Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.
The rules are simple:
- Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
- Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
- Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
- Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.
This week’s topic is Books I Could Re-Read Forever. Well, this is a difficult one for me because I rarely have time to re-read books as I’m so busy reading shiny new ones. So I’ve had to put my thinking cap on for this one. However, having given it some thought, I realised there are a few well-loved books that I’ve read more than once and I’d happily read again.
Click on the title to read the book description on Goodreads,
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A few years ago, I reread this as part of studying for my MA with the Open University. Having to approach it from a literary criticism point of view, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, not only did it remain a great story, but the required closed reading revealed themes and layers I hadn’t noticed in previous readings. I still find it astounding that such an assured and imaginative work could have been produced by someone living such a sheltered life in the Brontë Parsonage. Who can forget lines such as ‘Reader, I married him’ and ‘Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?’. I’m going to indulge myself by quoting the passage that always gives me the most delicious feeling:
‘Because, he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you – especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.’
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
For me, this is the retelling of a classic to end all retellings. It’s simply brilliant, shining a light on the Bertha Mason whom we only see as the ‘madwoman in the attic’ in Jane Eyre.
It has a stunning exotic location as well. And I adore the beautiful cover of this edition which is the same as the one I own (although less tattered).
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I think I see a ‘second wife’ theme emerging here…. This is my favourite book by Daphne du Maurier and I have my beady eye on the stunning new edition (pictured) produced to mark the 80th anniversary of its publication.
(I also love Hitchcock’s film version of Rebecca starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. And that wonderful actress gives us a connection to Jane Eyre, of course, because of her starring role opposite a brooding Orson Welles in the brilliant original film adaptation of that book.)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Christmas tradition in our house is re-reading A Christmas Carol and/or watching one of the many film versions on TV. (The one starring Patrick Stewart is my favourite but my husband prefers the older Alastair Sim version. But that’s OK, we’ll happily watch both.)
If you don’t fancy reading the whole book (what?), just skim to the section featuring the Ghost of Christmas Present for the gloriously mouthwatering descriptions of food.
Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James
Talking of ghosts, what better than a collection by the master of Victorian ghost stories, M. R. James. I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to horror so what I like about M. R. James’ stories is that most of the shivers come from suggestion rather than graphic description. Personal favourites are A Warning to the Curious, Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to Ye, Number 13 and The Ash-Tree. If I can digress into film once more, can I recommend the BBC TV adaptations of the stories that used to be an annual event at Christmas, available from the British Film Institute. And the film adaptation of James’ story ‘Casting the Runes’, The Night of the Demon – a classic!
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré
I love most of the books John Le Carré has written. (I’ll admit I did struggle with some of his later ones).
This remains my favourite. It’s quite short but packs a real punch, notably because of its world weary but still likeable protagonist, Alec Leamas.
I think it’s the quintessential le Carré.
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Hmm, I’m starting to think there’s a strong connection between books I love to re-read and some of my favourite films. Here’s another.
I read the book long before I saw the film and was blown away by how the author managed to get inside the head of Stevens the butler. I find its theme of missed opportunities so moving that every time I read it I kind of hope it will end differently.
The film version is absolutely magnificent. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are brilliant. (Anecdote: I once overheard two people talking about the film in a lift/elevator. One said to the other, ‘Nothing happens’ and I thought to myself, ‘That’s rather the point, isn’t it?’]
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
You remember the film The Sixth Sense where it was said you needed to see it twice to work out how it was done? Well, this is Dame Agatha’s equivalent. The trick she plays on the reader is so clever you’ll want to reread it to find the few vital words that provide the solution if only you’d paid more attention to them.
Even though I now know the identity of the murderer, it’s still the Christie novel I turn to for its sheer cleverness and bravado. Oh, and it features my favourite of her detectives, Hercule Poirot, as an added bonus.
John Buchan is one of my passions and over the years I’ve built up a large collection of his books and read a lot about him. I will be rereading a number of his books this year as part of my Buchan of the Month project. These are the two I’m most looking forward to; my personal favourites of all the books John Buchan wrote (and he wrote a lot!). They both make me slightly tearful at the end.
Next week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: Favourite Book Quotes