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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

243

Like a (Book) Virgin

Ta-Nehisi Coates is reading the SUPERB AND PERFECT The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman, for the very first time, which causes me to wriggle with envy. I would love to read it again for the first time, with any of these fabulous covers. For whatever reason, it's always sci-fi I feel this way about: Nova, or The Left Hand of Darkness, or Dangerous Visions.

Roger Ebert once said that he had a college professor who said he would give anything to read Romeo and Juliet again for the first time. Which struck me as a little odd, because, not to be a jerk, but Romeo and Juliet over King Lear? Or Twelfth Thing? But that's not it, is it? Sometimes it's where you were and who you were when you read it, that's what you're chasing. A huge stack of decaying, luridly-illustrated sci-fi paperbacks stuffed under your bed. A copy of Matilda from a sympathetic supply teacher (Donald Sturrock's Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl, which is, ugh, MANDATORY READING FOR EVERYONE, reveals that Dahl's original draft portrayed Matilda as a vicious, "born bad" type, who used her powers to rob people. Which might have been...kind of great, in a different world.)

Which book would you read again for the first time, if you could? It's not necessarily the same as your favourite book, or even your most formative book. It might be, though, for you?

While we're out of the desert of the real, is there a book you wish you'd never read? Not flippantly, because you just didn't care for it and wish you'd invested the time elsewhere, but really, honestly, because you don't like what it did to your life? Or because you saw the universe in a certain way afterwards, and you'd rather not? I almost feel that way about Jeanette Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, even though it is truly wonderful, because I wanted Winterson to have had a better childhood. Winterson probably does too, come to think of it.

So, then. What are we reading again for the very first time, and what are we Eternal Sunshining out of our minds?



243 Comments / Post A Comment

cheerybeggar

It is so not-a-literary-giant of me, but when I see people reading The Hunger Games I wonder if it's their first time. Then I get jealous because of how much I couldn't put that book down when I first read it, and I love that feeling.

OhMarie

@cheerybeggar Oh yes, I love that feeling of just being pulled through a book. So great.

SarcasticFringehead

@cheerybeggar I vote that we all (including me!) stop apologizing for reading The Hunger Games, because it's not the end of the world when people read fun things, for fun.

And this is so timely, because just last Friday I was on the bus next to my co-worker, and she was reading The Hunger Games for the first time, and I was jealous and also sad because I don't have the first one on my Kindle app so I couldn't start re-reading it then and there.

ru_ri

@SarcasticFringehead I have not read The Hunger Games yet, and have been putting it off because I know it will be like this. I need a good three-day stretch of no work so I can devour the books all at once.

And yes, pleasure reading! My latest guiltless pleasure is Elizabeth Bear. So good!

kid madrigal

@SarcasticFringehead In the spirit of the Unapologetically Reading Fun Things Safe Space, I could NOT put The Dresden Files books down (or The Hunger Games, for that matter).

toastercat

@all
I'm reading the series for the first time RIGHT NOW! Waiting to plunge into book 3 during a roadtrip next week with my parents. I stayed up til 3:30 AM two nights ago reading book 2 and was a caffeinated wreck yesterday...so worth it!

milenakent

Good article!!!!!!@n

The Lady of Shalott

I wish I could go back in time and never read The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. I don't think I'll ever get those images out of my head.

But I would also love to go back in time and be able to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Anne of Green Gables for the first time. Those are my two favourite books of all time and reading them for the first time was such an amazingly awesome experience that I'd love to have it back again.

RNL
RNL

@The Lady of Shalott Oh, let's ALL re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Anne of Green Gables. Over Christmas! By the fire!

SuperGogo

@The Lady of Shalott I would unread A Child Called It. For the same reason.

pearlforrester

@The Lady of Shalott A woman in my book club once made us all read The Painted Bird. I struggled through it, hating every minute, only to find that she had gotten her Kosinski confused and meant to recommend Being There. Not cool.

vunder

@pearlforrester Ouch!

somewhatafraid

@SuperGogo Definitely wish I could unread The Sum of My Parts by Olga Trujillo for that reason.

Sarah Rain

@The Lady of Shalott My unread: We Need to Talk About Kevin. Don't do this to yourself, anyone!

Inkling

@Sarah Rain
LIAR that book is awesome and birth control.

Bittersweet

@The Lady of Shalott Seconding Anne of Green Gables!

I'd like to un-read Outlander. It was a fascinating story with (some) interesting characters, but a lot of horrifying stuff I'd just as soon not know about.

(I wrote a blog post about it a while back.)

RNL
RNL

ENDER'S GAME.

And then:

ENDER'S SHADOW.

Sincerely, Jane

@When robot unicorns attack I could read Ender's Game for the first time for the rest of my life.

RNL
RNL

And I would un-read Stranger in a Strange Land. GFY, Heinlein, with your "the sexy little girl seduced the adult man" bullshit.

And then I would read Ender's Game for the first time again.

SarahP

@When robot unicorns attack I said the same thing below! Ugh, Heinlein.

RNL
RNL

And I would un-read Narnia with all it's anti-sexuality, anti-growing up, ant-woman bullshit. Replace it all with His Dark Materials.

cheerybeggar

@When robot unicorns attack I really loved Speaker for the Dead, so I would totally agree with some Orson Scott Card. You know, just those couple of books, not the later ones or the other weird stuff he writes.

Bittersweet

@When robot unicorns attack Sigh. Not going to argue with you about Lewis and Narnia (I only do that with melis) but I will be annoying and say "its."

damselfish

@When robot unicorns attack I would give anything to know that Card is not a giant douchecanoe.

Only not really, because I don't want to give him money. But I can never think of Ender's Game with the fondness I felt when I first read it, oblivious to the horrible man behind it and only mildly aware of his problematic gender stuff from the source material.

RNL
RNL

@Bittersweet Thanks for you're help!

Bittersweet

@When robot unicorns attack Haha, love it. I only have two big grammar bugbears, and the "its/it's" thing one of them.

Judith Slutler

Middlemarch. I just read it this summer, but still!

Honestly though I think about this a lot more when it comes to movies or music. So.

lobsterhug

@Emmanuelle Cunt I read Middlemarch earlier this year too! So good!

Decca

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yes, me too, possibly. Although with Middlemarch, it seems like it's the type of book that is meant to age with you and bear re-reading? I read it first aged about 19 and reread it this year, and only three years later it already seemed like a vastly different book. I can only imagine this will happen even more radically as I get older.

themegnapkin

I wish I could read Agatha Christie's mysteries for the first time, again. I <3 them so much that I blew through every one (I think?) except for Curtain, which I am saving. Every once in a while I will realize that I forgot the plot of one, so I get to have fun re-reading it.

veryanonymous

@themegnapkin Have you read Dorothy Sayers? If not, try The Unpleasantness at the Bellonna Club, or Lord Peter Views the Body.

you're a kitty!

