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!

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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?