May 16, 2009

Read It Again For The First Time

Author, Jim Baxter, posted his answer to a challenge from SF Signal concerning books we would all like to read again for the first time. It's about a month old, which is apparently a lifetime in blog years, but I thought I would list some of the books I wouldn't mind reading again for the first time.

As much as we all love certain novels and stories, no rereading of the story is going to recapture the emotions and sensations that come with being taken up by the writing and the characters the very first time our eyes scan the pages. For me, I'm not one to read novels again and again. I have my reading time allotted as it is to the books I haven't read yet. There are absolutely, however, a handful of titles I would love to experience again as if for the first time.

At the top of the list may be Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Required reading in high school, it remains the novel to beat for me. So many of the novels we read in school were a chore at the time (Fifth Business, I'm looking in your direction), but the story and characters in this classic tale captivated me. To this day, I can credit this book as one of the key reasons why I wanted to become a writer. It is a gorgeous novel, and one of these days I will read it again—maybe enough time will have gone by that it actually will feel like the first time reading it.

I must, of course, include Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series of books. It all started when an online acquaintance recommended I read The Gunslinger. It only took the first chapter to grab me, and now this series about Roland of Gilead has me spellbound. I have two more books left to read in the series (Song for Susannah and The Dark Tower), but I'm almost hesitant to read them this summer because it will mean the journey will be over, and there'll be no more books in the series to experience for the first time.

Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (a title on Jim Baxter's list as well) and Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass each appeared on my radar when the film adaptations were announced. Rather than rush to the theaters, I bought the books. Pullman's work, I read before renting the DVD, while I saw Omega Man and Will Smith's tolerable performance before reading the novella. In the case of reading Pullman, I became someone who scrutinized the film, while Matheson's novella became even better experiencing it in the wake of seeing two comparatively subpar movies.

As a kid, I loved Roald Dahl stories, and The Witches topped them all. Not only do I wish I could fall into this story again for the first time, but I wish I was eleven-years-old again when I did. Every step of the way in that tale, I was that young boy who was turned into a mouse as the witches congregated in the hotel. No children's story was as easy to envision as this one, and I would relish an opportunity to be a kid again and step into Dahl's world one more time.

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