Many years ago, I worked with a girl who had bought the newest novel by a best selling author. She kept sneaking into the store room to read a few pages here and there because she couldn't wait to find out what happened. When she finished the book within a couple of days, she said she had enjoyed it, but was regretting buying it because she would never read it again. In fact, she never read books more than once. Ever.
This blew my mind, because I have many, many books that I return to again and again. Books that are the literary version of comfort food. Books that I read, even though I know quite well what happens, because I love the story so much. Books that have been read so many times, some of them are falling apart.
**Winter Solstice, The Shell Seekers, Coming Home and September by Rosamunde Pilcher--Pilcher is one of my favorite authors, so I was bummed when she retired from writing in 2000. The Shell Seekers is probably my favorite book ever.
**Beautiful Joe by Margaret Marshall Saunders--This title was also on my list of favorite kids books. Told from the viewpoint of an abused dog, it emphasizes kindness and love for all living things.
**The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling--I came late to Harry Potter, not getting into the series until the first three books had been published and a friend lent them to me. I read them all in two days and was hooked. Every so often, I read the series all the way through. It's amazing the little details that you pick up on after rereading a complicated story.
**The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey--My dad got me into this sci-fi series when I was just a kid. McCaffrey passed away a couple of years ago, and sadly, her son's version of Pern is not nearly as lovable. I own many of the books and read them frequently.
**Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver--This story takes place over the course of a humid summer in southern Appalachia and features three intertwining stories. The young widow is my favorite character, but I loved the whole book the first time I read it and have reread it since then multiple times.
**The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings--Also on my kids list, this story set in post Civil War Florida is one that I return to again and again.
**The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins--Again, I was late coming to this. (Although, there is one benefit to starting a series when it is already finished...no waiting for the next book to come out!) Shortly after seeing the first movie, I ended up buying the trilogy. Always enjoyable.
**All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing by James Herriot--I'm a sucker for animal stories and grew up reading these semi-autobiographical books about a vet in Yorkshire, England.
**Scarlett Feather by Maeve Binchy--I loved most of Binchy's books, but this is the only one I actually own, snatched up for 25 cents from the sale rack at the library.
**Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry--When I was a kid, we vacationed on Chincoteague Island and I grew up reading about Misty and the other ponies. I'd love to go for the pony swim sometime.
**The Cobra Event by Richard Preston--My first introduction to Richard Preston was when my dad read The Hot Zone and then handed it to me and told me I HAD to read it. I picked up The Cobra Event for a dollar. It's fictional, but the story is interspersed with chapters about bioweapons. It's fascinating and horrifying all at the same time.
**Chicken Soup For The Pet Lover's Soul--I received this years ago as a gift. I know a lot of people really dislike the Chicken Soup books and sometimes I have to agree. You can only read so many feel good stories in a row before you want to barf. But this one is about animals. And I'm an animal person.
**The Sinner and The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen--Gerritsen is one of my favorite mystery writers and I love the TNT series based on her characters. I own these two in paperback and read them when I'm in the mood for a good mystery.
**The Cat Who...series by Lillian Jackson Braun--I started reading this cute series about a nosy journalist with two Siamese cats when I was in middle school. Braun died a few years ago, so there are no more, but I own many of them, mostly scored off the sale rack at the library. Fun, light mysteries with no gore.
What books do you read over and over again?