Books You’d Like To Read Again, For The First Time

This is another little gem that I picked up from S F Signal. I thought it was a really interesting idea.

What if you could read a book again for the first time?

Some books are just outstanding achievements and they can be the sort of thing that you can read again and again. But no subsequent reading is ever going to be as good as that first time around, when the book truly surprised you and dragged you along, desperate to know what was going to happen next. Rereading a book is often a very rewarding experience, sometimes giving you things you didn’t get the first time around. But it’s never going to be as fresh and exciting as it was that first read. It’s never going to surprise you again in the same way.

So if you could have certain books erased from your memory in order to read them for the first time, what would you choose? Here are six picks from me:

The Lord of the Rings (J R R Tolkien) – I read this at around 12 or 13 years old and I was absolutely transported. It introduced me to epic storytelling and showed me the kind of wonder that could be found in a book.

Elric of Melnibone/Stormbringer series (Michael Moorcock) – These books were my first introduction to the concept of the anti-hero and the first dark fantasy books that set me on my own writing path. The stories are deep and melancholy, with awesome lands and races. Truly a masterpiece of storytelling.

I Am Legend (Richard Matheson) – Don’t be fooled by Will Smith’s godawful movie. This is a brilliant book by Richard Matheson, with a stunning ending that really took me by surprise. A bold and clever idea. You really must read this book if you haven’t already.

The Player Of Games (Iain M Banks) – Banks and his Culture novels are an all time favourite of mine. This one in particular sticks with me. Partly because it’s a character that I can really relate to in the lead and partly because it’s just such a clever and engaging story.

Watchmen (Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons) – There’s never been anything quite like this before or since. A truly seminal book that really did change the face of graphic storytelling. A remarkable achievement.

The Call Of Cthulhu (H P Lovecraft) – This story (and many others from Lovecraft) introduced me to a whole new concept in horror, with truly cosmic ideas way beyond the things most people were dealing with. And the associated madness!

lord-of-the-rings-sm elric-of-melnibone i-am-legend-sm
the-player-of-games-sm watchmen-sm1 call-of-cthulhu-sm

I could name so many more, but these are the ones that came to mind as I wrote this post.

So what about you? What books would you read again for the first time if you had the chance?


Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • RSS
  • Twitter

13 thoughts on “Books You’d Like To Read Again, For The First Time

  1. I love these little memes. BUT I can’t do one of my own for this because there are just too many.

    However, one that immediately comes to mind is Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I still get a warm lovely feeling when I think about that book, a year after reading it – and if I could go back to it fresh, I’d die with happiness all over again.

    So rare to get that reaction as a grown-up. I wish it was that easy to get back to 🙂


  2. Stephen King’s Dark Tower – so unlike any of his other work. Unexpected and unexpectedly brilliant.

    Dean Koontz – The Watchers. Not one of my favourite authors, but definitely one of my favourite books.

    Terry Pratchett – The Colour of Magic. I could say any Discworld book, but to revisit that joy of discovering it for the first time would be great. I guess I’d need to erase the other twenty something books too for it to work.

    James Herbert – The Rats. I don’t want to read it again, I just want to get rid of it. Total garbage. Oh, how I wish for a recycle bin in my brain.

  3. I would love to read THE TRAVELER by John Twelve Hawks again for the first time. I was in mourning, in a faraway European country the first time I read this book, and it just lifted me right out of myself. I’d like to have that eye-opening experience all over again!

  4. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
    Magician – Raymond E Feist
    Complicity – Iain Banks

    Saying that, they are all so good that I’m happy to read them again – have just bought my 5th copy of Fahrenheit 451 having lost or given away my other 4!

  5. Kaylie – Not a book I know, but I love to hear about books affecting people’s lives like that.

    James – Great choices. I think I’m on about my third copy of Fahrenheit 451 myself!

  6. Catch 22, Lolita, Douglas Adams, Count of Monte Cristo, a few Russian sci fi things

    And if I can “pollute” this blog with non-fiction, The Blank Slate, The Selfish Gene and Malcolm X’s autobiography.

    Wasn’t that hard for me actually! Of course there are heaps I missed. Then again how many times do you need to read something for it to qualify? There are a lot of books you love everyone loves that they’ve read only once that might not stand up on a 2nd reading.

  7. Good call on Catch 22 and Douglas Adams.

    And non-fiction is no pollution. I do all my best research in non-fiction. The Selfish Gene is something I’ve been meaning to read.

  8. Well if it helps:

    1. I have a copy you can borrow
    2. It’s actually very short for a “big and important science book” — under 200p, maybe even 150ish

  9. I would also have to put Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend on my list, as it was simply an amazing story and blew the movie out of the water … both of them, actually. I must also include Stephen King’s The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, because it was my first glimpse at what has turned into an enriching adventure in reading for me. As for children’s books, how about Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Cheese and rice, that was an amazing book!

  10. I enjoyed The Dark Tower, but not enough to read it again. Roald Dahl is an all time favourite – I love his short story collections. As for children’s stuff, I must have read Danny The Champion Of The World a hundred times as a kid.

Leave a Comment