In honour of the low-key Re-Readathon that is going on this week – check out Bex’s blog and check it out if you’re interested in participating, I decided to list ten books that I want to re-read. Funny fact about me: I rarely re-read. As in, hardly ever. I’ve read the first four or five books of my favourite book series, the Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd series twice, but besides that I only re-read something if I have to for university. Who knows, maybe this list will give me a gentle kick up the backside. If I was to re-read some literature, these would be my likely books.
And no… I’m not participating in the rereadathon. See above.
Matterhorn – Karl Marlantes: Possibly the best war novel ever written, this is a masterpiece of the English language. It was released to some quiet praise, but wasn’t widely marketed. It is a novel of contrasts – the language used ranges from eloquent and flowing description to stark swearing and biting dialogue. Marlantes uses language to really evoke the battlefield, and considering how much I recommend this novel, I probably should give it a reread.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet was the first adult war novel that I read, and I fell in love with it immediately. It launched quite a bit of widespread war and action reading in the years following, but this was the book that started it. I remember having to look up the word ‘latrine’ and ‘mortar’. Oh, the innocence. I wonder how All Quiet would hold up now that I have read so many more war books.
Perfume – Patrick Suskind: Perfume was one of those books that I went into not knowing what to expect. I picked up the Penguin Books ‘popular penguin’ edition before a six hour bus journey, mainly because a TV show had referenced it the day before. I then sat there alternatively terrified and beholden. It’s the only book to scare me so much it actually gave me chills, and it is so beautifully written that I rec it to anyone asking for a creepy recommendation.
Kill Zone – Jack Coughlin: I love the Sniper series by Jack Coughlin, but I think that each book released in the series is weaker than the last. The first book made the main character frighteningly good at sniping, but strangely human. I wonder if the first book is actually as good as I remember, or was it just one of the first books I read about a sniper?
Fair Game – Stephen Leather: Above I said that I had re-read some of the Spider Shepherd series, and Fair Game is one of the later books in the series that I haven’t re-read. But if I remember correctly, it was one of my (and all my friends on goodreads) favourites.) It has Spider Shepherd doing his thing on a ship. I’m such a sucker for naval themes.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak: This is one of those books that deserved all the hype that it got. I loved the narrator and although there were some aspects of the war narrative that bugged me, I loved the story that Zusak told. This is a great gateway drug for hesitant readers too, I’ve recommended it to a few of my older students and they find it challenging but rewarding. I’d love to do a unit plan around this, but I’m unsure if any of the schools would be willing to actually let me teach it.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee: I read To Kill a Mockingbird, or how my dad and I always referred to it, To Mock a Killing-bird, for school and I remember enjoying it at the time, but not actually getting some of the story/language/setting. It was probably introduced too early into my reading career and I although I enjoyed it immensely, I have a feeling I would love it even more if I read it again.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon: This was a read for university that I really enjoyed. My lecturer for that topic had awesome taste in literature, and he put this on the syllabus. He said he wanted to teach The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but that was too long. I actually loved this book and have no interest in reading anything else from Chabon’s back-catalog. I love the noir crime story and the alternative history was a big tick for me at the time.
My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin: Ah… yet another uni read, but this one was a book I was dreading that became a favourite. Miles Franklin wrote this before she was 18 and it is a feminist masterpiece. I would take this over any Austen or Bronte that I have thus far read. I will definitely reread this sometime in the future. The way she ends it… it is amazing. The movie is not a good substitute, that rubbish is rubbish.
The Tunnel Rats – Stephen Leather: A second Stephen Leather for the list, he has been my favourite author for a long time. The Tunnel Rats was my favourite of the pre-Spider Shepherd books, and the book that meant I begged my mum to buy/let me borrow each Stephen Leather book that was released. I reread this one when I was in high school quite a few times because it was the only one of his books that the local library actually had two copies of, so I could normally get one. I want to reread this and bask in the remembrance of being a violent, misunderstood teenager who reads really adult books.