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

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Ever finish a book that was so ~magical~ you wish you could just erase time and return to it once again?

Or maybe it wasn’t magical but brought the perfect dose of feeling that you know will never quite be touched, no matter how often you reread it?

I enjoy rereading, and some of my favorite rereads bring another layer of understanding or connection or emotion each time. Some things I missed the first (or second, or third) time around hit differently than they did before, because while books are consistent, my perception of the world and how I flow through it changes, and it influences what I’m going to key into, or what’s going to resonate with me. That’s one of the delights (and curses) of being a mood reader: how I enjoy a book directly correlates to my mood and my recent experiences.

So while I love seeing what new things I can discover in, say, A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, or Tamora Pierce’s Protector the Small quartet, there are other books I kinda want to dip into again for the first time, so the magic can happen again.

Erase my memories, give me these again

Hot take: you can keep your Holly Black—I just want Margaret Rogerson. I remember when An Enchantment of Ravens was released amidst the other kinda darkish fairy books, and it was met with a string of criticism that it was too like The Cruel Prince. I dunno. I enjoyed this so much better than The Cruel Prince. There is something so nostalgic and ethereal about Rogerson’s prose, making me want to turn around and dive back in as soon as I’ve wrapped up. And then she topped her success with A Sorcery of Thorns, which is quite literally *the* book for a woman who was obsessed with both books and swords (and magic) as a child, replete with a gaslampy fantasy setting that had me swooning for days.

The Scorpio Races is another book where the setting holds all the power. The actual plot itself is kinda boring, but the world of Thisby itself, all wind-swept grass plains, salt laced beaches, and dark, foamed tipped waves filled with carnivorous water horses? The backward and close-knit town itself, and its bloody traditions of horse goddesses and blood pacts?

And the horse racing. The charms. The magic. Corr and Dove. Puck and Sean. The aesthetic. What I wouldn’t give to experience it again for the very first time.

NK Jemisin is truly the Grand Dame of Today’s Science Fiction, and this novel is just perfection. It is a love note to New York City and critique of Lovecraftian horror all in one, and filled with just a wild ride of fantastic imagery. The first 100 pages or so were bewildering, but I would love, love, love to experience it again for the first time, along with the head-scratching what the fuck is going on thoughts that coursed through my mind before I sat back and just let the book take over.

I am so, so hopeful that this wins some awards this year, because this is The Book (okay, this book and Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, which is also fantastic and A Feat).

I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo well after the main peak of the buzz and the HYYYYYYPE. At first, I was tentative and resistant, because there is no way that anything that beloved and all over Bookstagram, Booktok and Booktube and Bookmoon could live up to it, right? (side-eyeing SJM books everywhere, which are ubiquitous to social media and not my cup of anything).

BUT. This Fucking Book. This book. Fuck. I know that I will enjoy any reread I do, because Evelyn Hugo is an icon, but I would give almost anything to stumble through the ~mystery~ and the heartbreak and the connections and strife and machinations all over again, just like I did for the first time.

I just finished Great Circle this month, and if there’s anything I regret, it’s that I read it too quickly. I did savor it, but it ended up consuming my entire life for two days. I existed only in the world of this book—when I was transfixed by the pages, and then living in a blurry fog of aching until I was able to get back to it. This sensation does not happen often, and when I find a book that brings me these feelings, that wraps me in so tightly I can barely breathe or remember myself, I just want to crawl into the pages and lose myself forever. Seriously. This book is amazing, and Marian Graves is just as much an icon as Evelyn Hugo is, albeit for different reasons—but equally awful choices and circumstances.

Of course I have to end with this one, the book that had me bawling on the six am metro to work. I was listening to the audiobook, and the water works just came flowing down when I got to that part, and then kept coming and coming and coming.

Code Name Verity is a book that I will probably never read again—how could I? The reveal spoils everything forever, and I don’t think I could enter the beginning and its game of cat and mouse and unreliability, without knowing how it will end and knowing my heart will be shattered and crushed into pieces. This is a once in a lifetime read, that rare book will stick with me for the rest of my life.

What books do you wish you could read again for the first time?

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