Sort of in order of how many times I’ve read each (though I don’t have exact numbers for any).
10. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
I have several Sedaris books. I don’t think I’ve ever told you guys the story about the time I met David Sedaris, but that’s why my copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim has a jack o’ lantern drawn in it. (It was the day before Halloween.) And I’ve read all of the Sedaris books I have many, many times, but Me Talk Pretty One Day was the first one I bought, so I’ve read it the most times. Somehow it never gets old, either. But as this list proves, I am one of those insane people who can read something they like over a thousand thousand times and never get tired of it.
9. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
I’ve got all of the books in the series, but by virtue of this one being both the first book in the series and therefore the one I acquired first, I have read it the most times. Honestly, I’ve only read the ones about her kids a couple of times, being as I acquired them later in childhood and being as I cared less about her kids than I did about Anne herself. I didn’t not like them, but I have a soft spot for those childhood adventures when Anne and her friends were being fanciful and absurd and theatrical, possibly because when we were young, my friends and I tended toward the fanciful and absurd and theatrical.
8. Strange But True by John Searles
I’m not even sure why exactly I’ve read this book so many times. I remember reading a chapter of it in – I think it must have been Seventeen, but it might have been YM, it was back in the day – and I thought it was interesting enough, so I found the full book. And the chapter that the magazine contained, while interesting, was very much not indicative of how dark and weird the book was. It’s timeline-jumpy, it’s dark as hell, it’s got plenty of characters who are in one way or another emotionally grotesque; as per the timeline-jumpiness, parts of it are written in present tense, and despite the fact that I tend to default to writing fiction that way, I don’t read many novels that are that way, so it sort of blew my mind. I just remember the first time I read one section, where it was describing Melissa, one of the protagonists, in her living room, and started in with “look on the coffee table,” “look in the fridge,” “be careful not to drop it because you’ll wake her.” I remember that that part sent chills up my spine. Also I’ve read it so many times because I notice something different each time.
7. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
I’ve discussed this one before, yes.
6. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman
I mentioned this one too, a really long time ago; how I’ve read it so many times the cover’s fallen off, how it means a lot to me even today (the first time I read it, I was probably about thirteen or fourteen and didn’t yet self-identify as a feminist, but I was on the way, and I’m sure this book helped me get there, whether or not I knew it consciously). There are parts of the author’s experience that I relate to on a really intense level and parts of it that I am still oblivious to, but I find all of it still quite interesting and refreshing.
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is one of my blatantly obvious lists in a lot of ways, though considering how much this book means to me, it’s sort of surprising it’s not higher up on this list: this is because though I’ve read it many, many times, I’ve also leant my copy to so many people so many times that it’s rarely in my own possession. I don’t even know who has it for sure (I think I know, but) and though I want it back someday to look over all my old high school age scribblings in the margins, I might just buy another copy to make sure I have one. I wouldn’t mind owning two copies. It’s that kind of book.
4. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
I’m about due for one of my rereads of this book; I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, but it’s a lot. And I’m not going to talk much about it right now, because once I’m done with that reread, whenever that may be, I plan on writing a giant post about it. It really is a lovely book and I love it in a lot of strange, messed up ways that are indicative of my warped sense of humor and also my warped everything else.
3, 2, 1. Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott
I’m pretty sure you all could figure this out. And honestly, if I was putting them individually on this semi-quantitative list, I’d probably put Little Men around the middle and Jo’s Boys toward the end. This is another one of those chronology-of-acquiring points; this is also because I have reread the original multiple times as an adult, but I haven’t reread the sequels since I was in junior high. One of the reasons these books top this list is because I have read them all countless times by myself and also read them multiple times with my mother when I was a child. (If I remember correctly, these and Anne of Green Gables the original were the only ones we read out loud multiple times; we read a lot of books once, but we’d often cycle back to these out of affection.) And anyway, these will always be some of my favorites.
–your fangirl heroine.