What book would you read for the first time again?

Sharing this great post from PBS’s Booklights. The question asked was, what book do you wish you could read for the first time, all over again? Since Booklights is a site for education and parents, many of the answers are children’s or young adult books.

Me? It’s hard to pick, of course. I’d be tempted to say The Mists of Avalon, just to fall in love with it all over again. But it’s strange to look at that book this way, though, because I got more from it on re-reads than I did the first time, really.

A lot of the books listed here do ring true for me as well. The Harry Potter books, of course. And I loved The Secret Garden but in the end, if I had to pick just one, I’d say Burnett’s A Little Princess instead. It was the first hardcover book I owned, and loved, a gift from my oldest sister — the first book I really remember making me love books, and love reading.

What book would you pick to re-experience?

The First Time Again
Posted by Susan on August 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM on the PBS Parents: Booklights blog

Last week I asked this question: “What children’s book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?”

The question struck more of a chord than I ever could have imagined. Between responses on Booklights, Facebook and Twitter, my question was answered over 600 times! Being a curious person, I had to find out which books were mentioned the most. The numbers listed next to the titles refer to how many times that book or series was mentioned.

The top ten children’s books readers would most like to read again for the first time are:

Anne of Green Gables.jpg10. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls and the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (7 times each). I’m a huge L.M. Montgomery fan, I’d love to read some of her books again for the first time. In the Anne of Green Gables series, the one I’d pick is Anne of the Island.

9. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (8 times) At least half the respondents on this book said they prefered the French version.

8. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (10 times) The trilogy His Dark Materials was mentioned only once. Interestingly, the majority of the votes were specifically for The Golden Compass.

7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (11 times). I just found my old dog-eared copies of these terrific books. What wonderful memories!

Secret Garden.jpg6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (12 times). I actually just read this for the first time last year. I wish I had discovered it when I was a child.

We’ve reached the halfway point, and are starting to climb into the big numbers.

5. The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (19 times). Oh, the magic of discovering what’s in that wardrobe! Who can forget that?

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (22 times). A perfectly written book. It’s amazing what an effect Harper Lee has had on so many generations. I read this book in high school, although I recently had a mom (who hadn’t read the book) try to convince me that it was appropriate for her third grader.

Wrinkle in Time.jpg3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (25 times). This book ranks high on every children’s book poll I see such as: “What’s your favorite book from childhood?” or “What’s your favorite Newbery book?” The answer is always A Wrinkle in Time. Interesting side note: did you know that this book was rejected by over two dozen publishers before it was finally accepted?

The numbers jumped way up for the last two, both of which are series.

2. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (38 times) Great, great books. I remember my first time reading these very vividly. Frodo was climbing up Mount Doom and my mom came in and asked me to clean up my room. I recall telling her in a passionate voice that I had read hundreds and hundreds of pages just to get to that point and I couldn’t stop. I had to know what happened next. Fortunately, she took pity on me.

And the books that were mentioned the most… (drum roll, please):

All Harry Potter books.jpg1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (41 times) As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I couldn’t agree more, but I was surprised that Harry beat out Frodo.

I was on the edge of my seat for every single Harry Potter book. Whenever I thought I had figured it all out, Rowling took her story in another direction and surprised me every time. She made me gasp, cry and laugh in a way I never have while reading a book. It was an unforgettable ride.

But as much as I loved that thrilling, spine tingling first time, it was in the re-reading where I discovered the true magic. Rowling planned out all seven books before the first one was even accepted for publication. All the books are full of subtle, deftly hidden clues and wonderful misdirection that are a delight to discover. For more about the joy of reading a favorite book over and over, check out Jen’s excellent post on the subject.

Now, on to the runner-ups. Although they didn’t make the top ten list, here are the children’s and young adult books that were mentioned multiple times. They’re in alphabetical order by author.

Read more…

9 thoughts on “What book would you read for the first time again?

  1. I’m a die hard Frances Hodgson Burnett fan. I read The Secret Garden and The Little Princess more times than I could count. I still have the books and pick them up every once in a while just for fun. They, more so than any other books I ever read, were able to create a new and magical universe that I could hide and pretend in for hours and I loved them dearly. I think The Secret Garden is what planted the seed (hee) for my love of gardening and flowers now, and for that I’m truly thankful!

    I was also a huge fan of the Trixie Belden series. I loved (and still love )mysteries but I loved these books more than the Nancy Drew I read. I have seen them in bookstores again lately and been highly tempted to pick them up — just for me, since I have only boys and they’re not really interested in “girly” mystery stories. 🙂

  2. What book would you pick to re-experience?

    Wow, I probably have a long list too! lol

    However, I’d definitely include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

    The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams still makes me cry! 😉

    I’d also list Uncle Wiggily books by Howard Roger Garis, the Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff, and last but not least, anything by Beatrix Potter and Dr. Seuss. In fact, I learned to read using One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, so that had a big impact on me. 😉

  3. What a great post and question! There are so many books I remember reading with relish, and I’d want to re-experience that feeling again:

    1. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING by T. H. Whyte

    2. THE CRYSTAL CAVE (and the sequels to this book) by Mary Stewart

    3. THE OUTSIDERS by S. E. Hinton

    4. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J. D. Salinger

    5. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

    6. THE HARRY POTTER SERIES by J. K. Rowling

    These books had such profound impacts on me. I even read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and HARRY POTTER as an adult, and I can still remember the thrill I felt for having discovered such wonderful worlds and amazing stories.

    And you had to know there would be Arthurian literature on my list. 🙂

  4. Oh, Dr. Seuss — of course, could never be left out! Should not, could not, would not. 🙂

    T, I somehow missed the Nancy Drew experience when I was growing up. Maybe my library didn’t have them on display so I never became aware, or maybe I just got into something else, but I was always sort of sorry I didn’t discover them back then.

  5. You know, I’d mentioned wanting to reread The Once and Future King, but keep putting it off.. and then yesterday I glanced at my bookshelf and thought it might actually be The Crystal Cave I’m hankering for. 🙂

  6. Pingback: The First Time Again — What Book Would You Read For the First … | ReadersRegion.Com

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