@veryanonymous I wish I could read Sayers again for the first time (particularly Gaudy Night, which I can now quote pretty much all of) — it'd be amazing to read some of those words for the first time.

Priscilla Peel

@you're a kitty! Gaudy Night is my pick for the book I wish I could read for the first time again. I think I can quote the whole thing too.

Interrobanged

@themegnapkin I have such a shit memory that I immediately forget which person did it, so I have a never-ending supply of Agatha Christie books. Same with Ian Rankin.

Helvetica

@themegnapkin I've pretty much read all of them and then promptly forgot whodunnit. So, on the occasion I find myself reading one - or watching a televised episode - I manage to get halfway through until I remember all the necessary plot details. Not that it stops me from reading to the end.

bluewindgirl

@themegnapkin Oh man, Gaudy Night! I read the whole Wimsey-Vane arc my first year of college in one gulp, and I didn't have a car at the time, so when the library didn't have Busman's Honeymoon I took two buses to get to the Barnes and Noble at 10 o'clock at night.

I suspect I should Eternal Sunshine it, because it ruined me for normal human relationships where people don't propose in Latin.

Bittersweet

@themegnapkin Ooh, so jealous you haven't read Curtain yet! I saved it for years, and then just had to know what happened.

Gaudy Night was amazing, but Busman's Honeymoon infuriated me to the point where I might have actually thrown it across the room.

Bittersweet

@themegnapkin Also, if you like Christie and Sayers, try Margery Allingham. She is my favorite classic British mystery author, partly because her mysteries (and characters) are so eccentric and out-there. Albert Campion is kind of like Lord Peter, only not really.

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

It's not Shakespeare, but uhhhh... probably the Thrawn trilogy.

melis

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas OH YOU JUST COME SIT OVER HERE RIGHT BY ME IN MY ARMS

rianne marie

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Those books! I have given away my copies two or three times thinking that I really didn't need to keep my Star Wars fiction anymore. And then I hunt them down in used bookstores and gather them in my arms and apologize for leaving them.

breccia

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas whoa whoa whoa. i've seen some INTENSE comment threads about Thrawn and had no clue what was going on, but i just googled the books and I OWNED ALL THREE?? I remember the covers so vividly but I have NO recollection of the content. I think I was way too young to read a giant tome about intergalactic politics.

Perhaps it is time for me to read them for the maybefirst time??

Elsajeni

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Ohhhh, those are my choice too. (MARA! If they actually make these Star Wars sequels and they don't have Mara in them someone is getting cut.)

rianne marie

@Elsajeni YEESSSSSS. My stance on the new movies is that I am cautiously optimistic (they're bringing back old writers & Disney did great stuff for Marvel) but will switch to wildly happy the minute they cast Mara Jade.

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@y'all Sorry, gals. Some dummy feels totally fine giving up the best meet-cute of all time.

'So is [the Thrawn trilogy] the basis for Episode 7 or not? I've heard directly from LucasFilm and other sources close to the picture, and they say: Definitely not.

"It's an original story," a LucasFilm source tells me.

In other words, forget the Star Wars novels. Forget the graphic novels. Forget everything you think you know about what happens to Luke Skywalker. According to my sources, Episode 7 will literally be nothing you've ever seen or read before from the Star Wars universe.'

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@breccia Please DEFINITELY read them. Also, maybe you could've had the micromachines? http://www.starwarsmicromachines.com/galleries/micro-machines/micro-machines-epic-collection-heir-to-the-empire/

Elsajeni

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas I am also prepared to tolerate a sequel trilogy that's mainly about the children of the original-trilogy characters, because, hey, symmetry. But it sounds like that's not going to happen either.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Ok, this is giving me Feelings. Like, I'm probably getting more upset that I really should, especially when I need to study. But NO YOU DO NOT GET RID OF MARA JADE AND JASON AND JAINA.

Though, I did quit reading them around the time of That Thing That Happens To Chewie, where everything just went to shit and it was like the authors did not even care about the light side of The Force.

Megasus

Ummmm I don't know! I read A LOT, so usually when I go back and do a re-read it's almost the same as reading it for the first time, because I forgot so much.
I do regret reading Atlas Shrugged though, that book is fucking infuriating.

SarcasticFringehead

@Megano! The first time I read Atlas Shrugged, I didn't find it all that infuriating because I was still in an uncritical, "huh, that's an interesting idea like many other interesting ideas that will have no bearing on my actual life," but it did give me nightmares about capitalism. So I guess my subconscious had it figured out before the rest of me did.

wearitcounts

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night because it starts in one way and then it becomes something so totally, gorgeously, triumphantly and heartbreakingly different, and it's so elegantly written.

that and The Phantom Tollbooth 'cuz i've read it like 1083234829 times and it's awesome every. single. time.

Blondsak

@wearitcounts For years after I read PT, whenever someone would answer "Why not?" in my presence, I would immediately say, "It's a bit used perhaps, but quite serviceable!"

Very few people ever got it - the good news is, I'm still friends with the ones who did!

Judith Slutler

@wearitcounts I'm just now realizing I've forgotten everything that happens in The Phantom Tollbooth. I'm going to chalk this up to a kind neuron thoughtfully giving up the ghost and allowing me to re-read it fresh! (once the semester is over)

wearitcounts

@wearitcounts oh, and i'm not sure there are books that i wish i'd never read but The Fountainhead was so terrible i didn't finish it, so maybe not to have started in the first place?

wearitcounts

@Emmanuelle Cunt JEALOUS. enjoy!

@Gussie i often say "it's much more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be."

Pygmalion

@wearitcounts I'd love to read Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise again because I read it one summer as a teenager on the cusp of something, which was so fitting

wearitcounts

@Pygmalion This Side of Paradise is the last Fitzgerald novel i have left (interestingly, as it's his first). i almost don't want to read it because then i will have read everything he's written. (also i think his novels really got better as he aged -- what exists of The Love of the Last Tycoon would have been an absolutely breathtaking novel. so sad.)

George Templeton Strong

@wearitcounts Fitzgerald was a pretty prolific short story writer and most of them have been anthologized, so you have those to look forward to if you haven't read them already. (The quality varies, to put it mildly.) He was also a faithful correspondent and many of his letters, and maybe a diary or two, have also been published.

wearitcounts

@George Templeton Strong thank you! yes, i actually do own and have read all of his short fiction. and the new one that just got published in The New Yorker, "Thanks for the Light," i think it was called? that's the problem with Fitzgerald -- he's so great, but so easily conquered, just in terms of how much work exists to read.

