I’m in Harry Potter mode. (Aren’t we all these days? At least, if you’re reading this, you probably are.) And as we’re looking forward to the movie next week, my daughter and I are both itching to re-read the 7th book
I’m definitely a rereader. A movie re-watcher, as well. Some books don’t generate the amount of interest needed for a second (third? fourth? more?) read, but so many do. There are some texts that benefit from multiple close readings. But some books, like Harry Potter, create worlds that readers simply wish to revisit. The latter are the kinds of books that we’re sad to leave, lingering over the last few chapters because we don’t want the journey to end. My list below is a mix of the two. Here are seven books that will make it back to the nightstand sometime soon.
1. The House of Mirth. It’s a world that I’m fascinated by, but not one that I wish to live in. It’s Lily Bart and Selden who keep me coming back to this book. (Yes, I’ve already read it three or four times.) It’s as though the ending will somehow be different if I read it just one more time.
2. All the King’s Men. The text is dense, the characters complex, and the dialect can slow you down in the beginning. It’s one of my all-time favorites, as is The House of Mirth, and the story rewards multiple readings.
3. Blood Meridian. For a long time, this was one of the primary texts that I worked with in grad school. And I read it so many times that I thought the story was permanently burned into my brain. However, the book has come up in discussions several times recently, and sadly, I barely remember anything other than how much I enjoyed it. I think I’m due for a revisit to the Kid and the Judge.
4. White Noise. Like Blood Meridian, this was one of those texts that I loved and studied and re-read and analyzed, and now can just barely remember what happened: the airborne toxic event, Hitler studies, Jack Gladney and his black coat (it was a coat, yes?). It’s terrible that I can’t remember more. And I love the new cover. You should click through just to see it.
5. A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love this book, not for what it represented about our culture or the deep meanings that I teased out of the prose. I read Owen Meany for fun on a beach, and it was like someone had given me the perfect vacation gift. I never wanted to write about it in grad school because I was afraid it would destroy my readerly love for it. I miss Owen. Maybe a re-read of this one will be my Christmas gift to myself.
6. The Magicians. Of all of the books on this list, this is the only one I’ve read once. But it’s sitting on my shelf, begging to be picked up again. And now that my daughter is reading the Narnia books, The Magicians is oh-so-much more clever.
7. And my favorite, Harry Potter. I think that with every single HP installment, I turned back to page one right after finishing so that I could read it again slowly. I’m so looking forward to a third reading of the Deathly Hallows. I cried and cried during both of my previous readings, and I’m looking forward to hopping back on that emotional roller coaster.
There are more, of course. As I look at my shelf, I feel like most of the books (and all of my favorites) have been read at least twice. But these are the seven that are pushing their way to the top of my stack.