Over the space of about a year when I was 10, I read (and endlessly re-read) as many Jacqueline Wilson books as I could get my hands on. I’ve no idea how many times I read Lola Rose, Secrets or Double Act. These books were my comfort blanket, their words wrapping around me in warmth and security. Before Wilson, it was Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism I read until I had every plot twist memorised. Even earlier still it was my small collection of Enid Blyton books I’d revisit again and again, taking endless journeys in magic wishing chairs and to faraway lands. But somewhere along the way, I stopped returning to my favourite stories.
When I started blogging, it felt like a whole new world had opened for me. While I’d always looked for new books and gobbled them up compulsively, I tended to read only a small group of authors and returned to my favourite books continuously. Starting to blog, I found a whole new range of authors and really discovered young adult. With financial freedom and a bunch of new authors to discover, I went a little over the top with my book buying. Suddenly I was focused on just trying to catch up on all the books I’d missed and all the new released I’d discovered. The amount of books I read each year skyrocketed.
Now in my fifth year of blogging, I’m not as worried about keeping up with new releases. It would be easy to only read new books each year and still never be able to keep up with my to-be-read pile. Instead I like to read a mix of new releases and books that have been out for a while which other bloggers have recommended. Oh, and I’m also trying to get through all the unread books that have been sitting on my shelf for years. Easy, right?
But lately I’ve also been thinking about all the books I’ve loved since I started blogging. The ones I’ve professed adoration for in reviews and promised to re-visit. It’s been years since I read some of them and I’m curious to see if I still feel the same. Will I enjoy them more or will flaws be clearer second time around? What new story, new feelings will I discover. Surely in many ways, it will be no different to reading a brand new book because I have changed and so my experience will be different. At least that’s what I hope.
Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and reread them…digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely skimmed. Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading. Some men are disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. In reading let your motto be ‘much not many’.
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Along with my new and unread books, this year I’m promising myself the pleasure of re-visiting my old favourites. Here are the top ten I’d like to prioritise.
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Diviners by Libba Bray
- Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
- Vicious by VE Schwab
- Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
- Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar
- Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
- The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Which books do you read time and time again? What pleasure do you find in re-reading?