ETA: i actually disliked "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" so heartily that i put it down with just a page or two left to go. maybe that's my "wish i could un-read" thing, because that was DE-pressing.

queenofbithynia

I would like to never-read Vivian McConnell's The Chinese Room and Colin Wilson's The Mind Parasites. Probably if I had been older than eleven I would have been fine. Tropic of Cancer and Lady Chatterley's Lover I could have done without too. but hands down worst childhood encounter was everything R. Crumb ever wrote and drew. Those last three were basically my feminist education IN HELL. why couldn't I have found a stack of hidden Playboys around the house like everybody else? man.

charlottecat

@queenofbithynia I'm kind of afraid to look it up now so I'll ask you: who is R. Crumb?

SarahP

@queenofbithynia Lady Chatterley's Lover was a waste of my time, but I kind of like being able to say that, so I don't think I'd unread it.

ru_ri

@queenofbithynia I stumbled across a copy of Fritz the Cat when I was about 8. TRAUMATIZED FOREVER.

queenofbithynia

@charlottecat Robert Crumb is I guess the biggest deal of all the big-deal underground comics artists ever. Lots of his stuff is obscene in a very racialized, violent, scatological or plain old gross way. A lot of the fouler parts are very clearly making points about certain types of white men, about middle-class culture -- I think there is a character called Mr. Whiteman in there somewhere? -- it isn't subtle but it isn't dumb either -- and all the ugliness is deliberate (and skillful) but is frequently stroke-book material at the same time. the drawings of women are sexually hateful in a way that would maybe not be shocking to all modern people but sure were to me.

he was also super into big strong muscular women in a way that kind of poisonous if that is the first time you encounter the exploration of such a taste.

bleah.

I am anti-censorship of kids' reading in all cases but this one.

vunder

@queenofbithynia Have you then avoided the Crumb film by Terry Zwigoff? That film is whoa.

ourlightsinvain

A few Discworld books, Night Watch especially! Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The whole Sandman run, iffy on Gaiman's prose work as I might be. Catch-22. More things than I think, come to think of it, the experience of reading a really good book and being surprised by how good it is is one I sorely miss. Oh, Watchmen. I remember where I was, physically speaking, when I read all those books, I suppose that says something.

Oh, shit, and A Song of Ice and Fire.

SarahDances

@ourlightsinvain I am actually enjoying A Song of Ice and Fire much more with each reading. I'm working my way through the whole shebang from the beginning again, and it's nice to actually know who all the characters are, whereas the first time I felt like it was all name soup.

A. Louise

@SarahDances name soup is a great way to put it. I'm currently reading the chapter summaries on A Wiki of Ice and Fire to put everything straight in my head before I reread the series again. It's pretty helpful!

meetapossum

@ourlightsinvain Just FYI, they are making a BBC miniseries out of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell! Everyone should know this news.

ourlightsinvain

@SarahDances I can imagine how that'd be too! I don't remember having trouble from AGoT to ACoK, back in 2003-2004ish, but I've had to keep more names and families straight in the recent books, partly due to the time gap. It's also fun to see what Chekhov's guns are set up plot-wise that you don't realize are a big deal when you read them the first time.

ourlightsinvain

@meetapossum Yessss I basically bounced all over the internet with Paul-Smecker-from-Boondock-Saints-there-was-a-fiiirefiiiiight reaction gifs when I found out.

notfromvenus

@ourlightsinvain Oh, Sandman, that's one. I read it first when I was 14-15, and it was cool, but reading it first as an adult I think might be a different experience.

lookuplookup

I would love to be able to read Connie Willis' Blackout (and it's sequel/companion, All Clear) again for the first time. Both books pull so many different narrative threads together so beautifully that by the time you're nearing the end it feels like you're being woven right in with the story.

I would happily unread almost every memoir I have ever read. (It's just clearly not the genre for me and yet I keep reading them! Why?!)

you're a kitty!

@lookuplookup I CAME IN HERE SPECIFICALLY TO SAY THAT. But as much as I wish I could experience them again for the first time, it doesn't stop me sobbing my way through the second half of All Clear every damn time.

Re: memoirs, if you're going to keep trying them, maybe try my favorite, Beryl Markham's West With The Night?

SuperGogo

@lookuplookup Oh man, I nearly bought both those book on Amazon just now because I was thinking fondly about To Say Nothing of the Dog. Guess I better go back and hit "buy"!

Sincerely, Jane

I wish I had grown up without reading anything by Beatrix Potter. I was such a fearfully obedient child and after rereading those books (AND ILLUSTRATIONS!), I'm beginning to understand why.

Dancercise

I just read this for the first time earlier this year, but I'd want to first-time-read We Have Always lived in the Castle again.

oboe-d-amore

@Dancercise Ooh, yes.

Reginal T. Squirge

It for both questions. It was the best thing ever and also ruined me.

SarahP

@Reginal T. Squirge I was just thinking I might want to read all of Stephen King again for the first time.

mittens blum

I want to say the Song of Ice and Fire books, but at least on re-reads I'm prepared for the fact that my emotions are going to be cruelly toyed with and then stomped on.

JessAndNo21

@mittens blum i am A Dance With Dragons-into a total reread. the good news is that SO MUCH GODDAMN STUFF HAPPENS that there are things that you truly forgot since the first time around.

the bad thing is that if i read the phrase "boiled leather" one more time you may read a news piece about a crazed woman hijacking an mbta bus ranting about a three-eye crow.

mittens blum

@JessAndNo I did a full series reread pre-DwD, so I barely remember DwD as it is in the fog of "MUST READ ALL THE ASOIAF." But most of my memories consist of an overwhelming sense of everything getting increasingly terrible for everyone forever, so I'm thinking of waiting until book 6 eventually arrives so that I can have some false sense of hope for improvement. Assuming that day ever comes.

And there is the word repetition problem.

Allie J

The Secret History. I enjoyed that from start to finish.

nowwhat

@Allie J I have friends who love this book but somehow I never read it, and used to think I'd missed the ideal window of life for reading it. Is it ever too late?

Chareth Cutestory

@Allie J Oh, I'm on my first read of it right now and loving it!

the roughest toughest frail

I don't know about what I'd like to read for the first time, but I wish I could un-read 'The Glass Castle'. I just ... did not like that book on many levels.

angelinha

@abetterfate Oh no, this is on my list! Why didn't you like it?

yeah-elle

I'd want to read The Remains of the Day for the first time again. Ugh, it totally wrecked me emotionally, in the best way.

ourlightsinvain

@yeah-elle Oh hell yes. It's such an impossible book to explain to people, but it's brilliant, I think it's much better than Never Let Me Go, actually, and I liked Never Let Me Go well enough.

Slutface

All The Babysitters Club books!

Lit Drunkard

It's poetry, but I'd love to reread Richard Siken's Crush for the first time again.

