Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Woman standing on a beach at sunset reading a book. There is a beautiful pink sky behind her.

No, that isn’t me in the photo, but it does evoke all sorts of beautiful memories of reading outside on warm summer days.

This is one of those topics I could talk about all day. My list is a wonderful mishmash of genres and eras. I couldn’t be confined to just one small slice of the bookish world today.

Some stories are so amazing that I wish I could experience them again for the first time.

There’s nothing like the thrill of getting to know a well-rounded, beloved character or being delightfully surprised by a plot twist.

Rereading is lovely, but it’s never quite the same as experiencing those moments the first time.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Why: The ending was spectacular. I spent years pondering it before the sequel was released and the television show explored what happened to Offred after that pivotal moment.

 

2. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Why: There are so many parallels between this futuristic version of Earth that was written in the 1990s and what we’re actually experiencing with climate change and political unrest today. It would have been fascinating to experience it for the first time as versions of so many of her predictions came true.

 

3. Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer

Why: The author’s depictions of aliens was astounding. They were nothing at all like any sentient creature found on Earth. That’s difficult for any writer to do, and I adored “meeting” characters who felt so otherworldly.

 

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Why: It’s my favourite classic novel. It’s filled with the sort of sturdy hope that can withstand the hardest times. I’ve returned to it through some of the most difficult portions of my own life, and it’s given me the courage to keep going when I need emotional support and encouragement.

 

Shot of blue and white umbrella against a blue and white sky. 5. The Deep by Rivers Solomon (My review)

Why: This is one of my favourite books of the twenty-first century so far. I know I discuss it regularly here, but it’s one of those stories that only becomes more meaningful over time. I keep going back to beautiful little details from the storyline that tied all of the plot twists together in ways I didn’t necessarily think twice about at the time.

 

6. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

Why: Hagar was a fiercely unlikeable protagonist. If I were to meet her in real life, I’d be unflappably kind and polite to her while also feeling utter relief when she was no longer in my presence. With that being said, her character development was so excellent that she felt like a real person to me. There were good reasons for her cruel, vindictive, and emotionally abusive behaviour that I’ll leave for other readers to discover for themselves. That isn’t to excuse any form of abuse for any reason, only to say that sometimes people take their pain and fear out on others.  I think it’s a sign of amazing writing when one genuinely wants to learn more about someone as awful as this character.

 

7.  The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Why: While the last few books in this series weren’t really my cup of tea, the first instalment had fabulous character and plot development. I’ve literally had dreams about living 30,000 years ago and doing all of the hunting, gathering, and other tasks necessary for survival that were explained in such exquisite detail here.

 

8.  Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (My review)

Why: The ending couldn’t have been better or more satisfying. I pictured every incredible moment of it in my mind as I was reading. It would be delightful to experience it again while we wait for the film version that is currently in the works.

 

9. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Why: It was written for an adult audience who sympathized with Valancy as she endured emotional abuse and mistreatment with little hope for rescue when we first meet her. As much as I loved Montgomery’s lighter works that were written for children like Anne of Green Gables, her stories for adults were where she truly shined. She didn’t sugarcoat Valancy’s predicament in the least, and yet she still found a multitude of ways to show her audience how to survive when it seems like one’s difficult circumstances have no hope of improvement.

 

10. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (My review)

Why: The ending was incredible. It left me yearning for more, and I still wonder what might have happened to the main character as she became an adult. I will continue hoping for a sequel that explores her world in greater depth.

88 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

  1. I believe Jane Eyre is one of those classics one can read over and over and there will be elements in there that you read for the first time. I’ve never read The Clan of the Cave Bear, but I have a friend who swears it’s the best book ever.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  2. Clan of the Cave Bear kinda calls to me too, I don’t know why, but it just seems so evocative. Exploring a prehistoric world like that…

  3. Great list! The only one I’ve read on here is The Handmaid’s Tale and if I had stuck to the prompt today, that one definitely would’ve made my list! I can’t wait to read Project Hail Mary and The Deep, so it’s great to see them on this list 🙂

    • Thank you. I hope you like Project Hail Mary. They just started working on the earlier stages of making a film this summer, so you still have lots of time I’m sure.

  4. Dang, there’s some really good choices here, of course I reread Bronte and Atwood regularly, and I love that you’ve read The Clan of the Cave Bear. That series was amazing too!

  5. Great list! I’m looking forward to reading Project Hail Mary. I’ve heard such great things about it.

    With Remote Control, it’s possible that you’ll get your wish. I read (maybe in Locus magazine?) that Okorafor said all of her stories were set in the same alternate universe, so it’s possible that we’ll revisit the characters or plot elements from Remote Control.

    • Project Hail Mary was so much fun. I look forward to reading your review of it if you decide to write one.

      And that’s awesome! Thanks for letting me know.

  6. I have re-read Jane Eyre though I don’t seem to like as much as the first time. You’re right, rereading is never quite the same experience so I often don’t reread books I know I won’t like again.

    I love the Blue Castle and I have reread it a few times. I did sort of wish Montgomery had written more books for adults like this one.

    The others I haven’t read but it really is a diverse list of books.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Have a lovely day.

  7. So many wonderful choices. I agree whole-heartedly with Project Hail Mary and The Handmaid’s Tale. The Blue Castle has been on my to-read list for years, and I’m glad to see your reminder that I need to read it! I’ve been wanting to read Remote Control as well, and after seeing your comments on it, I really can’t wait. Great list!

  8. I have Project Hail Mary on my TBR – I’m glad to hear its made your list, I’m looking forward to reading it for the first time!

  9. I had a chance to see Project Hail Mary through the eyes of someone else reading it new, which gave me the chance to be excited about it all over again with him. I felt almost as much of a book hangover after he was done as I did after I was done, knowing the excitement was over again.

  10. Funnily enough, Clan of the Cave Bear is the only one of that series I have not read! I remember people talking about them in high school (they were surprisingly in my school library, but only books 2, 3 and 4). And I read the available ones but never went back and read the first, I should definitely do that one day.

    • Oh, funny!

      Clan of the Cave Bear was the best book in that series. I hope you love it if or when you ever read it!

      Books 5 and 6 weren’t worth it IMO. So it’s good you stopped with #4.

  11. Reading Jane Eyre for the first time again would be amazing!! And The Blue Castle is on my TBR. I haven’t ventured outside Anne of Green Gables but I hear great things about so many of Montgomery’s other novels. Thanks for stopping by my TTT 🙂

  12. So true about Jane Eyre! I’ve read it so many times but it’s still No.1. 🙂 But thanks for talking about Calculating God, The Deep and Cave Bear — they all sound excellent works.

    • Happy TTT to you as well!

      I haven’t reread Jane Eyre in years. It’s something I like to reread in the autumn and winter, though, because so many scenes in it take place during those seasons. 🙂

  13. I haven’t read Clan of the Cave Bear, but I love that it was vivid enough to make you dream about it! It does sound like an extremely cool setting, one not a lot of authors (as far as I know) venture into — though I was rather fond of Sue Harrison’s trilogy from a similar era, starting with Mother Earth Father Sky.

  14. I read the Parable of the Sower for the first time this year, I’m not sure I’d got with fascinating as much as demoralizing how much stuff she predicted well.

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