Thursday, June 19, 2014

Books I Keep On Coming Back To

Lately I've been thinking about the books that I love to reread. While I do enjoy reading new books, there are some books that I keep on coming back to. Here are some of my favorites.

I was introduced to Jane Austen in high school. My senior year we read Pride and Prejudice in our English class. I was hooked. I mean, have you ever read something as funny as two people hurling insults at each other in the politest of British English? I proceeded to read Austen's other books, and while I have come back to Pride and Prejudice many times, I've found that Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. And thus also the one that I have reread the most.

Wilkie Collins is best known for The Woman in White, but my favorite book he's written is Man and Wife. If you ever wanted to understand why eloping couples in England always set out to Greta Green, this book is for you. It explores the complexity of marriage laws in England and Scotland all through the fascinating story of what happens to Anne Silvester.

I didn't discover Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South until after graduate school, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Margaret Hale's simple, down-to-earth outlook on life has endeared her to me, and I frequently find myself coming back to her story.

I grew up on C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and while I have reread them often, I also really enjoy his Space Trilogy and Till We Have Faces.

J. R. R. Tolkien was another author I "met" in high school. I joke that I was a fan before the movies came out - and before most people knew who Tolkien was. While the movies are great in their own right, spend some time reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and you'll gain a new appreciation for Tolkien's ability to weave not just a story, but an entire world with parallel civilizations.

Lest you think that I only enjoy British authors, let me jump back across the pond. Like many girls, I grew up with L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Who can forget that spunky redhead and her insistence that Anne be spelt with an "E"? As much as I like Anne and have read her escapades multiple times, my favorite Montgomery book is The Blue Castle.

Lew Wallace wrote Ben Hur in the late 1800s. During college this was the book I'd read each year during December finals. If you've only seen the movie, you're missing out.

And, to end up in New England, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Louisa May Alcott. Of course, she's known for Little Women, but I have also enjoyed some of her lesser known books. My favorites are An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom. If you're going to read them, just realize that Rose in Bloom is the sequel to Eight Cousins.

So, here are some of my favorite literary friends that I continue to come back to. What books do you reread?

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