Perhaps it's because I'm closing in on my mid-forties and feeling nostalgic for my lost youth, but lately I've been having the urge to start rereading favorite books from the first forty-three years of my life. Last year in England, I reread half of Jane Austen's novels (Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey) before watching the disappointing new adaptations on ITV. For many years, the only novel I had read more than once was Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I've read three times. Rereading Jane Austen was a marvelous experience: the novels, which I read for the first time in my late twenties or early thirties, were completely fresh and new a decade later. But rereading Tolkien, before the first film came out, was a disappointing experience. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was the greatest reading experience of my teen years, had lost much of its magic when I reread it in my late thirties.
Besides the remaining three Jane Austen novels, what books are on my rereading list? Here are a dozen that come to me as I swivel around and look at my bookcases:
1. Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
2. George Eliot, Middlemarch
3. E.M. Forster, Howard's End
4. Andrey Biely, St. Petersburg
5. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
6. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
7. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
8. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
9. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
10. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
11. Flann O'Brien, At Swim Two Birds
12. Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
What novels are on your rereading list?
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