Why reread? Especially fiction, when the thrill of discovering what’s going to happen is gone? Well, why do we listen to the same music, rewatch a movie, tell the same stories at family gatherings? There is something comfortable and familiar about books we’ve read, like favorite old clothes or a cozy visit with a longtime friend. Each time we read them we either get something new, or we discover aspects we missed the first time. With some like the Little House books or Little Women, I find myself identifying with different characters at different stages in my life. Each time through is an enriching experience. With nonfiction, it can be hard to get all the good truths from the book in one reading, and each time through helps reinforce the old lessons learned and teaches us points we might have missed or glossed over before.
Here are a few books I have read multiple times:
1. The Bible
2. Some devotional books: Daily Light on the Daily Path, Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning and Evening by Evening
3. Les Miserables (the unabridged version only once, though!)
4. The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
7. Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys
8. Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg
9. Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
10. How to Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer
11. Isobel Kuhn’s books: By Searching, In the Arena, Second Mile People, Green Leaf in Drought
12. Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton
13. Goforth of China and Climbing by Rosalind Goforth
14. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. Rose From Brier by Amy Carmichael
16. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
Some of those I will probably revisit again in the future. Here are some that I don’t remember reading more than once but would like to read again some time:
1. C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy
2. Jane Austen’s books
3. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series
4. Jane Eyre
5. Gene Stratton Porter’s Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost. I was quite captivated by them as a child, but when I have looked at descriptions of them as an adult, they don’t sound appealing. I don’t remember much about them, so it would be interesting to see what drew me to them in my youth.
6. When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes, one of the best books on suffering, born out of Joni’s questions and struggles after becoming paralyzed.
7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stow. I was never interested in this until a former pastor described Uncle Tom as the kind of Christian you always wanted to be.
8. Spiritual Depression by David Martyn Lloyd Jones
9. Hudson Taylor: In Early Years – Growth of a Soul by Howard Taylor. There are shorter biographies of him — I may have read Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret more than once — but this one covers so much more.
10. Jan Karon’s Mitford series
11. Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
12. A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
13. End of the Spear by Steve Saint
14. Michael Phillips’ Stonewyck trilogy
15. Janette Oke’s early books
16. Sarah Sundin’s Wings of Glory series
I’m sure there are even more I could add to that list. The main problem with rereading is that there are so many new good books being published, it’s hard to make time to go back to the old ones. But any of these is worth another read, and I like to work them in here and there amidst the new ones.