded like a riveting premise--but I was wrong. This massive tome is filled with drama and intrigue, evil characters, romance, political maneuvering, and fascinating history. It's a bit of a historical soap opera, on par with Outlander, in the best possible way. Highly readable, hard to put down, and also a bit of a guilty pleasure. The third book in Follett's Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire, was released in 2017, and it's sitting on my shelf alongside the first two. They reference one another a bit, but each is set several centuries after the last, so reading them all isn't completely necessary. Nonetheless, those immersive reading experiences don't come along often, and I may do a reread of The Pillars of the Earth and the second book, World Without End, before diving into A Column of Fire--just for an extended soapy reading experience. More info →
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Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

Two twins in Ethiopia are born to an Indian nun and a British surgeon, but they are orphaned after their mother's death and their father's disappearance. Love of the same woman pulls the twins apart, but their bond them back together to reckon with the past. This is an epic story, set across decades and countries, about families, forgiveness, and the nature of healing. I know I loved this book, but I remember very little about it. I'm looking forward to reading it again like it's the first time. More info →
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A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

While I loved Hosseini's The Kite Runner, this one sticks with me even more. The tale of two women brought together under oppressive circumstances in Afghanistan. As dangers grow both in and out of their home, their bond and resourcefulness are the things that see them through. I am both fascinated and horrified by the circumstances of many women in Afghanistan. This story brings readers into one home to see how two women manage to make a life under such oppression--and the sacrifices they must make for those they love. More info →
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What books are you planning to read again?

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23 thoughts on “10 Books Worth Reading Again (Or for the First Time)

    • Definitely! I have Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s next one on my shelf as well–We Never Asked for Wings. I haven’t heard as much about it, but I’m hoping it’s good.

  1. Good point. I had a lot fewer books available to me when I was a kid than I do now, so I definitely re-read more back then. Now I hardly ever do. Just like you, I have too many books I want to read for the first time to waste time re-reading. Except for a few old favorites, of course 🙂

    Happy TTT!

    • I think kids often find rereading comforting as well, so that my have been part of it. I’ll be interested to see if my kids reread like I did, even though they have more ways to get books.

  2. Lots of titles I haven’t read, so I was excited to add some of these to my TBR list! I’m the same way with many of the books I want to re-read lately—I read many of them ages ago and rated them 5 stars, but I’m curious to read them again to see if they still hold up to the rating. Since I basically stopped re-reading books about 6 or 7 years ago, I’ve challenged myself this year to start re-reading some again, just because I know there is a lot of good that comes out of re-reading (and that you always get something different out of a re-read than you did the first time).

    • I’m so glad you found a few for your TBR! I’ll be satisfied if I reread just a couple this year, since I haven’t done any in so long.

    • Thanks! I’m hoping to reread at least a couple this year. It’s been a while since I have!

    • My parents had them on the shelf at home too! I never picked them up as a kid, though–I wish I had. I loved reading them so much. I think I need to pick them up more often and just read a chapter here and there for something light and fun. I think there are kids stories from Herriot as well–I kind of want to get some for my kids.

  3. I never got the chance to own books as a kid – all of my books were from the library due to financial reasons. Of course, now as you mentioned with books being one click away, I can definitely say I own a few books of my own.

    I probably wouldn’t reread them if I ever got around to reading them, though.

    • Rereading is definitely rare for me, but I always hold onto the hope that I’ll get back to the really good ones!

  4. The Language of Flowers has stayed with me for SO LONG; I noticed that you are planning to read her latest, so I hope you’ll share your thoughts. I completely agree with you on Bel Canto, as well; it’s the novel that made Ann Patchett a must-read author, for me.

    • I will definitely review the next one by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I really haven’t heard much about it so I’m going in blind.

      I think I want to read both Bel Canto and Run again this year. Run isn’t talked about as much when people discuss Patchett, but it’s another one that I remember really liking.

  5. Thanks for reminding me how much I loved some of these books! Especially The Language of Flowers- I could see reading that again. I read her newest novel and it was quite good, but not as much as Language.

    I have absolutely no idea why, but I have never read Bel Canto and I know so many people who love it. I’m moving it to the top of my backlist reading list.

    • Ooh, definitely read Bel Canto! I’d love to hear what you think. I’m glad to hear you liked Diffenbaugh’s latest. Actually, I’m traveling soon and both of those sound like they might be good ones to take along 🙂

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