Reader Friday: Read Again for the First Time

An Englishman met Mark Twain on a train and abruptly said, “Mr. Clemens, I would give ten pounds not of have read your ‘Huckleberry Finn!’ ” Twain raised his eyebrows, awaiting an explanation. The Englishman smiled, and added, “So that I could have again the great pleasure of reading it for the first time.”

What book would you like to be able to read again—for the first time?

33 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Read Again for the First Time

  1. Easy peasy, Jim. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.

    Have a great weekend!

    • This was an excellent book, but it scared the heck out of me. The whole bit about being lukewarm about your faith is worse than being totally fallen.

  2. When you get to be a certain age and if you haven’t read the book in a while, sometimes it can be pretty much like reading it for the first time. LOLOL!!!!!!!

    Happy Friday and Happy Writing, all.

  3. Way too many. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Wrinkle in Time, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Man Who Sold the Moon, and the many more.

  4. Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson.

    No spoilers, but Thompson expertly pulled off the psychotic narrator and frightened me by the level of antisocial derangement. I also admire how the author was a pulp guy who managed to have a couple books, including this one, be critically acclaimed as classics in the genre after years of struggling.

  5. Great question, Jim. So many to choose from for me. I’ll go with a book that had a profound emotional impact on me when I read it as a young teenager, Dandelion Wineby Ray Bradbury.

    Have a wonderful day.

  6. That’s a dunker.

    The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins. Called in the press an overnight sensation Higgins said that overnight was seventeen years in the making.

    And yes-No Country For Old Men by CormacMcCarthy is a coequal.

  7. Guilt by Association by Susan R. Sloan

    I was young when I read this, about the age of the protagonist, and definitely did not expect the ending. When I think back on the thousands of books I’ve read, this is the one that had the most impact. It would be interesting to read it now, and see if it’s as good as I remember.

  8. The only novel I’ve read more often than HUCK FINN is MOBY DICK. The joy of specializing in that period of American literature.

    I thought about this question as I did my morning chores, and my answer is no book. I enjoy the second reading far more than the first where I’m eager to find out what happens next, and I race through. The second reading allows me to enjoy the small pleasures. I didn’t miss them in the first reading, English major syndrome, but I didn’t really savor them.

    • Same here. I re-read things deliberately. I don’t want the experience of hitting something for the first time – I want the richness of seeing more and more levels as I go back, picking up connections, noticing timing, investigating character contradictions.

      Some books are very good for that – their complexity isn’t obvious first time or second time through; others really only have one level, and it’s usually not worth repeating.

      Physicist, not English major, so it’s not related to profession for me (except that I’m an author now, which changes EVERYTHING).

  9. Once an Eagle, by Anton Meyer
    Ireland, by Frank Delaney

    Such incredible transportation into those story realms, took me away from this reality in a very nice way.

  10. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren and the Rabbit series by John Updike

  11. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. I taught it for years and it never lost its impact. The movie version I liked was the one with James Earl Jones, a extraordinary actor.

  12. There are so many, but if I had to limit it to one, as an avid Agatha
    Christie fan, I’d have to say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I loved how she was able to do what hadn’t been done before, and expertly at that!

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