5 Books to Read Over and Over Again

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to read. Books are still my most prized possessions and something I truly cherish. Over the years, there are a few that I love to return to and read, over and over again. They remind me of why I fell in love with reading, and each of them offers something different every time I re-read it.

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Sometimes it’s a new piece of wisdom I previously missed, or different themes of the book resonate with me now that I’m older. It’s such a treat to return to a book I love only to discover new pieces of it that I love even more.

Here are five books that have stellar re-read value — and you’ll want to revisit them many times over, throughout the years:

“The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak

A hairstylist from Eastern Europe recommended this book to me almost a decade ago because the author is very popular in her home country of Turkey. It’s a love story that switches between a modern-day couple and flashbacks to the life of Persian poet and mystic Rumi in the 13th century. Each of the 40 rules is revealed throughout the story, and I return to this one regularly. 

As I’ve experienced more relationships in my life, I pick up new wisdom on love and being in love each time I read it. One of my favorite “rules” from the book that’s always applicable, no matter when I read it, is: “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that life is turning upside down. How do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

I first read this coming-of-age story about an orphan named Pip in grade school, and I remember being struck by the character of Miss Havisham, an old woman who never leaves home and wears her old wedding dress. As a kid, this felt eccentric and weird — but as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that she represents the many adults who are stuck living in the past. I wrestle with my own expectations as I grow older — and I love re-reading this classic to see how my own viewpoints have changed.

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

This is a book I read at least once per year. The author lays out four agreements the reader can make with themselves, based on ancient Toltec wisdom, to allow the reader to find peace and fulfillment in their relationships and overall life. It’s so interesting to me to re-read and see which agreement sticks out the most. For instance, if I’m having issues with overextending myself, the agreement to “be impeccable with my word” pops out because it reminds me to only say yes when I mean yes. This book is like a guidebook to life; I love re-reading it to get a reminder of what’s important and how to focus on being my best self.

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo

The first time I read this book in high school, it felt magical because I could see so much of my own story in this fictional tale. I loved the story of the shepherd boy who goes off on a journey to follow his dreams. Whenever I re-read this book, it reminds me of the importance of following my dreams, even if they don’t fit in with society’s expectations. It continually renews my faith in myself and motivates me to reach for the stars and keep going after what I want in life, like when I quit my job to volunteer in South America. The book is so beautifully written and is jam-packed with wisdom, so every time I pick it up again, it feels like the first time.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenger

This novel is about a woman who marries a man who can time travel — and it jumps around their relationship as she ages and he remains the same age. I’ve read this one at various ages, and it’s always interesting to see which parts are most aligned with where I’m at in life. When I was in my early 20s, I loved everything about the couple falling in love. As I get older, other qualities of their relationship stick out to me, like loyalty, the ability to face adversity, and trust in each other.

Originally published on July 23, 2020.

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