For nonfiction, "Please Kill Me" or "Just Kids". Please Kill Me, because I was lost 13 years old who wanted things and didn’t know what- other than she desperately did not and could not fit in. But punk music, that made it ok (and introduced me to a weird crush on Jim Carroll, culminating in reading with him at 18)

For fiction, Colum McCann’s short story “Everything in this Country Must”, Donna Tartt’s “Secret History” and perhaps “Atonement”. For the last two, I feel like where I read them was so powerful, that it’s one of the reasons I loved them so much

polka dots vs stripes

@Lit Drunkard oh man i LOVE atonement.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lit Drunkard "Atonement" is a perfect choice, because of the ending. You can't read it again and have that perfect sense of surprise.

themegnapkin

@polka dots vs stripes aaaaah, Atonement got spoiled for me. Is it still worth reading if you already know how it ends? Or should I wait until I forget (possible never)?

polka dots vs stripes

@themegnapkin YES! For the prose alone you should read it. I would quote my favorite passage that makes the library scene 100X times better I would butcher it and it doesn't deserve that.

Lit Drunkard

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose oh gosh that ending- the guilt! the perfect attempt to ease it

Helvetica

@Lit Drunkard Yes to Atonement! I was maybe 15 when I read it for the first time and it blew my mind.

JessAndNo21

@Lit Drunkard I read Please Kill Me at least every year. Also Legs McNeil is from my hometown which I find both terrifying and perfect.

nowwhat

I don't exactly regret reading The Piano Teacher, but I know that I'll never need to read it again. The emotional brutality (brutal emotionality??) has really stuck with me.

Flora Poste

@nowwhat Completely agree with you, it's so good, but so bleakly difficult to read.

SarahP

I almost wish I could unread Stranger in a Strange Land, because after reading I lost almost all respect for the friends of mine who like it.

ourlightsinvain

@SarahP Augh, I don't even remember anything about that book aside from wishing it was over.

RNL
RNL

@SarahP I literally destroyed it with my bare hands. First and last time I've ever deliberately ruined a book.

Even at 16 I knew that child rape apologist crap was some BULLSHIT. Broke my heart/made me sick that my dad and his writer friends all love it so.

Elsajeni

@SarahP Relatedly, I would like to unread Podkayne of Mars.

ourlightsinvain

@Elsajeni I dunno if I've read anything that ended in the words "of Mars" that wasn't a bad decision. Maybe a Bradbury story or two. He is an exception to my anti-Mars policy.

pterodactgirl

@SarahP Stranger in a Strange Land has some really gross sexual politics, but as I recall so does The Forever War, which never gets called out about it. At least people talk about the weirdness in SIASL! I almost put TFW down in disgust at something like chapter two when the female space marines are forced to have sex with the men who've been stationed on some outpost all by their lonesomes for a whole year (poor things.) The women clearly don't want to, their male colleagues watch and laugh--it's all pretty much like rape! I kept reading because of all the glowing quotes about it from people I respect, but I did not like it. Haldeman spends more time describing the breasts/bodies of all the women characters than he does their personalities, but he doesn't really describe anyone's personality very well so maybe I'm supposed to let this slide? Later in the book everyone is gay--except the sympathetic characters! They're not REALLY gay because ew. Also all the sympathetic women characters secretly have ladyboners for the main character/authorial stand in. I have a ton of respect for Nicole's opinion and usually mine is really similar to hers, but I have to say I found a lot to dislike about this book. Has anyone else read it? Is there something I missed about it or some reason why other people don't object to the things in it I found so objectionable?

pterodactgirl

@SarahP Sorry that that turned into a semi-unrelated rant....

damselfish

@pterodactgirl I kept reading because of all the glowing quotes about it from people I respect, but I did not like it

I haven't read TFW so I can't speak to this specifically but "problematic gender things in books my friends recommend to me and no matter how much I explain they can't see why it's bad" is my life story as a SF reader. NO. I JUST DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT RAPE.

I don't care if the men are lonely.
I don't care if it's to repopulate (McCaffrey! You should know better than to turn all the women into broodmares!)
I don't care. There is no excuse. Ever. Just admit that it is bad! Christ.

pterodactgirl

@damselfish Agreed. I can see where Haldeman's going with it in the case of TFW--he wants, I suppose, to show how the main character is moved from a heteronormative society to a homonormative one and how that is dislocating for him. But he also plays a rape scene for laughs. And nobody (except for a couple of the Amazon reviewers) ever brings this up in discussing the book. Even Ta-Nehisi Coates in the linked blog post, while he invites commenters to discuss Haldeman's uncomfortable handling of the everyone-from-the-future-is-gay angle doesn't mention this scene. Ergh.

Reading classic SF as a woman can be really disheartening. Women are mostly non-existent in so much of it (Asimov, I'm looking at you,) and then you get people like Heinlein actively expressing some mind-boggling sexism. And Heinlein actually writes a decent female character! They're just all complete Joan Holloways, so even though they're intelligent, they automatically take a back seat to the male characters at every opportunity, while saying things like "Every time a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault." BRB, vomiting.

SarahP

I don't think I want to read any book again for the first time, because what if it turns out my life situation at the time of reading it is part of what made it so awesome?! I don't want to know!

wearitcounts

@SarahP oooh. that's a really fair point.

BosomBuddy

@SarahP I think about this every time I consider rereading something. I read Wuthering Heights for the first time at sixteen and the second at thirty, and my older self could not understand what my younger self thought was so great about that book. I was obsessed with it as a teenager, and all I could muster during the reread was a WTF?!?

oboe-d-amore

@SarahP Yeah, I was going to say Tamora Pierce's Alanna books, but if I read them for the first time now, I wouldn't love them nearly so much, I don't think. As it is, I'll just stick with reading them over and over again. :-)

mynamebackwards

when I finished The Road I actually threw it across the room and went to bed in the middle of the afternoon. I mean, I know it's a Good Book, but it kind of ruined my life for a day or so. or maybe forever.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@mynamebackwards I had to put one of my books down recently because I was so mad at it and crying about it in the bathroom. Then I picked it back up because I like punishment, apparently.

charlottecat

@mynamebackwards I actually remember hating that book but it never really ruined by life. I just had to read it for English class and I thought it was horrible. That's also one of the very few English books I've been assigned that I never finished... I just couldn't stand it, though.

Lit Drunkard

@mynamebackwards The Road is the closest I've ever come to throwing up after finishing a book- and I read Tyra's Model-land

pterodactgirl

@mynamebackwards @I'm Right on Top of that, Rose This is how I felt about Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I read it for the first time. It's a Good Book, and I really appreciate what Hardy was trying to do with it, but the way everyone treats Tess made me so viscerally angry and upset that I tossed it aside fuming many times only to pick it back up and begin angrily plowing through it again.

damselfish

@mynamebackwards It's a good book only in that it makes an amazing douche-meter. Is it a guy's favorite? He is a douche and he has gross opinions about women. I have yet to meet anyone who breaks this rule of thumb. I'm sure they exist, I just haven't met them.

