20

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You’d Like to Re-Read

I don’t normally participate in Top Ten Tuesdays as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. But I’ve been thinking about re-reading recently and when the topic this week was Top Ten Books You’d Like to Re-read…kismet right?

Also, who doesn’t love a good bookish list?

Let’s get to it. The books I’d like to re-read, even though I don’t re-read books that aren’t Austen or Bronte in nature.

  1. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Not just the one book, I’d like to re-read all of them. It’s been too long since Anne Shirley has been a part of my life. There also seems to be a lot of new versions released recently so it’s as good a chance as any to replace the books that I seem to have lost along the way.
  2. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. As the mini-series gets closer to release, I find that more people are reading it and talking about it. When I read it, most people still didn’t want to read it because they didn’t want to be disappointed when her non-Harry Potter work didn’t live up to their expectations. But now people are finally coming around and I want to refresh my discussion points.
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen. I feel like this is the next Austen Re-Read I need to embark on.
  4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The first time I read this I was distracted a lot of the time by the size of the book. I think a re-read would allow me to connect with the book on a different level. And any time you can spend with Jean Valjean, the best-intentioned character there ever was, is time well spent.
  5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. This book was incredible on every level. I distinctly remember finishing it late at night in bed, in tears. It took me a few days to shake the ending of that and I still think of it now. I want to go back and experience that again.
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. One of the most magical books I ever read. I want to jump back in to the magic.
  7. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I’d need to buy a new copy to do it but this book had a big impact on me, understanding why I had been so professionally unfulfilled to that point.
  8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. One of those profound tales of a family at a certain point in history. One of the best.
  9. The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell. The complete story of the lives of six sisters who lived BIG lives deftly handled by the incredibly talented Lovell. I took this out from the library and have regretted not owning a copy ever since. Same goes for Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III by Flora Fraser actually.
  10. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Scarlett O’Hara. I read it when I was 16 the first time. I think the time has come to revisit.

There we have it: ten candidates for a re-read. Like my TBR list isn’t long enough already!

20

The Great Harry Potter Re-Read

I’ve always been a reader. My mom used to read to me every night (thanks Mom!) and once I was able to read for myself, I just started doing that all the time. I loved Anne of Green Gables, the Little House on the Prairie books, got started on the classics young, devoured the Anastasia Krupnik books (the other Lois Lowry books), and was devoted to Kit Pearson.

princeandthepauper

As my reading pace increased and I got older, I started dreading the day I would have run out of “children’s” books and have to read boring adult books; at the time there weren’t that many books for readers older than 12 but younger than 30.

Enter Harry Potter. I remember seeing the books everywhere at Christmas after the third book was published – I assumed Harry Potter was the author actually. I didn’t read them until I worked in a fairy store (true story – the shop sold fairy and magic merchandise and held children’s birthday parties; I dressed up as a fairy…we’ll just leave it there ok?) and the owner encouraged me to read them and familiarize myself with them in case people asked questions. The shop was insanely quiet all the time (not a massive market for fairy themed merchandise) so I started reading them at work.

And thus my love for JK Rowling was born.

As the books were published, I would re-read the ones that had come before, to refresh my memory on the story thus far and also, there still weren’t that many non-adult reading options. But once the books stopped coming out, there didn’t seem to be the same impetus to embark on a re-read.

But I missed Harry, Ron, Hermione, the Weasleys and Hogwarts. I’ve been thinking about embarking on The Great Harry Potter Re-Read for a while but there always seems to be a reason not to – these books are not quick reads so they will impact my ability to motor through my ever expanding TBR list. I watched the movies recently though and that solidified it for me: I needed to visit my old friends.

I’m currently making my way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which I refer to as the TSN Turning Point – this is the book where everything changes.

Let me just say – these books really hold up over time. They are still hilarious, delightful, full of suspense and captivating plotlines. Having watched the movies I had forgotten how funny the books are – the Weasley twins do not get nearly enough screen time. Even Ron is so hilarious in the books (intentional or not) and it just never quite translated to the screen. I had forgotten how much Snape really does seem to hate Harry – it seems all consuming and kind of unhealthy for a teacher to hate a student that much.

Dolores_Umbridge

I’m excited to get through this one and reach the Order of the Phoenix, which is probably my favourite of the bunch. Professor Umbridge is scary as played by Imelda Staunton but I remember her inspiring terror in the book.

I’ve definitely noticed my reading pace suffer as I attempt to juggle two books at once (Harry Potter before bed and at home, other books on my commute) but I kind of think it’s worth it.

It feels good to be back at Hogwarts.

2

Jane Austen Re-Read

The other day I was all set to read Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie when I got the overwhelming urge to re-visit the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility.

Turns out, today is the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. Which is sad, because she died young but cool because of the coincidence. Reading Sense and Sensibility on the anniversary of her death? It’s like she’s sending me a message that she approves.

Which of course she would because Sense and Sensibility is funny and great and timeless.

I saw this on twitter about Jane Austen and roses (which is how I realized it was the anniversary of Austen’s death – thanks Twitter!), click here if you’re into it. It will make you want to visit Jane Austen’s house if you don’t already.

Now let’s get back to Sense and Sensibility and how great it is.

I’ve read this book a few times – there’s something special about re-reading books that you love. It’s less about the story (you know how it will end) and more about the people that tell the story. I am loving visiting with Elinor and Marianne right now. It’s a different experience from the last time I read it – no idea when that was but I don’t remember laughing at it so much!

There is this whole passage where Austen basically rags on women who indulge their children to a point of obsession and come on, we all know those women. There’s a whole blog about those women (STFU Parents). And the girl-on-girl hate that Lucy Steele exhibits – why have I never noticed that before? I mean I knew she was being cruel on purpose with the whole “Edward Ferrars and I have been secretly engaged for 4 years but please don’t tell anyone” thing but this time it seems so much harsher.

Can I say ‘harsher’ when talking about a Jane Austen work? She’d probably hate it.

You know what else I noticed? Good guys totally finish first in Austen books. Edward Ferrars? Colonel Brandon? Nice guys. Same can be said for Mr. Bingley or Mr. Knightley. Mr. Darcy is essentially a good guy, he’s just misunderstood for most of the book. You know who doesn’t finish first? The bad boys. Mr. Wickham ends up married to Lydia and totally pissed about it. Willoughby gets the fortune but his reputation is destroyed. Mr. Elton in Emma? Please. With that wife? You know he’s miserable.

I know that we read Austen like it’s our job and hold her heroes up as the ideal of manhood and yet? We still labour under the misapprehension (stole that from Austen) that nice guys finish last.

They so don’t!

Anyway, I love re-reading old favourites. Jane Austen books will always be my go-to when I want to read something I love. Her books are well worn on my shelves.

Oh and if you love Jane Austen but you’re looking for a new take, have you ever read these?

Book love.

What books do you like to re-read?