Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s topic: TTT Throwback (pick a topic we’ve done in the past that you missed out on, or loved so much you’d like to do again!). I chose Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time. I’m a big fan of rereading, but it can never quite capture the magic of reading something for the very first time, before you know anything about it, when you’re meeting all the characters and going through all of their experiences from the beginning. (Side Note: This week’s prompt was changed to Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far) after I’d already started working on my Throwback list, so we’re sticking with it).
Some books read the same for me every time you go through them. For me, these are most of Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman’s books, Jen Lancaster memoirs, and all of Huntley Fitzpatrick and Morgan Matson (except, as always, for Second Chance Summer. TOO SAD). But some, whether it’s a twist I want to go into blind again, a world of magic I want to re-experience, or characters I want to fall in love with all over again, here’s my top ten:
1. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling. This one is probably obvious, but I want to go back and experience this magical world all over again. I didn’t read this until I was in my 20’s, and part of me wants to read these as a kid when they were originally released, but part of me wants to go back to my apartment in L.A. when I was living with my best friend (hi, Laura!) and we were binge-reading them sitting on our tiny patio in the sun.
2. The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins. This was when teen dystopian was just starting to be a Thing, and I credit these books with helping me discover how much I enjoyed it. Sure, the genre got played out and overdone, but this was the first time I encountered it outside of an adult dystopian unit in high school English class, and it was a world so frightening but entirely believable to me.
3. The Jessica Darling Series, by Megan McCafferty. What is it about this series? I have NO IDEA. I loved that when I first started one, I didn’t know where it was going to take me. If I remember the correctly, the first two books each last for one year of high school, book 3 lasts for all 4 years of college, book 4 lasts for one week post-college living in NYC, and book 5 lasts for one day as a young professional at the airport, with the addition of a Marcus Flutie POV. Each book was wildly different but also so, so similar. The first few were published while I was in high school, though I didn’t read them until much later. But as soon as I opened the pages, all the pop-culture references she makes made TOTAL SENSE to me. YOU ARE SPEAKING MY LITERAL HIGH SCHOOL TRI-STATE AREA LANGUAGE, JESSICA DARLING. There was just something about reading these books for the first time that…I don’t know. I just felt like they got me.
4. The Lumatere Chronicles, by Melina Marchetta. I’ve long since credited Sarah J. Maas with my entry into the fantasy world, specifically her Throne of Glass series. This is still totally true, but if there’s one fantasy series I could go back and read for the first time all over again, it would definitely be Melina Marchetta’s. There’s something about this quiet, beautifully written story that captivated me completely. I’ve only read this series once, and now, actual YEARS later, I will still sometimes just sit and think about the whole thing, all the characters and connections and places.
5.The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–this is the first time I’ve ever closed a book and opened it right back up to page one again. There are twists, there’s a pug, there’s one of my favorite book boyfriends ever, and there’s the first time I read page 170. What is it about that page? I don’t know. No one else who has read it seems to find it so interesting, but MAN that page gets me. I’ve read this book a hundred times, but I wish I could go back and read it for the first time again.
6. The Sea of Tranquility, by Katja Millay. This was one of the first self-published books I ever read, and there’s something almost magical about how the author worked so hard to self-publish, was picked up by a traditional publishing house within weeks, and then never published anything else. I check all the time to see if she has anything in the works, but nope. I loved this little contemporary so much, and I wish I could go through it again for this first time.
7. How to Love, by Katie Cotugno. Does a TTT list by Pages and Pugs even exist if there isn’t one Katie Cotugno book on it? We won’t find out this week, because here it is–I read the Kindle of this book (and I really dislike reading on my Kindle), because I couldn’t get to the bookstore and wouldn’t wait the two days for Amazon Prime delivery, and I HAD TO READ IT RIGHT AWAY. I read it, I fell in love with Reena, with Sawyer, with Katie Cotugno, and this book. I want to go back and fall in love all over again.
8. Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo. Okay, so I read the Grisha Verse series back in the day and just was NOT into them. But something compelled me to grudgingly give this one with it’s black edges a try and DEAR GOD IT’S SO GOOD. I’d love to go back and read them again knowing that they’ll be amazing…but also I want to read them again expecting to dislike them and having to slowly give in to how truly amazing this cast of characters is.
9. The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer. My reasons for this are twofold: One, these books really got me into reading YA as an adult, the genre I still read most voraciously. I had stopped reading for myself quite as often while I was in college, and it was these books that helped me get back into it after I graduated. I appreciate what these books did for me at the time. Two, I kind of want to go back and read them with the views I have now so I can tell myself “GIRL, NO, IT IS NOT ROMANTIC THAT HE WATCHES YOU SLEEP OR TAKES THE BATTERY OUT OF YOUR CAR SO YOU CAN’T GO SEE A FRIEND.” It’s embarrassing that I didn’t see how problematic these books were at the time, but they DID reinvigorate my love for reading, so…#itscomplicated.
10. Several Jodi Picoult books. I’ve read all of her books, and nobody writes a better twist. At this point, we expect one, and it’s harder to deliver. But back in the day when I didn’t know? These are a few I’d like to read again, before I had ANY IDEA what was going to really happen: My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Salem Falls, Perfect Match, The Pact.
Whew, guys, this was a long one! Did you do a Throwback or a Favorites of 2018 list this week?