In the last week, I’ve done two reader things I rarely do. First, I started listening to audiobooks on my commute. I typically have a hard time with audiobooks, because I have a harder time getting mentally immersed if I’m not taking the words in visually. I decided to start with nonfiction, just to be safe. I downloaded Mindy Kaling’s book, because I find her incredibly funny. Also, I feel like we’d be amazing friends should we ever meet.
As expected, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is straight-up perfect. A nice blend of irreverent and heartfelt. And it’s only a four-hour audiobook, so, you know, not an overwhelming commitment. In the book Mindy shares a few lists. (We both like making lists. See how this friendship is meant to blossom?) One features her favorite comedy scenes of all time, which includes the glass case of emotion scene from Anchorman. Expect a handful of references to Will Ferrell, if you read the book.
This brings me to my second out-of-the-usual reader event of the week: re-reads. I’m not big on re-reading books. I have such a massive to-be-read pile, it’s hard to justify slipping back over to the shelves and re-reading something. However, I had just finished reading Leigh Bardugo’s Smoke and Bone, which gave me a bit of a reading hangover because I enjoyed it so much.
I found myself turning to old favorites. In this case, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I had planned only to re-read Lover Awakened, which is by far the book I have read the most. Hits the right notes for me. I ended up reading two others in the series, too.
My most re-read books aren’t too similar outside of being favorites of mine. Here are my top three go-to re-reads, which I encourage you to consider hearty recommendations.
Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Yes, I re-read more than this just book, but for me this third novel in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is the best. The romance between Zsadist and Bella has a high heat level, sure, but it’s the depth that gets me. Z had a dark past, and Bella is suffering after being kidnapped. It’s a story of understanding and coping with PTSD, and a romance borne of someone understanding you. Totally beautiful.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I’m lumping the whole series together here, because it’s rare for me to just pull out one book and stop there. If I start re-reading Harry Potter, it’s kind of an all-in thing. However, I never re-read the first two books. I like when things begin to get dark, and, oddly, I’ve probably re-read Half-Blood Prince the most of any of the books. This is strange as Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite, which I’ve probably explained ad nauseam. (Sorry about that.) The reason I go back and re-read Half-Blood Prince more than others is because unlike its film adaptation, the book gives us such great insight into Lord Voldemort. I think that was my biggest disappointment with the film version. For storytelling purposes they had to cut all the flashbacks, but understanding him and his motivations for horcrux choices is something I appreciated as a reader.
Shadow Kiss and Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
I’ve re-read all the Vampire Academy books. Let’s just get that out of the way. However, I’ve read the third and fourth books more than the others. These are the gut-punch books. The ones that have epic highs and devastating lows. They remind me of my goal as a writer. I want my readers to be invested. I want my characters to make mistakes. I enjoy being taken on an emotional journey with each book I read, and both of these do that with maximum impact.
What about you? Do you re-read often? Any favorites? Share in the comments.
I AM REREADING NIGHT HUNTRESS BY JEANINE FROST
AND CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES
ALOS JUST FINISHED GREYWOLVES SERIES BY QUINN LOFTIS
FOR THE 100TH TIME
Great picks. I’ve re-read some of the Night Huntress books.
Let’s do this! Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series – the whole thing. DFAEG and AGE probably the most, though. Seriously, the spines are in horrible shape! Kresley Cole’s IAD series – again, the whole thing. Lachlan and Bowen’s books have the most re-reads. Regin’s book packs the emotional gut punch, too. James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s. Because doesn’t everybody want to read a book where a girl falls in love with her imaginary friend?
You’re saying you’ve re-read more than just Chapter 32?
Kidding! I’ve re-read a couple of the NH books. I’m not surprised to see Kresley Cole on your list, either. She’s just an excellent storyteller.
I’m a chronic re-reader (and I’ll bet my TBR pile rivals yours). Sometimes I re-read when nothing sounds good, sometimes it’s when my brain is so fried I can’t focus on a new story. I think I’ve read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn something like 40 times since I first read it 20 years ago (god I’m old) and The Godfather probably like, 15. Other recent re-reads are Anne Calhoun’s Liberating Lacey and Delphine Dryden’s Theory of Attraction. And Nora. Can’t forget Nora. I’ve re-read her Key Trilogy quite a few times.
I can relate to the “brain is so fried” element there. You may be on to something…
My favorite re-read is the Belgariad series by David Eddings. I fell in love with the series when I was 16 and have re-read it numerous times since. When I need a re-read fix or I’ve just burned out on reading my TBR pile, I’ll pull this series out from the shelves and dive into it. Yes, it’s a Chosen One story but I love the tone of the series. And the character interactions always put a smile on my face.
