Books I can Always Reread

For some reason, every fall I am drawn to rereading some of my favorite books. I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather that makes me want to snuggle into my old sweatshirts and my old books, or if it is the foliage that makes me nostalgic. In this post, M and I will list the books we are going to reread this fall and the books we can always reread. Here is our fall reread list:

  1. Summerland. I have wanted to reread this book since I only read it once when it was “age appropriate”. Summerland is Michael Chabon’s only young adult novel and was published immediately after his best (in my opinion) work, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  Summerland is a unique novel about baseball and fairies. Ethan Feld is a young baseball player chosen by the fairies of Clam Island to help them in their fight against evil forces. Together with Jennifer Rideout, another member of his baseball team, Ethan helps the fairies in their battles with wendigos, sasquatches, werefoxes, and much more. I want to reread this to see if I still enjoy it as much as I did at fourteen. -A
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Joe Kavalier and his cousin, Sammy Clay, embark on an ambitious project to create comic books. Set in New York City in the 1930’s, Joe has just moved from Nazi-invaded Prague. I remember there is also a weird motif about escapism and Houdini, but I cannot remember what part that plays. I want to reread this so I can remember it better. Otherwise, I cannot really claim this is one of my all-time favorite books. Gotta be sure! -A
  3. On Beauty. Preface: What pains me about Zadie is that the surface of her books are one thing, and beneath are much more complicated layers that can easily go unseen. On the surface, On Beauty is about race, academia, language, the American and British Middle class, etc. Underneath that hefty exterior, it’s also a cultivated philosophy on how to live. Elaine Scarry delivered a lecture on human values entitled “On Beauty and Being Just”. Zadie borrowed Scarry’s title for the novel as well as her philosophy. The novel was also prompted by E.M. Forster’s Howards End, and offers a modern rewrite. Alongside these companion texts, On Beauty is fairly mind-blowing in what it’s doing. In Zadie’s world, humans are imperfect, but we are one another’s duty. She develops this philosophy in all of her novels, beginning with White Teeth building off of Forster’s brand of humanism, and it comes together beautifully (heh) in On Beauty. I always turn to On Beauty when I need a pick me up in life, and I’m due for a re-read soon. -M
  4. Waterland. I’ve only read Waterland once, but it is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it in England while studying abroad in East Anglia – which was ideal since this is Graham Swift’s portrait of the bleak Fens country of East Anglia. His writing is stunning and this may be one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. The story is horribly sad, but it’s a masterclass in storytelling. I’ve been meaning to re-read this since I finished it. -M

Other books we can always read, but won’t this fall:

  1. The entire Harry Potter series. I have read the entire series three times, but the first three books I have read probably ten times in total (I always lose steam around then).-A
  2. Watership Down. I wrote my thesis on this in college, and have read it probably five times, minimum. I have only read it once since finishing my thesis, but surprisingly loved it just as much. You can also find this book on the list of books that make me sob. -A
  3. The Great Gatsby. The most perfect writing in my eyes (“Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away” – I MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAN) and the most devastating love story which for some twisted reason are always my favorite. Besides, it’s such a quick read. I try to revisit this once a year. Not promising I won’t read it again this Fall.-M
  4. A Visit from the Goon Squad. I’ve read this book a few times, both in classes and outside of classes, and each time I discover something new about it. It’s about loss and the passing of time, and our connections to one another. It’s written in 13 short stories that connect, and we get to know characters from several perspectives and in different points in time. The best part about this book is that you can pick it up and just read one chapter. It’s an experimental book in form and Egan has a keen eye for the future and how technology impacts our relationships. I won’t lie, not every story is my favorite, but as a whole it’s pretty genius (IMO). But, like Zadie, a lot of the inter-workings of this novel are a few layers down. -M

What books can you read over and over again?

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