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Waxin’ Philosophic on Books…

Greetings friends and countrymen! Book nerd checking in, no review to report this week, so anything new and exciting going on? Actually, I thought I’d pose a better query unto you lot. Earlier this week I was asked an amazing question which, to be honest, wasn’t exactly groundbreaking but it was one of those innocent little things that sticks in your brain and turns around for days and days. Your turn!

What one book do you wish you could go back and read for the first time?

I truly can’t whittle down the list of amazing titles that blew my mind the first time I picked them up but I’ve been asking around and some of the answers I’ve gotten, maybe days later, are just fantastic. Plus! It’s really neat to see how certain books influenced people in ways you wouldn’t imagine. So, think about it! Get back to me, if you want, but think about it! What book would you pick?

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28 comments

  • “Fletch” by Gregory Mcdonald.

    I have read the entire series and still re-read them all at least once a year.

    It would be amazing though to read that first one again and not know what twists and turns it would take.

  • That’s a very good question. I sometimes ask it of myself, but usually for movies, not books. The reason for this is that if I watch a movie a certain number of times, it burns itself into my brain and then it will be a long time before it subsides enough that I can truly enjoy the movie again, even though it may be a favorite. Thus the chance to experience watching a movie like Jaws, Miller’s Crossing, Sorcerer, Schindler’s List, Memento, or Pulp Fiction for the “first time” all over again would be incredible to me.

    In contrast, I don’t seem to have quite that same effect with books. I can read a favorite book, especially if textured, again and again and get just as much enjoyment. Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun? You bet. Lord of the Rings? I read it every few years. Jack Vance? Always worth going back to.

    I will say, though, that there is one book that I would love to experience again for the first time, IF I could do it at a younger age. That book is Frank Herbert’s Dune. I am old and critical enough now that the limitations in his writing ability might overweigh the impact of his many-layered creation might have on me. At a younger and less critical age, the shock and awe would have been all I would have experienced.

    Thanks for making me think a bit.

  • I’ll have to go with Hitchhiker as well. But remember this week is going to be great!

    THE NEW RACHEL MORGAN book is out today! Also, another series I’ve been reading, The Night Huntress which I believe the 5th book came out today.

    @Scott B, Dies the Fire is a GREAT series. The first book took me a little while to get into then it really took off. His first series is pretty good as well.

  • It would have to be Matilda by Roald Dahl. That book is the reason I keep reading to this day. It was like story herion. I keep trying to recapture that 1st rush over and over again.

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, absolutely. I was blown away by the level of imagination and wit and originality, and yet there’s this great dark satire of society underneath it all. I devoured every book in the series in an insanely short period of time, and I’ve reread them since, but that first time was amazing.

  • Tough choice. I’ve read only a few books in one sitting (‘Catcher in the Rye’, ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘The Curious Inncident of the Dog in the Night-Time’) but above those, just for the sheer visceral thrill I got it reading it the first time, I’d say:

    “House of Leaves” by Mark Z Danielewski.

    Terrifying, bizarre and the most involved/interactive reading experience I’ve ever had.

  • How does anyone pick ONE? In fiction, I’d say Barry Hughart’s _Bridge Of Birds_ (ripping good adventure). In non-fiction, I’d say _The Fifties_ (picks apart the decade, and shows sewing the seeds of the modern world, from politics to entertainment). In tech… it’s gonna be _What’s Where In The Apple II?_ (with that guide, I was able to cut my teeth on assembler, hardware design, etc. Geek.)

  • Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate is one of the most accessible defenses of an empirical view of the human mind. Some critics claim that it resorts to straw man arguments to represent more “romantic” forms of analysis, but everyone I know who read the book found the arguments to be compelling and, to a person, clarifying.

  • I first read “The Oral Biography of Buster ‘Rant’ Casey,” while on a 12 hour flight. I remember it not only making the flight bearable, but actually enjoyable. For those who haven’t read it, it’s by the same author as Fight Club and just as twisted, insane, and hilarious, with amazing philosophical, religious, and political insight. I loved it.

  • If I could go back in time to when I first read it, I’d pick either Neuromancer or Snow Crash. Just for the feeling I got when all that stuff actually came true. (Except for the mirrorshade implants. WHEN WILL WE GET OUR MIRRORSHADE IMPLANTS?!)

  • I’ve thought about this and I’ve whittled it down to two books. A Game Of Thrones by George R R Martin and Lamentation by Ken Scholes. Both the books and the series that followed after them absolutely blew me away. The Martin series is being made into a television series by hbo and starts in april so I would have to choose that one just to be fresh on the material.

  • Little House in the Big Woods (and the rest of the series–can we just call it one giant book??). I have read and re-read the entire series every couple of years. They are old friends to me. Reading the books through a child’s point of view and then as I grew up has given the books deeper and more meaning to me every time I revisit them.

    A close second would be Little Women. That is one I am going to have to revisit soon.

  • Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume. Having not read Salman Rushdie prior to this, the style was a complete head charge for me. I still prefer Robbins now though. Oh the humour.

  • “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although the story is one that has been retold and re-imagined numerous times and is familiar to many, reading it for the first time I was so lost in the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his comrades that I felt I was being introduced to a never-been-told tale.

  • If I could go back and read The Phantom Tollbooth for the first time again…….whew; I don’t think there has been another book that taught me how to see the world for how wonderful it can be.

  • It may fall into the “comic” category, but the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman is mine. I was sad even as I was reading the last few books that I would never get to read it for the first time ever again.

    I wish I could remember reading the Narnia books for the first time.

  • Without a doubt I wish I could read Lord of the Rings again for the first time just to experience the feeling of having my mind blown again by entering such an entirely new world.
    Its still my favourite book, I usually read it once a year. The first time was back in ’98 after my father suggested it and I heard it was being made into a movie.
    Coincidentally we were road-tripping from Auckland to Wellington at the time and I remember thinking ‘I’m looking at the descriptions from the book out the window’!
    Of course the book led to the movie which I saw when I was 14, inspiring me to become a 3D artist. Thanks to Tolkien and Peter Jackson!

  • i reckon this is one of those questions where the answer will change week by week…with that in mind i would say my answer would be Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’