I'm sure this could also go for women but I've never met a woman who had it as a favorite.

arielleann

This idea has been sort of rolling around in my brain for awhile, actually, because I'm tutoring for a class where everyone just read Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveler for the first time, and I keep wishing I could go back and savor the rewarding disorientation and amazement that I experienced reading it for the first time.

Sometimes I wonder if I wait long enough between readings, it'll feel the same... Not sure it's worked yet.

Liz81

@arielleann I just finished reading that, for the first time! I had never heard of it before, but a friend recommended it. I love how well Calvino managed to stop each "First Chapter" right where your interested was really grabbed.

ourlightsinvain

On the other hand, I wish I could get back the scattered piecemeal hours I spent in hand-to-hand combat with The Night Circus.

Kristen

@ourlightsinvain say more?

ourlightsinvain

@Kristen Lessee, I think there's a scathing Amazon review somebody wrote that more or less sums up my feelings, but... it's incredibly ahistorical, it contains basically the worst attempts at British English I've ever seen from an American writer, and it has a Japanese character who walks around being mysterious and Oriental and naked. :\ DNW. Also it's clunkily written and nothing happens in it.

somewhatafraid

@ourlightsinvain Night Circus is one of my answers, too! My reasons are way less coherent than yours (I hadn't thought of those points, particularly (besides the clunky writing), but I agree with them). Based on the synopsis and the glowing reviews I read (on tumblr, admittedly), I was expecting to love it, but I remember closing the book after I finished and thinking to myself, "Yes, that was certainly a book." I found it underwhelming, which wasn't surprising given the amount of praise I'd read before starting it, but then I had the feeling that my lack of enthusiasm was my failing, not the book's. Although reading it did lead me to reread The Tempest.

royaljunk

@ourlightsinvain

YESSSS, thank you so much for not liking that book. It was awful for all the reasons you stated. I'll add that it wrote a check for Epic Magical Romance that, for some reason, it refused to cash. UGH I HATE IT

The Night Circus got SO MANY great reviews and awards and I cannot for the life of me understand why??

Kristen

@ourlightsinvain That's awesome, thanks! I'll cross it off my list. I admit that I have a fascination with Erin Morgenstern because she is only a couple of years older than me, she grew up in a town close to mine, and there are a few other similarities in our biographies. Combine that with the fact that she has a blog that is pretty detailed and open about what it's like to be a Suddenly Famous Writer, I have recently spent a lot of time feeling intense envy of her/desire to have her life. I like that she's famous because it makes me believe that it could happen to me, but I haven't actually gotten around to reading her book (it's not really my style) and now I won't.

I read someone saying that they though it started out as Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell fan fiction. Any truth to that claim, do you think?

ourlightsinvain

@royaljunk Book critics, are for some reason, uselessly nice compared to movie or music critics. It makes me sad. :(

@Kristen Hee hee, that made me giggle aloud. That would be difficult unless you made Strange and Norrell badly written abusive parents forcing their kids to Pokemon battle or something. It reads more like she tried to rip it off inexpertly; interesting to know about her background, though!

royaljunk

@ourlightsinvain yeah, it felt like something that people thought they should like rather than something that was actually good. :/

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I get this feeling most with dystopian novels. I wish I could read "Never Let Me Go" by Ishiguro Kazuo for the first time again, without also having seen the movie. And anything Margaret Atwood writes, but "Handmaiden's Tale" blew. my. mind. the first time, as did "The Year of the Flood."

polka dots vs stripes

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I've been wanting to read Never Let Me Go but I'm so afraid it will ruin the movie (I've heard mixed reviews of the book) I just haven't done it yet.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@polka dots vs stripes OH GOD the book is sooooooo gorgeous and haunting and tragic. The movie doesn't even compare.

RNL
RNL

@polka dots vs stripes WHAT NO. The book is incredible. Much more powerful than the movie, I think.

polka dots vs stripes

@When robot unicorns attack okay okay maybe on the plane home for Christmas, I can be the weirdo who reads and cries in public (nope, didn't do that before...)

RNL
RNL

@polka dots vs stripes haha meep that would be an INTENSE plane book.

I recall watching Barney's Version on a plane by myself (the book is also better!) and sobbing and heaving and snotting. It was great!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@When robot unicorns attack Yes. The movie doesn't capture the emotions and nuance. It just can't; the book is too good.

@polka dots vs stripes You'll fly through the book, literally and figuratively. Also, it's cool to cry on planes and at airports, remember?

synchronized
synchronized

@polka dots vs stripes What everyone else said. I'm not one of those people who automatically recommend books over films, but in this case, the book is far better.

polka dots vs stripes

I wish I could read Siddhartha again for the first time, and I have such a terrible memory I have permanently excised anything I would have wanted to purge from my mind anyway.

I would also read Atonement again (see above). And Harry Potter. Definitely Harry Potter.

polka dots vs stripes

@polka dots vs stripes OH AND BARBARA KINGSOLVER. I wish I was discovering her for the first time.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@polka dots vs stripes The Poisonwood Bible opened up my high school mind.

Quinn A@twitter

@polka dots vs stripes I would also like to read Siddhartha for the first time again. Not because I loved it (I liked it well enough), but because someone I was falling for gave it to me and was all "THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE ME THE PERSON I AM NOW" about it. Nothing colours the way you read a book like having someone tell you it changed his or her life!

polka dots vs stripes

@Quinn A@twitter Yeah really! I try not to recommend books because "omg it changed my life" because I don't want to influence their reading of it. I'd like to re-read The Road for that reason, but that person is still in my life so I could never escape it.

I'm slowly realizing, also, that any good book I ever read I wish I could re-read for the first time. I just want to keep listing books. I did remember, finally, that I could very happily forget ever reading Heart of Darkness. I physically shuddered while reading that.

the roughest toughest frail

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose oh my god, YES. 'Poisonwood Bible' led to me reading 'The Bean Trees' which is one of my most favourite books.

polka dots vs stripes

@abetterfate Which led me to read Pigs In Heaven...

I recently added more Kingsolver to my wishlist, I'm excited to read more of her next year.

travelmugs

@polka dots vs stripes I'm excited to read "Flight Behavior!" Every time a new Kingsolver comes out, my heart grows three sizes.

PomoFrannyGlass

Ah, the things books do to our brains when we're young! I wish I had not read Generation X at age 14. I like Douglas Coupland a lot, but I think that book at that age contributed significantly to my bleak worldview. If I could have that first-read experience all over again, it would be discovering Lynda Barry and Francesca Lia Block in the library's YA section at 12. I still remember the covers and the excitement.

nowwhat

@PomoFrannyGlass Ditto on all counts!

ironhoneybee

@nowwhat Ugh: Generation X, but Ahhh: Cruddy.

charlottecat

I'd like to re-read Jude the Obscure for the first time. I feel like it says a lot about me that that one goes on the first list and not the second but it is just SUCH an AMAZING book. Also Main Street, because I majorly identified with the protagonist.

