There are so many books in the world, it would be impossible for one person to be able to read them all. And yet, here I am, trying. My mind also lingers on the books I’ve already read. There are times that I put a book down after finishing and in my head, decide how I feel about it. Perhaps even continue to process it while writing a review. And then months later, I realize I’m still thinking about it—usually in a way that makes me admire it even more than I initially did. I swear, Freshwater still hasn’t let go of me and I read it nearly a year ago. On the other end, there are books that I finished and thought it was one of the best novels of all time, and then, years later, I can’t even remember what it was about and why I liked it so much. Maybe I even called it one of my favorite books, but would it still be, if I read it today?
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Haruki Murakami£8.99 £8.36
This is the book that may perhaps prove that I find my opinion on the author has changed. I read this about a decade ago and immediately loved it. I remember it being a love story filled with loneliness. But, since reading it, I’ve read a lot of other works by Murakami and realized that perhaps writing women—their intentions, their bodies—is not his forte. I was in for the ride of 1Q84 and abhorred the ending, and felt odd about a lot of scenes. I nearly threw Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage across the room when it revealed the answer to the mystery. And my book club of women felt similarly on that one. So, will Norwegian Wood stand the test or be banished from my favorites?
Ivan Turgenev£7.99 £7.43
I read this short, little classic years ago and I love holding the small thing after picking it off my shelf. Earlier this year I read Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night, in which the main character has an encounter with Turgenev and his domestic life, which was quite fascinating. Knowing just this little sliver about him, made me want to turn to this book about teenage love again.
Patti Smith£9.99 £9.29
My favorite memoir of all time. Will it still be? I’m certain the answer will be yes. Smith writes so eloquently about youth and art and music and learning. And New York—by god, there’s a lot of great writing about New York, but she gets it perfect. She’s an observer that can also transmit emotion seamlessly, and I want to reread this to be taken away by the magic of her words again.
Joan Didion£8.99 £8.36
This will always be on my reread list. I think it’s my most reread book on my shelves. It’s something I read ages ago, but then turned to again and again because I seem to gain some further insight after each read that wasn’t there before. Didion’s sparse and economical prose is razor-sharp here; she telegraphs whole complicated moods in a word, in a period mark. Last year for my birthday, my best friend gave me the last page of Play It as It Lays framed. It’s beautiful, much like Didion’s writing.