Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
PREVIOUS TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:
- September 1: Books That Make Me Hungry
- September 15: Book Cover Freebie
- September 22: Books of my Autumn TBR List
- September 29: Favourite Bookish Quotations
- October 27: Halloween Freebie
- November 10: Non-Bookish Hobbies
- November 17: Characters I’d Name a Pet After
I am SO far behind with my blogging at the moment: I have a huge backlog of books to review including the great (The House on the Cerulean Sea) and the less great (The Familiars) and the oh-so-far-from-being-great (Troubled Blood). But having begun the tome that is Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War, it should stop too many more creeping onto that list.
And this week’s topic is books I’d read again, with the advice that
This could mean books you plan on re-reading OR books you wish you could read again for the first time
And it takes a lot for me to want to re-read a book. I very rarely do. Not books I am reading for pleasure, as opposed to studying – those I re-read minutely! I find I remember them generally too well – even the location on the page where things happen or conversations occur – and some of the older books of which I have fond memories have staled with time. Dragons of Autumn Twilight, I hope you feel called out here!
So for this topic, I am going to look at books I genuinely do want to read again! In simple alphabetical order
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Simon Armitage
Okay so this is sort of cheating from the get go! I read the J. R. R. Tolkien edited Gawain at University and adored it, and have re-read it on a number of occasions and continued to love it and find more and more in it – despite my Middle English getting a little rusty now.
So this is not quite a re-read, as this is a new translation into modern (and as it is Armitage Northern) English. But it is such a cracking story – an apparently immortal green knight challenging Arthur’s Camelot to chop off his head, the attempted seduction of Gawain in Bertilak’s castle…!
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
It was so long ago I read that that I feel obliged to re-read it before embarking on the somewhat belated sequel The Testaments…
I am a little anxious, though, as to whether it will live up to its iconic status again…
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
I have an incredibly battered copy of this book – a penguin classics I think – that has come with me every house move since I was in Sixth Form… it is one of those books that I do return to time and time again.
Cathy and Heathcliff. The moors. The viciousness and brutality of their love and passion.
Keep your Austins and your social satire – that is so Thrushcross Grange – and I’ll stick with the battered isolated farmhouse of Wuthering Heights.
Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo
The second of the winners of the 2019 Booker to be cited here…
I have no intention of re-reading this any time soon: it remains vivid and powerful in my memory already. But I would love to have the joy of reading and discovering it for the first time all over again! And I absolutely do anticipate returning to the panoply of vibrant, powerful, challenging, difficult and wonderful women Evaristo has brought together.
And I am sure that knowing them a little better now, I will spot more of the echoes and parallels from the beginning. I feel it is a book that will ripen with a re-read.
American Gods and Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
Is it cheating to throw in a two-for-one? Gaiman’s two masterful epics of hidden cultures and ancient gods and otherworldly underworlds are so exuberantly imaginative and rich!
Who would not want to spend more time with Door, the Marquis de Carabas, Mr Wednesday or Shadow Moon…?
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
My memory of this is just so beautiful: an intensely quiet and dignified books with a set of characters that I know I want to return to.
And a setting in Darlington Hall that was so perfectly described!
And the aching tenderness of Stevens’ and Miss Kenton’s friendship which could have blossomed into something else…
Lake Wobegon Days, Garrison Keillor
This book I did actually buy not too long ago with the intention of re-reading it, but have not got round to doing so yet.
I have memories from the last weeks of University of reading it and loving it – lazy days in Summer, exams over, any reading would have felt wonderful!
From memory, the novel explores small town America with its quirky inhabitants and equally quirky traditions and was rambling and mocking – but warm in its mockery.
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Again, this novel was one I absolutely adored – its Victorian setting, the mysterious Night Circus in which anything can happen because it is inhabited and powered by true magic masquerading as tricks and conjuring… and it the battleground between Celia and Marco as the avatars of their respective fathers.
That opening line…
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
Santa Claus with additional pigs.
This is as bonkers and mad as Pratchett could have wanted and re-reading it has become something of a Christmas tradition.
If you’ve not read it yet, you are in for a treat!
The Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith
If a two-for-one can be allowed, a four-for-one must be okay too!
These books are delightful and smart and I am convinced that I barely scratched the surface in understanding them when I read them the first time.
They are so very contemporary opening with the Brexit vote in Autumn and closing with covid-19 and George Floyd in Summer; yet they felt reading them for the first time also timeless and eternal. Now that is a trick!
I do intend, time permitting, to do a back to back re-read of the whole quartet. Because Smith’s writing is just so beautiful!
FORTHCOMING TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:
December 8: Holiday/Seasonal Freebie (holiday books/covers/titles, wintry reads, snow on cover, cool color covers, takes place in cold settings, cozy scenes on cover, etc.)
December 15: Books On My Winter 2020-2021 TBR (or summer if you live in the southern hemisphere)
December 22: Books I Hope Santa Brings
December 29: Favorite Books of 2020
Many thanks for reading and please do join the chat in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any other post!
Again, a David Mitchell book is an event, and a thing of beauty! But the music industry is not my natural setting and again I was caught between this and another book – Daisy Jones and the Six in this case – and Daisy Jones was read first. This time, because it was nominated on a book club I was part of.
Bonus: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.
Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich – they’re the only ones worth stealing from – but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.
This one has been on my TBR for years. Literally years. I have heard nothing but praise for it, but so far have never quite got around to reading it! Go figure!
So, there we go: a range of books that I got in 2020 – save for the Scott Lynch – and do regret not reading during the year. Is regret the right word? Probably not to be honest: I do not regret the reading that I did do last year at all. But these are books that I would like to find time to catch up with this year – before prize season hits us again!
Pop in the comments below your thoughts on these – maybe let me know which I should read first!