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Top 5 Books I’ve Read and Reread

Updated on January 7, 2009

1. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read this book—at least three. The vivid details Fitzgerald evokes for the reader amazes me each time I read it. I’ll never forget the green light at the end of the dock or Gatsby’s unattainable love for Daisy. As for storyline, I think I relate to it well, wanting something that seems too far away, but still striving to get it no matter what. Sometimes the act of striving for the dream is better than the dream itself. It’s that longing that makes us even want to strive towards something. I’ve felt that longing and know how tangible it feels.

2. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

The first time I read Charlotte’s Web I was in third grade. At that time anything that used animals as characters drew me in right away. Once I started reading it though, there was something more magical about a talking spider that had befriended a poor whiny piglet. Being a sensitive child I wanted to be a part of this animal world. The pig worried about his friend Charlotte, but he also had an undying devotion to her that she mirrored back to him. Even then, I imagined this to be the greatest friendship in the whole world. That’s why, when the inevitable tragedy occurred, I could somehow see the hope in it.

3. The Beatrix Potter Collection – Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, The Fierce Bad Rabbit etc.

Beatrix Potter’s collection of animal books is one that I will never forget; this collection is something I’ve passed on to my niece. The stories are such great examples of real world trials, but concealed in the space of only a few pages where animals have similar problems we humans do. Half the fun of reading this collection over and over again was going to the library. I still remember sitting in front of the library shelf on the burnt orange carpet in the school library picking out which book I should reread. Anyway, I don’t remember which book was my favorite, but I remember the good feeling I got while reading one of Potter’s books.

4. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood

Despite the title, Atwood’s book, Cat’s Eye, is not about a cat. The Cat’s Eye comes from the marble game where certain marbles look like a cat’s eye. This novel is another one that evokes vivid scenes and emotions. She uses time as a means to reflect on how the main character has come into the person she is at the end of the novel. Not exactly an uplifting novel, Atwood captures what it’s like as a girl growing up, trying to fit in, and eventually, by middle age, learning and struggling to live with yourself and your life.

5. House of Mirth – Edith Wharton

I haven’t reread House of Mirth in many years, but it’s one that I remember well. The construct of the book is tight, the style is consistent, and the character development of Lily Bart is fantastic. House of Mirth describes the difficulties women faced in the upper class of society at the beginning of the century. They had no way of making money on their own so they had to marry in order to sustain their lifestyle. The character analysis of Lily Bart delves into her inner conflict of society’s money-oriented views and her own views of love. She was thought of as a rebel at the time the novel was published because she went against the plans that had been set out for her.

I think I might have to go and reread some of these again!

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    • profile image

      Jonathan Mendelsohn 

      7 years ago

      Great list! I'm a huge believer in re-reading books. Sort of a way of life for me. Haruki Murakami is the writer I re-read most.

      Cat's Eye is an awesome choice, I have to say. Atwood's best in my opinion.

      I'm more Salinger than Fitzgerald... but Murakami is with you on "Gatsby." He translated it into Japanese, if memory serves.

    • profile image

      Literary Buff 

      9 years ago

      I have only read The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood, but I definitely need to expand my horizons to her other novels. These are great suggestions and I definitely need to get my hands on House of Mirth except it is never available at the library!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      I love your list - I've read them all, and agree they are all great books.

    • profile image

      Felisa Salvago-Keyes 

      10 years ago

      i'm just looking on my shelf b/c i feel like i won the cat's eye but have never read it. yup it's there. i like her novels too, so i want to read this one. and i haven't actually read the great gatsby since high school--should see how i like it now that i'm all grown up.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      I read The great Gatsby many many years ago and didn't much care for it. E.B. White and Beatrix Potter was a staple at our house when my children were young. Now my granddaughters and I read them. Margaret Attwood is one of my favorites authors. I've read and reread her books many a time. I don't recall reading the 'House of mirth' I'll check that one out for sure.

      great list regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Mark Russell 

      10 years ago

      The only one of those books I've ever read was The Great Gatsby. This probably means that I was a pretty jaded as a child.

    • profile image

      Rebecca 

      10 years ago

      Now I want to read "Cat's Eye" again; I've enjoyed most of Atwood's fiction (with a few exceptions). And I'll have to pick up "Charlotte's Web" sometime. It's on my list of books I tried to read and just couldn't get through because of the thick prose, complex themes, and porcine vernacular.

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