I’m not a fan of re-reading a lot of books. Especially because most of the books I read are mysteries, thrillers and whodunnits. Once you know whodunnit the enjoyment is kind of gone.
But there are a select few books that I will read again and again regardless of the fact that I know the ending and the exact path it takes to get there.
*it’s 6-ish because I’ve included a couple of series. See if you can guess one of them!
‘Jane Eyre’by Charlotte Bronte
We’ll start with a classic.
I first read Jane Eyre in college and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’m not normally a fan of ‘classic literature’. I’ve never been able to finish anything by Jane Austen without falling asleep (sorry Mam), I find James Joyce to be a rambling bore (except for maybe Dubliners, but those are short stories so there’s less time to ramble) and Shakespeare made my English classes in school torturous (The Merchant of Venice is the most pointless story I’ve ever heard in my life).
So I was pleasantly surprised when, halfway through Jane Eyre, I wasn’t bored out of my tree. I got two-thirds of the way and was still enjoying it. And when I got to the end I was even sad that it was over.
Jane Eyre is one of the few ‘classics’ that, in my opinion, is worth reading ( and re-reading) in this day and age.
Jane is such a good character. She doesn’t take any shit. As soon as she finds out about *spoiler alert* Mr Rochester’s secret wife in the attic she tells him where to go. There’s no fannying about with ‘oh but I love him, he’s so perfect’ like a lot of women from classic books. She’s straight out the door and doesn’t take him back until he *again, spoiler alert* literally goes blind for her. It’s about as feminist as books were allowed to get back then, and needs to be read and re-read by everyone.
‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak
I am well aware that this book is not for everyone. I found that out when I chose it as a book club read and it was completely ripped apart by everyone (it still hurts).
But I adore this book and have read it about three times now.
I’ll admit that it’s probably got a nostalgia factor as I first fell in love with it when I was younger. If I read it for the first time now I might see the problems that everyone else has with it.
But I didn’t, so I don’t. *shrugs*
A book set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death is always going to be an interesting read, and The Book Thief manages not only ‘interesting’ but ‘emotonal’ and ‘gripping’ as well.
Following Liesel as she learns to cope with life through books will lift you up and break your heart, but by the end you’ll be ready to go right back to the beginning and start the journey all over again.
‘The Eyre Affair’ (And the whole ‘Thursday Next’Series) by Jasper Fforde
Another book I discovered in college, The Eyre Affair is the first in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. It follows Thursday, a literary detective, as she tries to save Jane Eyre from being murdered (and therfore erased from all copies of the books) by Acheron Hades, the Third Most Wanted Man in the World.
The series itself sees Thursday solve many literary-related crimes for the Jurisfiction, fight the grammasites in the Well of Lost Plots, and babysit Hamlet while trying to bring her husband bcak from eradication.
These books get better and funnier with every read. Every time I revisit them I find something new that I missed, some throwback to a novel or funny pun. I adore these books.
The ‘Harry Potter’series, by JK Rowling
You’d be hard pushed to find a list of re-redable books without Harry Potter on it and for good reason. Like Thursday Next, every time I re-read Harry Potter I find something new I didn’t see before.
The brilliance of JK Rowling’s writing can be seen in the effort she went through to drop breadcrumbs in the earlier books that become so important in later ones.
The story itself is worth a re-read even if you’ve figured out all the throwbacks. It’s the ultimate David vs Goliath story (and yes, I’m including the actual story of David and Goliath in that statement). It’s got amazing characters that develop in each book. And no matter how many times I read them I still get the same emotional punch at certain points (Sirius *sobs*).
Okay, I know Rowling has turned into a pain every time she tweets something new about the books, and Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald was an abomination that should be wiped from our collective memory. But the original six books are masterpieces and should be read and re-read as such.
‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis
Yet another book from college (I should probably thank IADT and my undergrad degree for introducing me to most of this list) American Psycho has been one of my favourite books since I first read it (it was at the top until something else bumped it down to number two, more on that in a minute).
But it’s not the story of American Psycho, or the gore and horror of it, that I like. It’s actually the writing style that keeps me going back.
I love the simplicity and the apathy of the writing in this book. One second you’re reading about a horrific act of butchery, the next you’re reading about the music of Whitney Houston, but the tone doesn’t change at all. It’s such an amazing juxtapostion to read and makes the book unique to anything else I’ve ever read. I always pick it back up when I’m looking for some writing inspiration.
‘Gone Girl’by Gillian Flynn
This is the book that knocked American Psycho off my favourite book top spot.
I love this book.
Everything about it from the writing, to the story, to the characters are the definition of ‘gripping’. Not only is that-thing-that-happens-in-the-middle one of the best things to happen in fiction ever (yes I said ever, fight me), the ending is so excruciatingly frustrating yet inevitable that you can’t help but love it.
I do think that if I was to read this book now I probably wouldn’t feel that way, because since it came out there have been so many books with a twist with the word ‘girl’ in the name published since that tried to ride on Gone Girl’s coattails that at this point it’s been done.
But Gone Girl is the OG. The first. The best. And I will keep reading this book, keep loving the twist, keep love/hating the ending, and keep telling everyone else to do the same.