Top Ten Tuesday: Again, for the First Time

This week at The Broke and Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is asking us bloggers to list the:

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again, For the First Time

*I love this question.  There are two types of first reading experiences that I find notable.  The first is the book that I don't like on the first read, and find myself loving on subsequent reads.  Then there are the books that are so magical the first time around, there is no way a subsequent read could ever live up.  These are those books.*

10.Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
This is a pretty odd choice for this list, I do realize.  My reading memory of this book is on a fishing trip with my dad.  I also had a really intense emotional and visceral reaction to this book, which doesn't happen to me often, so it is memorable when it does.

9.Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block
I  remember this being the first book that really made me feel like I was a teenager reading a book that was written for teenagers.  I think that now, with the proliferation of YA, there are many more opportunities for this feeling.
8.Middlemarch by George Eliot
I read this the summer after I graduated from college, while I was thinking about applying for graduate school.  It was so slow and sprawling and I loved languishing in it.  On my second read- when I was supposed to finish it in two weeks for a class- we didn't have the same relationship.
7.Atonement by Ian McEwan
This was such a gripping  read for me; I didn't want to put it down.  I know it wouldn't be the same the second time around, although I'm sure it would still be beautiful.
6.Illusions by Richard Bach
This and the next item on the list are books whose ideas wouldn't excite me as much as they once did.  I remember - embarrassed - telling lots of people that this book changed my life. 

5.The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer
And this one as well.  This was one of the first sociology books that I read, a discipline which did genuinely change my thinking.  I would love to be excited by ideas again like I was by these books. 
4.The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This book was pure magic for me as a child.  I don't think I'm capable of the total immersion in the world of a book that I felt at that time in my life as a budding reader, but I'm pretty nostalgic for it...can you tell?
3.1984 by George Orwell
This was the book that turned me on to reading "classics."  I think reading Orwell was also my first realization that sometimes the things that I had to read for school were okay.  I might even like them.
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Our teacher read this aloud to us at school, probably in second or third grade.  I remember that I couldn't wait for the next day's installment.
1.The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
My mom read me these books before bed, probably around the same time as I read #2 and #4.  Not only was I totally captured by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (I really remember the cold landscapes and the Turkish Delight), but those are also some of my favorite memories of my mother from childhood.

As you can tell, the reading experience is what makes me want to read these books again, much more than the actual content of the books. Which books have those memories and sensations associated with them for you?


  1. I've only read 4, 2, and 1 on your list. I've been meaning to reading 1984 but I just haven't gotten around to it.

  2. Oh, my! I've read Atonement twice. It was so much better the second time (though I loved it the first time!) :-)

    There are so many others on this list I can't wait to read for the first time: Middlemarch, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden... great picks. :-)

  3. I loved Atonement, Middlemarch (although I've only read it once so far)and The Secret Garden! When I first read 1984, I liked it but I didn't love it but over the years it has definitely left a lasting impression so I think I'm going to have to pick it up again one of these days :)

  4. Oh my gosh, I was so gripped by Atonement, and I was on holiday in Berlin when I read it, and may have spent more time reading it then sort of seeing the sights and things... well, at least for the first day or two, because I flew through it! I think a re-read would definitely not be the same, although I haven't tried it yet...

  5. Now you've got me thinking. Idea for a future list at Top Ten: Books that Seemed Amazing at the the Time, But Which Have Now Lost Their Luster....

  6. #3 - so true! It's only after I left school that I came to realize that the books they assigned were mostly pretty cool. And relevant!

  7. I love the experiences too! I think a lot of our enjoyment of a book can be from our circumstances and feelings at the time. I wish I could remember as vividly what my mom read to me as a kid...

  8. The McDonaldization of Society sounds like a book I'd like to try. I should have added 1984 to my list as well, I loved the book the first time I read it, a lot more than any of my re-reads!


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