I can't think of anything I wish I'd never read. I remember hating The Stranger but I'm not sure it ever did anything to me in particular. There are books I'm glad I've never read though (Twilight. Anything by Ayn Rand. Also The Jungle because I just know it would be traumatic.)

wearitcounts

@charlottecat oh NO at some point when i was feeling far too sensitive i accidentally saw the end of the film adaptation Jude with Kate Winslet and you know the terrible, awful, horrifying thing that happens? they do a very realistic job of portraying it. scarred for life.

charlottecat

@wearitcounts Oh dear. I don't think I could handle watching a movie version of that book. Somehow everything is easier to deal with when you don't have to see it. That sounds terrifying.

wearitcounts

@charlottecat I KNOW RIGHT. there are movies that i won't see because i've read the books and i know i wouldn't be able to handle it.

Cakebot

@charlottecat OH MY GOD that note? On the door? Destroyed me. Destroyed forever.

charlottecat

@Cakebot Oh goodness I remember that note. So disturbing! I don't know how I can like that book so much.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@charlottecat ZOMG, Jude the Obscure and Main Street, two of my favorite books, too! We must be twinsies. The good news is that if you let enough time pass after reading a book, the second time around it can be allllllmost like the first time - I read Main Street at 18 and then reread it at 28, and all the satisfaction was still there. Also, I don't know if you've read Babbitt, but if you haven't, it could be a way of re-experiencing the newness of Main Street while still being a different book. It's a bit different, but the themes can be very complementary with Main Street.

Decca

@Cakebot This evening I went to my English department's Christmas party, which this year featured selected readings from the works of Thomas Hardy. The event was titled, I shit you not, "Because We Are Too Menny".

Cakebot

@Decca Unlike that particular scene, I like your English department.

ghechr

oooh I wish I could re-read Where the Red Fern Grows again for the very first time. It was the first book I read as a kid that made me cry. Poor Big Dan and Little Ann!
As for unreading a book, I wish I never read Intensity by Dean Koontz. This was a loooong time ago but I am still terrified by it. Clearly, I have no tolerance for scary things. (movies included)

ironhoneybee

I'd love to experience first read on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I'd happily unread Portrait of the Artist of the Young Man, even though it would only get me back a few hours of my adolescence. But you guys! If I could have like 3 hours of the 80s right now, how fun would that be? I'd happily trade that for the experience of reading that book.

Judith Slutler

@ironhoneybee oo, The Golden Compass is also a good idea!

But, I read that out loud to my boyfriend a few years ago, and the vicarious first-read was pretty awesome too.

Pygmalion

@ironhoneybee I so wish I could read that trilogy again. I read The Golden Compass for the first time in 5th grade and didn't understand a lot of it but I'll never forget my sense of wonder. I've reread all three books about a million times and catch something new with each read.

ru_ri

I wish I could read Snow Crash for the first time again. It is satisfying on so many levels.

I definitely have an "un-read" but I have deliberately wiped the title from my mind. It was some kind of alternate history set in China, had the most horrific rape scene in it ever. Why even put such a thing in writing? It was just gratuitous viciousness.

SarahP

I was about to say that there isn't any book I wish I could unread, because I feel like they've helped form my opinions/likes/dislikes.

But then I remembered Dines's Pornland, which I read for a book club. I didn't agree with her, didn't learn anything from her, and found her arguments to be so facile that I didn't even need to read it to "see the other side" of the issue. UNREAD.

Blackwatch Plaid

@SarahP Careful, the last time Dines was mentioned on here, a flamewar got started. I ought to know, since a good amount of it was directed at me :p

SarahP

@Blackwatch Plaid Oh! Thanks.

NEVERMIND YOU GUYS

Springtime for Voldemort

@Blackwatch Plaid To be fair, though, I think Nicole was pretty much trying to start The Sex Wars: Battle 3,492,632, given the original post.

Blackwatch Plaid

I have started reading, then failed to finish, Babbit about 8 times now? Every time it's totally new to me. No idea why that book fails to consistently to sink in, but I still enjoy it for what it is.

For unreading? I would probably go with Ethan Frome, because it's truly that terrible.

meetapossum

I wish I could read Native Son by Richard Wright and Lorrie Moore's Anagrams for the first time again. Also The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow.

I wish I had never read I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. I only read it because my mom gave it to me, and ugh.

Reginal T. Squirge

Native Son is a good choice.

Quinn A@twitter

I wish I could unread A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein, because I actually liked her better before I read it and now I'm worried that I'm going to appreciate her future work less.

Also, I would like to unread Songmaster by Orson Scott Card, because that is some disgusting homophobic bullshit. Not surprising, because he is a disgusting homophobic shithead, but I still wouldn't unread Ender's Game. Just Songmaster.

rianne marie

@Quinn A@twitter oh God, you had to remind me that Songmaster is hiding in my brain, didn't you?
The worst part is that I read it twice and didn't notice it was horrible until the second time.

I will never regret Ender's Game. Kinda wish he had written that and then stopped forever.

Quinn A@twitter

@rianne marie Sorry! And yeah, I do too.

Stingray Bikini

Being 16 and reading High Fidelity!

I'm not sure what it says about me as a 16 year old girl that I felt like Nick Hornby wrote that book for me, probably nothing good, but I'll never forget finishing it in one sitting.

Lucienne

@Stingray Bikini I really love High Fidelity too! Book and film.

cuminafterall

I wish I could read Never Let Me Go for the first time again, but without ever having heard anything about it, because the ending was spoiled for me before I even picked it up.

I'd like to un-read Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle, because when I read it I thought it would be a comfort book and it was Not That At All. I was already in a fragile state, and that book made me cry like a 2-year-old.

synchronized
synchronized

@cuminafterall The ending was spoiled for me too, but it still hit me really hard! Love that book so, so much.

stonefruit

TWELFTH THING ahahaha I just got that.

Liz81

@stonefruit I only got it after reading your comment! Hahahaha

distrighema

I read "The Savage Detectives" (don't know how to make italics?) during a really mopey freshman artiste phase and I identified with it hard, it was like my Favorite Book and I wrote a big paper on it etc. I went back a couple years later and re-read it and was shocked at how dark it was. It's still a good book, but it creeps me out a little that I was so into it the first time around.

Stacy Worst

Would like to read Helen Phillips' And Yet They Were Happy again for the first time, because it was so beautifully surprising.

And oh, to have never-read The Fountainhead. I was one of those little shits with an Ayn Rand phase. I got second place in that damn essay writing contest, completely earnestly. But at the same time, no regrets, eh?

