1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling. I wish I could read this one again to prove myself wrong that “anything that popular must not be that good,” because yes, I thought that way even when I was ten years old!
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling. This one was just an end of an era for me—it came out when I was seventeen and about to leave for college. It really marked the end of my childhood. I remember tearing through it the day it came out, terrified of spoilers—haven’t quite felt that way about a book since.
3. It – Stephen King. This was only the second Stephen King book I ever read, but it is absolutely my favorite. By now, the characters feel like old friends and it’s wonderful to go back and see them again, but I’d love to meet them again for the first time.
4. Watchers – Dean Koontz. I’ve read this book far too many times to count, but I still love it more than I can say. Now that I know everything that happens, though, it’s not quite as exciting as when I read it the first time. I’d love to go back and read it again for the first time without knowing what will happen.
5. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card. I still remember the very first time I read this, staying up late into the night in my aunt’s guest bedroom even though I was supposed to have gone to sleep hours before. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that kind of magnetism to a book!
6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. I could really have put any Jane Austen novel here, because reading them for the first time was what really got me into “real” literature, and I’d love to go back and have that “wow, literature doesn’t suck!!” lightbulb moment.
7. House of Leaves – Mark Z Danielewski. The first time I read House of Leaves, it probably took me about 6 hours to get through the first 70 pages (if you’ve read it you’ll understand why). I’ve read it a few times since and I just don’t spend as much time anymore—but I’d like to go back both to that sense of wonder and to that sense of “wtf” I had when I was reading it the first time.
8. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens. Okay, I’m not too shy about the fact that I really dislike Dickens. However, I feel that part of that is probably because we were forced to read a few of his novels in high school, and I disliked most books I was forced to read in high school mostly because of the whole “being forced to read them” thing. I wish I could read A Tale of Two Cities for the first time as a college grad so I wouldn’t be so prejudiced against it after hating it in tenth grade.
9. Bossypants – Tina Fey. If only because it’s hard to want to reread a memoir. It was really good when I did read it, but I feel like reading it again would be sort of weird.
10. Desperation/The Regulators – Stephen King. When I read these companion novels, I read Desperation first, and ended up liking it better. I’d like to go back and read The Regulators first to see if I would like it better had I read it first. The stories parallel each other in weird ways—hence the “companion novel” thing—but are also pretty different; you should check them out for yourself!by