Skip to content

The Books That I Re-read

13 November, 2008

Throughout my life, I have been an avid reader and yet, when I think about it, I very rarely re-read books. There are, of course, the books I had to read for school. There are a few beginnings to series that I returned to before reading the second book. Other than that though, re-reading is something I rarely do, just as there aren’t many films that I feel compelled to watch more than a couple of times.

So which books do I frequently re-read? There are, I’ve realised, just three:


‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Jane Austen

The book that spurred this blog post, as I finished reading it again just last night. It is, of course, a favourite with a great many people. Every time I read it, I’m reminded why. I love the characters, the dialogue, the wit, the misunderstandings and intrigue. I love Mr Darcy almost as much as I love some of my own characters and I probably love Elizabeth Bennett even more. It’s difficult for me to be anything but effusive about this book, despite the fact that romances as a genre doesn’t tempt me very often. Whenever I’m feeling upset or stressed or just in need of hope, this is the book I turn to (and I realise that makes it sound a bit like the Bible!).


‘The Lord of the Rings’ – J.R.R. Tolkien

Again, a favourite with millions of people, The Lord of the Rings is the book that got me writing in the first place. I started reading it when I was six, inspired to do so by my mum’s beautiful 1970s special edition (far more attractive than any of the special editions available now, too, which makes me feel terrible when I remember standing on the box it came in when I was a kid). Strangely, the things I love about this book are pretty much the opposite of what I adore in Pride and Prejudice. Here, it’s the epic scale, the locations, the lyrical language and the way I can lose myself in Middle Earth so completely that I feel physical pain when I finish reading and remember that it doesn’t really exist. This is the book that I pick up when I know I have a week or so with not much on, so that I can really be absorbed by it.


‘The Etched City’ – K.J. Bishop

This is by far the hardest of the three for me to describe. It’s what I call ‘literary fantasy’, set in an imagined tropical city and following the exploits of a doctor and a killer. It’s surreal, inventive, meandering whilst every little thing seems connected and full of symbolism that I’m still not sure I understand. The characters and setting have inspired much in my own writing, even more so than The Lord of the Rings and it’s a book I return to whenever I want to remind myself of what I’m striving towards. If there’s one book I wish I’d written, it’s The Etched City and it’s the one I recommend whenever I have the opportunity to do so.


So, which books do you re-read and what attracts you to pick them up again and again?

One Comment


  1. Autumn Blues and Re-reading Books « Not All Those Who Wander

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: