Taking Tea in the Kasbah

This week’s Friday theme among my blogging friends is to share a book that you can read over and over again, those comforting, familiar tales and characters that you never tire of spending time with between the pages. I have a few that sprang to mind when I mulled this one over, so I decided to share all of them rather than leave one out.

Charlotte’s Web 

by E.B. White

My much-loved copy (complete with scratch 'n' sniff and goggly eye stickers) from my childhood.

My much-loved copy from my childhood, complete with scratch ‘n’ sniff and googly eye stickers.

This was one of the first chapter books I read on my own as a kid, therefore it holds a special place in my heart on that merit alone. I also have fond memories of my first grade teacher, Miss Warner, reading the book to our class. Miss Warner didn’t just read the story, though. She brought the story to life with the floor to ceiling spider web she created out of black yarn and hung in the classroom window. And not just any ol’ spider web. Miss Warner took it all the way to awesome by also cleverly weaving in the word “Salutations” into the web. That pretty much solidified her as the coolest teacher ever (as far as my lengthy academic career was concerned at that time). Every time I see my old, tattered copy of Charlotte’s Web on my shelf, I think of Miss Warner and the giant spiderweb. It’s a timeless story that pulls me in every time I read it.

Harry Potter (the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle)

by J.K. Rowling

We're almost finished with book 4

Almost done with round 3 of book 4

I am on my third run-through of the Harry Potter series, having read them the first time for my own enjoyment, then a second time with my oldest daughter, and now once again with the 13 year-old. I find new things upon each reading and not once have I grown tired of hanging out with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Also, reading it aloud affords me bonus practice time in perfecting my British accent.

Time Traveler’s Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger

A time traveling love story. What's not to love about that?

There’s so much to love about this time traveling love story and so much to gain on each re-read that I don’t know how anyone can experience it just once. I especially love that it’s partly set in Chicago and describes places with which I’m familiar (I grew up in the ‘burbs of the Windy City). This makes The Time Traveler’s Wife near and dear to my heart on that fact alone, but it’s also a story that is very uniquely crafted and incredibly well told.

Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore

Cabin Pressure crew

The 24 episodes of Cabin Pressure are technically not books, but they are stories nonetheless that just happen to be in audio form. Since I’ve listened to them all at least a dozen times (and will easily listen to them a dozen more), I’ve included them in my collection of favorite rereads. They are my go-to stories whenever I’m feeling down and in need of some cheering up, whenever I could use a good laugh (which is always), or whenever I’m having a persistent and supremely annoying bout of insomnia.

Also, aside from getting tremendous joy out of listening to Cabin Pressure, I’ve learned a lot about the craft of writing dialogue from the ways John Finnemore reveals different characteristics of the four main characters. It truly is some of the best comedic writing I’ve ever heard, brought to perfection by the four talented actors. Even after listening to the episodes a gazillion times, I am still laughing out loud. It’s that good.

I don’t do nearly as much rereading of books as I used to, probably because I have such a tall, tall TBR pile of new books I want to get to, not to mention the lengthy list of books for The Classics Club Challenge. But, if I did have all the time in the world to reread books that I’ve recently enjoyed, these are the ones that I would enthusiastically add to the list:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

In case your TBR pile isn’t tall enough (and even if it is), be sure to check out these wonderful blogs to see what other favorite books have been given the honor of the reread:

Rabia Gale: Books I Can Read Over and Over Again

Margaret Miller: Reading Books the Second Time Around

Ellen Gregory: My re-reading book: The Lions of Al-Rassan

Linda Adams: The Beauty of Omniscient Viewpoint

Cora Ramos: Mistress of Synchronicity

Kim Griffin: Favorite Novel Reread

Janice Heck: Tuscany in My Mind – Second Time Around

Seth Swanson: It’s Been Awhile


How about you, bookish readers? Which books are your comfort books, the ones with characters like old, dear friends, the books you’re drawn to time and time again? What is it about those stories that makes you want to read them more than once? Sit, sip, and share. I always love to hear from you.

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19 thoughts on “Visiting Old Friends Between the Pages Once Again

  1. Pingback: WANAFriday: Books I Can Read Over and Over Again | Rabia Gale

  2. Charlotte’s Web was one of the first books I can remember reading too. Can’t say I’ve revisited it recently though — although maybe I would if it included memories of a giant classroom spider!
    The Harry Potter books are definitely ones I re-read. I’ve read all the early ones several times — as the last three books came out I had to re-read all the preceding ones in preparation! I haven’t re-read the last one though, which I’d really like to rectify.
    I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife… and Cabin Pressure? Never heard of it — but don’t think I can’t recognise who one of the cast members is… much has suddenly become very clear.

