My top 10 most reread books of all time

I know not everyone is big on rereading books, but I reread books all the time! I am a firm believer that some amazing books are meant to come into our lives just one time and make a huge impact at that moment. But other amazing books are meant to be returned to over and over again.

In a book I read for a teaching class I’m taking, children’s literature expert, author, and professor Lester Laminack calls these “best friend books.” In the book, he’s referring to books we can read aloud to students and return to numerous times with new eyes to teach various reading skills. But I think the concept of “best friend books” can also apply to our personal reading lives. The ten books in this blog post are my own “best friend books” that I’ve reread over and over again throughout the years. Each rereading brings new understandings, new thoughts, new perspectives, and new enjoyment. They’re listed here in no particular order, but each book includes a spoiler-free summary, why I continue to reread it, and a link to the book.

Don’t leave without leaving a comment about the books you love to reread!

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

a swiftly tilting planet by madeleine l'engle

Summary:

From Goodreads: In this companion volume to A Wrinkle In Time, fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace’s sister, Meg — grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother’s thoughts and emotions by “kything” — goes with him in spirit.

Why I keep rereading:

I love all of Madeleine L’Engle’s books, but I’ve always come back to A Swiftly Tilting Planet over and over. I love Charles Wallace as a character, but beyond that, I love the way this story is told. We weave through different timelines, tied together by common motifs like Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer, family histories, common names, and more. The high stakes, genre bending, and the fact that a fifteen year old has to save the world seal the deal for me.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/332gwal

The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano

the book of embraces by eduardo galeano book cover

Summary:

This book is told through a collection of vignettes — each somewhere between a short story and poem. They run the gamut from poignant, funny, cheeky, confusing, shocking, and artful. But they are all tied together by the common theme of “embraces.” Ultimately it’s a book about coming together and connecting with others.

Why I keep rereading:

I first read this book in my junior year English course in high school. It’s the only book I can remember ever reading in school where every single student in the class found something to connect with on a deep level. This book has changed the way I think, changed the way I approach literature, and confronts me with new truths and new thoughts about myself every time I pick it up. I think everyone should read it.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3j6AWVn

Watership Down by Richard Adams

watership down by richard adams book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of friends, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

Why I keep rereading:

The worldbuilding in this story is absolutely unmatched. This is the kind of book I dive into and when I have to come up for air, I feel confused about where I am and what’s going on in the real world. The characters are likeable, the adventures are intense, and the story as a whole is compelling. I honestly believe this is one of the greatest adventure stories ever written.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3cvV40J

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

the lightning thief by rick riordan book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my math teacher.

‘Look, I didn’t want to be a Half-Blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.’

Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.

Angry Gods. Cannibal Giants. Ancient Labyrinths. Untold Evils. It’s not easy being a demigod.

Why I keep rereading:

Percy is honestly one of my favorite book characters ever. The first person narration in these books makes them absolutely hilarious. While the Greek mythology adventures are exciting and the story is well told, the thing that keeps me coming back to this series is the way the books make me feel. These are the kinds of books that never fail to leave me with a smile on my face.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/2RYOsOZ

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

the green glass sea by ellen klages book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father, but no one, not her father nor the military guardians who accompany her, will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he’s working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she is and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world.

Why I keep rereading:

I read tons (and I mean tons) of books as a kid. But of all those historical fiction novels I tore through, this is the one that stuck with me and the one I’ve continued to reread as I got older. It’s partly because of the characters — two oddball girls living an odd kind of life in an odd kind of place. One of whom accepts her weirdness and embraces who she is and the other who desperately wants to fit in with others. It’s a story of their friendship and even if that’s all it was, it would still be a great book. But it’s also the story of scientists from around the world coming together to use their knowledge to end a war and how even as they’re creating it, they aren’t sure if what they’re doing is right. I love middle grade historical fiction because it reminds us that even amidst a huge historical moment, there were regular people living their regular lives. And I think this book is the best of the best in that category.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3mLZUvs

Listen to me read the book aloud: https://bit.ly/3kPvUNG

Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle

troubling a star by madeliene l'engle book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: For her birthday, Vicky receives the gift of a trip to the Antarctic, where her friend Adam Eddington is working as a marine biologist. But as Vicky meets her fellow travelers, it quickly becomes clear that some of them are not what they seem. Vicki’s trip into adventure becomes a journey into icy danger.