Pygmalion

I'd love to read East of Eden by John Steinbeck for the first time again. You know that sense of sadness you feel when you're approaching the end of a book but you can't bear for it to be over? That, plus the sheer beauty and power of the novel made me cry reading the last, oh, 50 pages or so.

I would also kill to read every Harry Potter book for the first time again. I've read them so many times; I think the closest thing I can come to reading them for the first time is reading them aloud to my future kids. I can't wait to do that.

lobsterhug

@Pygmalion I read East of Eden in high school and it slayed me then. I've been meaning to re-read it ever since but haven't had a chance. Hopefully it's been so long, it will feel like a first read all over.

leonstj

1: "The Great Gatsby". It's my favorite book ever, and I actually re-read it every year around my birthday. I wish each year I could read it in one day, write 3 pages of what I thought about it, then have the entire day wiped from my brain. Each year I'd wake up, get brain-erased, re-read the book, then my previous years essays on it.

2: Can someone make me have never read "Zen & The Art of Motorcyle Maintenance". I read it at a...impressionable (18, about to drop out of art school, which going to had been my life goal since forever) point in my life, and basically had something like a nervous breakdown (or maybe it was one! It probably was.)....and the thing is...

I'm not so embarrassed about the breakdown itself. Things happen. It was one of the most formative couple days of my life. But god damn, am I embarrassed that that's the book that triggered it. (yep, i'm strong now, so you can make fun! At least it wasn't 'on the road' (although that did cause me to spend a month...on the road. my mom used to say when i was in my late teens and early 20s that 'maybe books just aren't something you should buy')

wearitcounts

@leon s all of Fitzgerald's novels, the first time, each ensuing time -- FEELINGS.

and yeah, Zen was some pretty terrible shit.

khaleesi

I'd love to reread Waiting for Godot, I first read it at 16 and it just blew my mind. The bleakness and absurdness of it, which then led to years in university discussing language's inherent emptiness and how silence is the ultimate form of communication.

chnellociraptor

I feel like this is the obvious, unspoken answer, but I would sell my unplanned firstborn to go back and relive each of the Harry Potter books for the first time. I'm of that lucky demographic who came of age with HP series, idly picking up the first one when I was 11 and racing through the seventh book hours after its release at 17. Obviously, I'm just one of legions who had that experience, but I have crystal-clear memories of how those books made me feel and I regularly wish I could revisit them. (Albeit I like re-reading them with the knowledge that Hagrid will live, so that's fine.)

Similar but not the same, I wish I could go to the theatre for the first time again. Or see Shakespeare performed for the first time again.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@chnellociraptor Reading a new Harry Potter book was always bittersweet for me, because I wanted to rush through it and find out what happened, but I never wanted it to end. But, on the plus side, they totally stand the test of time - I'm rereading them with my nephew.

polka dots vs stripes

@chnellociraptor Nope, I do too, and I grew up with them. I remember when the fourth book was released and I ordered it early from Amazon and it came the weekend of my birthday and I sat and read it....

I so desperately wanted to go to Hogwarts and play Quidditch after I finished the first book, it was almost a physical pain.

Springtime for Voldemort

@chnellociraptor Ditto. Or see Star Wars again. Especially this time, without knowing The Big Twists.

Minx

@chnellociraptor Yes, that was exactly what I was going to say. I would love to have my first time with the final Harry Potter book over again. I, too, grew up with my age roughly the same as Harry's. That last book was the capstone on a major bit of pop culture from my growing up years. The midnight showings, the online forums, the endless speculation of what would happen next, just all of it. That last book was sort of the end of an era. I remember getting it at midnight, taking it home, and not quite daring to race through it because then it would be over forever. I wish I could have that moment back.

WineRanger

I love re-reading "Geek Love", but nothing will compare to my first time. I gave that book to quite a few people that Christmas.

Andrea Mark Wolanin@facebook

OMG, I'm torn! I loved-with-a-capital-L Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm at FAR too young an age, but I can't help but wonder if unreading them would make me a kinder, gentler, less cynical person! But then current self would probably despise theoretical self. Ugh, paradox.

I would LOVE to re-read the first science fiction book I ever read; I can't remember what it was, but probably Ender's Game, Dune, or something lighter – Let's pretend it was PKD, though, Ok? I would love to re-read my first PKD book. I can only imagine the joy of my mind expanding.

BornSecular

I want to get the Stand & The Windup Girl Chronicle out of my head. Really, I want any rape scenes I've read out of there. I have a fairly active imagination, and my mental scenes always seem to come up an inopportune moments. You know, like when the husband and I should be having sexy times. Not that he creeps me out or is in any way like those characters, but my brain just goes some weird places on its own sometimes.

sandwiches

@BornSecular Yes, my brain does that horrible thing to me too, and it's the worst - so I would really like to unread The Sparrow (relatedly: I would like to unwatch Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I couldn't have sex for weeks after seeing that.).

Liz81

@sandwiches I was disturbed for a long time by the GwtDT movie. I saw it in theaters. Horrible experience. Really I've just gotten used to not thinking about it; if I start to think about it, I'm upset again.

lobsterhug

I wish I could unread American Psycho. I just didn't get anything out of it that I didn't already have from the movie.

Andrea Mark Wolanin@facebook

@lobsterhug Please don't ever read Glamorama. It completely raped my mind - 10 times worse than Psycho!

lobsterhug

@Andrea Mark Wolanin@facebook Ugh, even the wiki synopsis sounds awful! I think I'll be steering clear of Bret Easton Ellis in general

buckachu

@lobsterhug UGH thank goodness someone mentioned American Psycho. That's the only book I have ever deliberately abandoned. It just made me feel so.... ugh.

Decca

@lobsterhug If I meet someone who claims to love American Psycho, I instantly assume they're a literary nincompoop and/or a horrendous misogynist.

Jenn@twitter

Transmetropolitan. Because Warren Ellis, and also the ending, andandand AUGH it was amazing.

and probably Stories of Your Life and Others.

Clarisse McClellan

I would unread Fade by Robert Cormier. I don't remember how old I was when I tried to read it but I was definitely too young.

I wish I could read Woman in the Dunes again for the first time.

rianne marie

Every time one of these book recommending posts goes up my library hold list gets a whole lot longer. How did I find new books before The Hairpin?

lobsterhug

I would love love love to go back and read The Last Unicorn for the first time. The movie is one of my favorites and reading the book was one of the best experiences ever.

noReally

I would like to have Bridges of Madison County cauterized from my brain. When it was new, and I was young, someone told me it was, A: A true story, and B: The most amazing, blah blah blah. And because we were standing in a book store (a store where I was known, the shame) I bought the fucking thing in hard cover. And read it, with this feeling the whole time like, "Whaaaa?" waiting for it to turn into something else. The world owes me those hours of life back. That's the only book I've ever crossed my name out of before throwing it in the Goodwill box.