It’s one of the few books where I can just lose myself in the world of the story.
That’s fantastic, and exactly the kind of read a re-read should be. Getting lost is what it’s all about. 🙂
I’m totally a re-reader/relistener. Which is probably bad for my TBR pile, but it can’t be helped. lol
I like to repurchase my fav books in audio format if available and that how I ‘re-read’. BDB is at the top of my list. My gf and I do an annual relisten of the whole series before the new release. Even the books I didn’t really like that much *cough* Phury & Paynhe *cough* are included. I’ve just started relistening and my next book will be Butch’s.
I also relisten to IAD (I LURVE Robert Petkoff’s voice!), Mary Calmes’s The Guardian, Timing, and the first few in her Change of Heart series that are on audio. Amy Lane’s Promise Rock series, and I have relistened to Damon Suede’s Hot Head and Abigal Roux’s Cut & Run series several times. Then there are the Christmas anthologies Men Under the Mistletoe and His for the Holidays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read His for the Holidays in the summer. Those are my top relistens.
I do re-read non-audiobooks, but it’s a little harder to find the time. I’m currently re-reading Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s Assassin-Shifter series right now. I do go back and read a few of Emma Holly’s Demon series, but it’s been a while.
Revisiting your favorite books are like eating comfort food. I think when you find books you love so much that you relisten/re-read, it’s the highest compliment you can pay to the author. 🙂
I kind of love the idea of re-reading in a different format, like an audiobook.
Does it change the experience for you?
Yes it does. I think an audiobook gives more life to the story and the characters than if you are just reading it. That’s if the narrator’s voice is good. I have fav books I’d like to buy on audio, but the narrator’s voice doesn’t sit right in my ear. This makes me sad when it happens.
Minday Kaling is the best! I read that and Bossypants back to back and lurved them both. I’ve never been so excited to find out that someone else concocts mental revenge fantasies in order to work out!
As fat as rereads, about once a year I’ll pick up Robin McKinley’s Sunshine and, a little less regularly, her The Hero and the Crown. They’re both perfect books to me.
So, in full disclosure, I have owned a copy of Sunshine for about four years. I have not read it. If you say it’s a perfect book, I’ll fix that ASAP, Hillary. I’m on it.
I don’t do a lot of re-reads, but I do a ton of re-listens. I don’t have a lot of time to read, but I listen at work, while I clean my house and do other chores, etc. So I listen to probably three times as many books as I read. Sometimes, I’ll read a book and then go back and listen. Sometimes I’ll listen and then listen again. Autobiographies read by that person are great. I’ve done a few and loved all of them on audio.
Vampire chronicles from Anne Rice
Fever series from Karen Marie Moning
Twilight series from S. Meyer
I absolutely reread. I’m addicted to it, I adore going back and enjoying stories and characters that I love. Some of my favorite rereads are, The Georgia Kincad series by Richelle Mead, honestly one of my all time favorite series, plenty of ups and downs and god Seth is just adorable, and the HEA always moves me to tears. Ruins of Ambrai and The Mageborn Traitor, high fantasy and extremely well written,the relationships in this book are amazing (I’m a sucker for a couple who argues until they figure out they like each other) this series is in my top 3 (even if she has never written the promised 3rd book.) Some others are anything by Ilona Andrews, Chloe Neill (<3 Merit), and Anne Rice's Witches series.
The Ruins of Ambrai and Mageborn Traitor are by Melanie Rawn.
I loved the Georgina Kincaid series!
I usually reread when the new release makes me ask questions. Like Gunmetal Magic made me think I had forgotten some things from earlier books so I reread Kate Daniels then read GM again. I did the same thing after Magic Rises but I started my reread at book 3 because I wanted to look back at Hugh. But of course I had to reread everything from there on because I’m compulsive about series. I did the same thing with the Hollows from Pale Demon to the end. I’ve also reread the first 8 Sookie books twice, all of Night Huntress and the first few Chicagoland Vamps.
I am a huge rereader. I can’t go a year without rereading Mairelon the Magician and The Magicians Ward by Patricia C. Wrede as well as The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Those 3 books never get old, no matter how many times I’ve reread them over the last 20 years. My other favorite rereads are The Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan, The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Dark Sword/Dark Warrior series by Donna Grant, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and of course, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
I am a definite re-reader. Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles, but only the first four. I’m in the middle of the Harry Potter books now. Stephen King, especially the Dark Towerbooks. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books, and the Belladonna/Sebastian/Bridge books. And most especially Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel trilogy.