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.