Friday, 15 January 2016

10 Classics to Re-read (again and again)

Persuasion by Jane Austen
This is by far my favourite Austen and one I will continue to re-read even as my interest in her other novels wanes. I love that parts are set in Lyme, I love Captain Wentworth, but mostly I just love Anne. She is such an 'ordinary' heroine with a kind heart and I'd quite like to know her in real life.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Even though mysteries can lose something on the second or third read, The Woman in White manages to still keep me guessing and not just because I've forgotten how it plays out. Returning to Marian Halcombe is like saying hello to an old friend and missed details always surprise me.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
I've talked about re-reading this novel before, but I wanted to give it a mention here too. I think any of Woolf's novels would fit in this post as they seem to jump and shift depending on your circumstances.

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
I've not yet re-read The Good Soldier but I know it's inevitable that I will. I still have strong memories of this short, impressionistic novel which is rare for me (unfortunately) and I look forward to returning to it. It also has a tremendous first line: 'This is the saddest story I've ever heard'.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Another mystery to re-read. It has been about ten years since I turned the final page of this novel and it still haunts me. The atmosphere! The tension! The denouement! All brilliant, and it's another contender for best first line.

The Return of the Solider by Rebecca West
This is both one of my favourite ever WW1 novels and one of my favourite novels. It has withstood multiple re-readings, enthusiastic analysis and being the focus of two essays, and I still want to sink into its pages again.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Although I only conquered this beast last year, I know it'll be a book I discover again and again. The BBC adaptation has me itching to return to it already.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Again I only read this two years ago, the first summer I lived in London as a matter of fact. Every time I hear it mentioned or if I brush past it in Waterstones I have this sudden urge to find out how it all went so horribly wrong all over again.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I would argue that this novel benefits from multiple re-readings. The first time I read it I absolutely despised it and vowed never to read another Fitzgerald ever again. Two years later it was required reading for one of my uni modules and I fell hopelessly in love. Another few years later and I lost my heart irretrievably to Gatsby.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
This is perhaps an odd choice but The Wind in the Willows is such a multi-faceted novels. Whilst being the jolly story of Moley, Toad and the gang, it's also a very revealing commentary on Edwardian society. Read once for Moley and a second time for cultural historical analysis.

Is there a classic you will always re-read?


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