What'sUpMakeup

I wish I could re-read The Handmaid's Tale and The Giver. I do love me some distopias.

And it's not a book, but I wish I could watch Twin Peaks for the first time again. WOW BOB WOW

Lucienne

There isn't one book I'd like to be reading for the first time, but probably the top contenders are Brooklyn and Emma.

Normally my answer to this kind of question would be A Suitable Boy, but that book is big enough that every reread is kind of like a first read anyway.

kimkrypto

I'd pay money to read The Golden Compass for the first time. And The Birthday of the World, by Ursula Le Guin. Or Kindred, by Octavia Butler. Oh man! Even Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? - it's one of the only memoirs that was as compelling to me as a book. And lots of Borges - ohhhhh Borges. And Kim by Kipling! And all the Wooster/Jeeves books! And Dorothy Sayers!

I'd definitely unread all the rapey bullshit - all the Heinlein, some McCaffrey, all those goddamn Jean Auel books.

kimkrypto

@kimkrypto And The Master and Margarita!!

Helvetica

I actually read my favourite book once every year just to see if it still affects me. It's an Estonian author and book, so no good mentioning the author or the title but it's a dark humour children's book, much like Roald Dahl - and the delightful Matilda - and it just gets me every time. I've been reading it annually since I was 7, so it's been over 15 years and every year reading it restores a bit of my faith in humanity in case it's gone missing. That's the thing about great children's books.
And to read Virgin Suicides before having ever seen the movie. I still love the book but I would love to know if the movie - which I loved too - changed anything for me.
I wish I'd never read anything by Jane Austen. Not because I didn't love it so but because she ruined me for life. I'm a rather cynical secret romantic thanks to her.

whereismyrobot

I wish I could go back and read The Time Traveler's Wife again. I am not normally a romance sort of person, but I really enjoyed it.

Liz81

@whereismyrobot I loved that! I stayed up till 3am to finish it and then had to drive to my college bf's apartment, sobbing, so I could talk to someone about how amazing it was. Plus it mentions my favorite dance club ever, Berlin!

whereismyrobot

Is anyone else on goodreads? Does anyone want to start a hairpin group?

rianne marie

@whereismyrobot Goodreads is one of those sites that I joined, said I was going to use, and then keep forgetting about. A Hairpin group would probably help.

Decca

@rianne marie There is a Hairpin group! http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/69248-the-hairpin

whereismyrobot

@Decca No wonder I thought it was a good idea, I'm already in the group. What the hell has happened to me?

WineRanger

How could I have forgotten "A Winter's Tale"??????? I am so conflicted now a movie version is being made. I.just.don't.know.

buckachu

I just finished Gone Girl, and the first thought after I closed the book was "man, I wish I could erase that from my brain and read it again RIGHT NOW"

Renleigh

@buckachu ME TOO. I finished it last night and then just walked around in a stupor. I couldn't start reading anything else because I was still in awe of that book.

buckachu

@Renleigh Right??? Every fifty pages or so I would put it down and go "this.book.is.so.good"

Liz81

@buckachu Yes! I read it this summer over a weekend, and every moment I wasn't reading it, I was just dying to get back to it.

Kelly Link

I wish I could read I Capture the Castle again for the first time. Or almost any of Diana Wynne Jones's young adult books.

PoBoyNation

I would like to be able to read Fingersmith for the first time again. The plot twists blew my mind.

Lucienne

@PoBoyNation Yes! You sort of know there's a twist coming but you're not sure what it's going to be? And then BAM there it is. Amazing.

Springtime for Voldemort

I would unread Handmaid's Tale. God, I hated that book. And then I'd still live in this little world, before I realized that Atwood was also that lady I thought was totally nutters in high school, and lost all respect for her. And it's so big with similarly-minded ladies, so I feel like I'm missing out, but I can't stand Atwood.

darklingplain

I want to read Arcadia for the first time again. I usually find Stoppard a little obnoxious, but then he goes and writes something like that...

cupcakecore@twitter

I would like to un-read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Too much misogyny, rape, assault, murder...it was a little traumatic to read. It's an okay mystery but it's not worth trudging through the horrors surrounding it.

Books I would read again? The Dangerous Angels series, The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Lolita, an UnLunDun. Some of my favorite books, and while Unlundun is not the first China Mieville book I ever read, it's definitely my favorite. Oh an Paolo Bacigalupi's short story collection, my mind was absolutely blown reading it. The sheer creativity...it was amazing.

Inkling

The thing about these threads is we are granting our own first read wishes to other 'Pinners. You aren't be able to first-read Middlemarch again, but I will, so thank you.

Decca

@Inkling Yaaaaaay!

pterodactgirl

@Inkling Middlemarch is SO GOOD. Go forth and prosper, fellow pinner!

ccard

I'd like to read The Sparrow for the first time again. Gorgeous. Also, the Tripod Trilogy, because I loved that shit in fifth grade and don't think I can recapture that magic.

Charismatic Megafauna@facebook

I have commented on TheHairpin.com maybe twice in my life, but had to add my regrets to those of the Lady of Shalott. I wish I had not read the Painted Bird when I was 13. I'd read other Holocaust memoirs (Diary of Anne Frank, of course, and also Jack Kuper's Child of the Holocaust), which made me think I could handle the Painted Bird, esp. since it was fiction. I was wrong. Parts of it still haunt me.

I wish I could read Watership Down by Richard Adams for the first time again. Or Sabriel by Garth Nix. Or Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising.

sandwiches

@Charismatic Megafauna@facebook Oh, I would love to be able to discover the whole TDiR set again! (Except for the last two pages, which makes me endlessly sad every time.)

Minx

I can't think of any books I would unread. I feel like that's a pretty harsh penalty for a book. To me, unreading feels like theoretically censoring yourself from any knowledge of a book forever. It feels like something that should be reserved for books that made me a worse person for having read them or gave me a more harmful/negative view of the world, and I just can't think of any book I've read that did that to me. It makes me glad that I have yet to read a book that made me wish someone had protected me from it. I hope I never do, since unreading isn't real. (But maybe it's good that it's not real? I don't know.)

TRP
TRP

I would give anything to read Gogol's "The Overcoat" for the first time.
A. Solzhenityn's "The First Circle".
I never want to re-read Gulag of Archipelago, but invariable feel obligated for another round every couple of years, swearing off it will be the last time. Each and every time I read it, I find myself gasping, or newly shocked at obviously familiar passages, only somehow for whatever reason, the banality of evil makes me more terrified.

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Jak Down

Many cancers could be prevented by not smoking, eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, eating less meat and refined carbohydrates, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, minimizing sunlight exposure, and being vaccinated against some infectious diseases.early-detection-does-not-equal-early-diagnosis

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