    • Ah, well, you caught me out on the way I sneaked (snuck?) a certain classy British actor into my post. It’s *almost* getting embarrassing how much I promote his work. You’d think he was paying me or something. I can’t help it, though. He’s just that good in everything he does. Cabin Pressure is no exception and highlights his incredible comedic talents. Highly recommend. Obviously.

  3. Pingback: My re-reading book: The Lions of Al-Rassan | Ellen Gregory

  4. Pingback: WANA Friday: Reading books the second time around | Margaret Miller's Blog

  5. The Time Travelers Wife is one I’ve been wanting to read. Your recommendation has caused me to mov it up on my TBR list. After this Friday’s theme I have enough to read for the rest of the year! Thanks for all the good suggestions.

    • I know what you mean about the TBR list growing after this round of posts. Mine is so tall that I could sit and read for 8 hours a day every day for a year and still not get through them all.

      I hope you enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s structured differently than any other book I’ve read – it’s not done in a straight, forward timeline. The clearly defined chapter headings help keep everything clear on when and where you are, though, so it didn’t bother me or cause me any confusion. It’s also been made into a movie.

  6. Pingback: Tuscany in Mind – Second Time Around | JaniceHeck

  7. The Time Traveler’s wife is one I (like Cora) have been wanting to read.

    The one that stands out for me is THE HARRY POTTER SERIES. I fell in love with that series,and have no young children as an excuse for the many reads. The world building, the imagination, the LOL one-liners. What is not to love about Harry?

    Confession? I have the whole series, including the final in the series. But, I have not read the final book. They don’t go back to Hogwarts! Dumbledore doesn’t rise from the ashes like his Phoenix! I want it to end the way I want it to end.

    As with most of these questions, my brain spews, “duh…duh…duh book” when given an unannounced command to produce the name(s) of my favorite reads. I may be back. Don’t want to seem doltish.

    • I totally get why you haven’t read the last HP book. I read it as slowly as I could, fearing what J.K. Rowling might do to the characters by the end given who she axed in the previous novels. I literally cried when Sirius and Dumbledore died in the other books. I wasn’t sure if I could tolerate any more deaths. You may be pleasantly surprised and pleased with how she ended the series. Will you ever read it? Or will it remain a mystery to you forever?

      No worries on coming up with your favorite rereads. I always need time to ponder such questions. I’d be a terrible person to interview on t.v. for that reason. Good thing I’m not famous.

  8. on ,
    Brinda said:

    Ah…Charlotte’s web made me smile. Love that book. I also have The Fault in Our Stars and Will Grayson, Will Grayson on my top books I’ve read list. I won’t even loan them out for fear I won’t get them back. I even have a signed copy of TFIOS. :0

    • A SIGNED COPY OF TFIOS??? You lucky duck. I want a signed copy of TFIOS. I also plan to see the movie whenever it comes out. Of course, I’ll cry just like I did when I listened to the book, but I’ll see it nonetheless. I wouldn’t loan out my only copies of JG’s books, either. Too sacred. I’d sooner buy someone the books than loan them out.

  9. I don’t think I ever read Charlotte’s Web myself, but I’m pretty sure one of my teacher’s read it to our class when I was a kid. Plus there was that animated special on TV, and I have enjoyable memories of that.

    I’ve had some mixed results when I go back to reread some of the stuff I really enjoyed when I was young. I still love me some Conan the Barbarian stories by the original author and some H.P. Lovecraft, but some of the other stuff I loved back then doesn’t hold up as well.

    • I know what you mean on rereading some books and having it not quite measure up to the memory of it in your head. Same holds true for me for certain movies and t.v. shows that I loved as a kid. I think it’s because we were in a different place in our lives at the time the book/movie/t.v. show resonated with us. What was once super awesome is now meh or even craptastically awful.

  10. I have never read Charlotte’s Web, but I think I will get a copy to read to my kids ~ I think we would all enjoy it.
    Harry Potter is up there as a favorite of mine too. My daughter is reading them now!
    Great list 🙂

    • You’ve never read Charlotte’s Web?!? FOR THE LOVE OF TALKING PIGS AND SPIDERS GO GET A COPY AND READ IT.


      I mean, yes, you should definitely read it, alone or with your kids. You all will (most likely) enjoy it. 🙂

  11. on ,
    Marcia said:

    I am hoping the library has The Time Traveler’s Wife on CD. It sounds like a must read.

  12. What an interesting collection. I don’t know when Charlotte’s Web was first published in Australia, but I didn’t encounter it until I was reading it to a class. It surely deserves its awards. I haven’t read all of Harry Potter and probably won’t at this time, but The Time Traveler’s Wife was beautiful, and still on my shelves so clearly I intend to reread it sometime.

    • Thanks, Margaret. I have shelves of books that I think I’ll reread at some point but haven’t had the time to do so. And then there are books that I know I won’t reread but were so good that just seeing it on my shelf gives me joy.

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