Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: There definitely seem to be books out there that people keep and read over and over. Can you name a book or two that you particularly love to read and tell us what you love about it (or them)?
Jamie Wallace: Honestly, I should read each book I love at least twice. I feel like it takes that to really internalize the story. The first read – if I like it a lot – goes by in a bit of a whirlwind. I don’t always savor a book as much as it deserves on the first time around. One book that I have read over and over is Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. It’s the only book I’ve ever read by this author, and after several readings I find that the characters are not as three-dimensional as I would like, but the language is so gorgeous that I am able to forgive almost any shortcoming. The story falls into the category of magical realism (one of my favorites), and spins a fanciful tale around some very interesting themes, but what always captures my attention are the lush and sparkling images of a deep and magical winter. I only read this book in the winter. It helps me get into the mood for blizzards and ice and cold that freezes your breath the moment it leaves your body. This is a story to make winter wondrous.
Lisa J. Jackson: I am not really a re-reader of anything other than books that are somehow related to writing, entrepreneurship, or figuring out life. The only book I purposely re-read was instigated by details I read in a profile of a gentleman who commented on one of my posts – The Wind in the Willows. I hadn’t heard that book mentioned in eternity, and something just clicked with me that day. I rented the book from the library that afternoon and re-read the book. I remember reading it as a kid, wish I knew if it was for a class or just for me, but I enjoyed it just as much this time around. I like life being told from the animals’ points of view. Another one in my ToBeRead pile is Watership Down. But, other than those 2 books, I haven’t read, nor do I plan to re-read, any fiction. There are just too many books I haven’t yet read! For instance, Winter’s Tale, that Jamie mentions – I’ve had it in my TBR pile for at least a year. I’ve heard great things about it, but haven’t made my way to it yet!
Julie Hennrikus: There are some books that reveal different layers as you get older. I find Jane Austen wrote those books. I reread them (Persuasion is my favorite) and always find that a character or two tell me a new secret to their personality. There are other books I reread for craft. The first time through is pure enjoyment. The second time through is “how did she do that?” But, like Lisa, I rarely reread. My TBR piles are too high.
Deborah Lee Luskin: Virginia Woolf prescribed reading a book twice: the first time for the pleasure of what happens and the second time for the delight in how. In an ideal world, there would be time to do this. As it is, I’m with the others: so much to read, so little time. But I’m also right there with Julie – and Jane Austen.