Why I keep rereading:

Like I said earlier, I love all of Madeleine L’Engle’s work. And Troubling a Star stands out because it’s a fair bit different from her other novels. Unlike the A Wrinkle In Time series, the Austin family series is more realistic fiction and doesn’t feature the excitement of time travel or supernatural beings. But L’Engle’s worlds cross over and Vicky travels to some of the same places Charles Wallace visited in his trip back in time with Gaudior. Characters know both families. These crossovers of worlds and the intensity and suspense of the plot are what keep me coming back to this story.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3mMJinv

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

the thief lord by cornelia funke book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: Two orphaned children are on the run, hiding among the crumbling canals and misty alleyways of the city of Venice.

Befriended by a gang of street children and their mysterious leader, the Thief Lord, they shelter in an old, disused cinema. On their trail is a bungling detective, obsessed with disguises and the health of his pet tortoises. But a greater threat to the boys’ new-found freedom is something from a forgotten past — a beautiful magical treasure with the power to spin time itself.

Why I keep rereading:

This book is the epitome of childhood fantasy. Who hasn’t dreamt of running away to live with a gang of friends in a far away city? Surviving on nothing but your own wit? This book takes that make believe game and turns it into a story that’s easy to immerse yourself in with characters that are beyond lovable (and a touch of actual magic to boot). This has always been a feel-good book for me and I find myself returning whenever I need to escape the real world and dive into the magic of childhood imagination.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3kOrHK6

Listen to me read the book aloud: https://bit.ly/3mTsMSE

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

the westing game by ellen raskin book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead … but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

Why I keep rereading:

I honestly believe The Westing Game is one of the greatest mystery novels of all time, for any audience. Although mysteries written for children are usually fairly predictable, with obvious clues scattered throughout the story, Raskin writes with much more depth. This story has more twists and turns than anyone would expect and it has all the things I love in a good mystery: an eccentric cast of characters, mysterious clues, confusion and miscommunication, a creepy legend, and a nearly eleventh hour twist that is shocking but still makes sense! Even though I know how the story ends, I still love rereading this book and I think that says a lot.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/2RWMdvF

Listen to me read the book aloud: https://bit.ly/3633cVk

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

ender's game by orson scott card book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth — an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

Why I keep rereading:

This is just a plain old good book. It’s an intense sci-fi with all the ethical dilemmas and space battle strategy you might expect. But it also has many layers of depth to each and every character in the story. I love the way the story unfolds and the character development throughout. Plus, Ender’s Game spawned a whole universe of books and I love some of the sequels just as much as the original.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/304hql1

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

the city of ember by jeanne duprau book cover

Summary:

From Goodreads: Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them? 

Why I keep rereading:

This book was a lot of firsts for me. The first dystopia I ever read. The first book with a major plot twist I ever read. And one of the first books I remember returning to over and over again. I love the imaginative story and lore of this book. I love the way the story is told. I love the trope of kids having to save the world while the adults are in denial. And I love the two main characters so much. I return to it because no matter how many times I read it, each time it makes me feel the same way.

Get the book: https://bit.ly/3i0ZUnL

Listen to me read the book aloud: https://bit.ly/2RWheQp

I hope you enjoyed this list of my most reread, “best friend books.” Obviously, I highly recommend every single book mentioned in this post! I would love it if you’d leave a comment down below and tell me about your most reread books. If you don’t usually reread books, I’d love to know why! Let’s have a conversation.

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1 thought on “My top 10 most reread books of all time

  1. every single night before bed, but re-reading beloved books is just about my favorite way to relax (and, coincidentally, the reason that my bookshelf is an overstuffed nightmare). Here are a few of the most frequently re-read books in the literary canon, according to the Popular to Reread Books shelf on Goodreads.

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