Seven Books Worth Reading Twice

Every so often, a book read years ago (sometimes decades ago) calls me to return to its pages for a variety of reasons. The love list below includes multiple genres and is in no particular order. It is, most definitely, not finite.

A Woman of Substance, Barbara Taylor Bradford (1979): Emma Harte rises from poverty to immense wealth through sheer determination, strength, and sacrifice. Despite her success, she struggles to find love and must overcome devastating betrayals and revenge. I read this for the first time at eighteen and bought my daughter a copy for her eighteenth birthday. It must still be relevant today; she couldn’t put it down either. When she finished, I picked it back up.

The Stand, Stephen King (1978): A tale of good versus evil amid the apocalypse. In my humble opinion, no one has ever done it better. Given current circumstances, it might be time for a third read.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See (2005): A moving story of friendship set in nineteenth-century China. I don’t know anyone who, after reading the book, didn’t declare a dear friend to be their “old same”. Snow Flower and Lily are paired at seven years old and share a lifetime of joy and sorrow until their relationship is shaken to its core.

Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy (1991): Benny and Eve are inseparable as children. University in Dublin introduces Jack and beautiful Nan to round out their circle. Friendships are tested as betrayals are revealed.

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay (2008): It is July 1942 in Paris, France. Sarah, ten years old, hides her brother from the French police. It is sixty years later and an American journalist is researching the story. Everything that happens before, during, and after is told in haunting detail.

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2007): On the surface, Elizabeth had it all. Until she realized she didn’t want it at all. Her journey across Italy, India, and Bali is mesmerizing.

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle (2004): As a psychology major, I had heard the word “ego” countless times. It wasn’t until I read this book that I understood there could be a separation from the ego. I still have yet to master the art of living in the “now”. The past continues to haunt and the future keeps calling. But, every once in a while, I’m able to remind myself that the present is all we have.

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