Monday, November 06, 2006

AN OSM TOP TEN LIST OF . . . BOOKS I'VE READ MORE THAN ONCE

1) GORILLA, MY LOVE by Toni Cade Bambara
I love short stories and this collection sits at the top of my list of favorites. I'm pretty sure I've read this particular book more than twice.

2) A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND by Flannery O'Connor
If I were stranded on a deserted island, this short story collection by O'Connor would be one of the three books I'd want to have with me. I love the Southern flavor, feel and honesty of these stories.

3) SULA by Toni Morrison
What can you say about Ms. Morrison? Her prose is breath-taking. I've underlined so many passages in my copy of Sula, I'd be ashamed to loan it to anyone. I've read this book at different points in my life and I've drawn something different from it each time.

4) SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison
This is one of the those books that forced me to read it a second time, in order to "get it." But again, Ms. Morrison's prose is so beautiful, diving into it a second time was more of a pleasure than a task.

5) A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorriane Hansberry
I "borrowed" this book from my mother's book shelf when I was in high school and never gave it back. The screen version (starring Sidney Poiter) is also one of my top ten favs when it comes to movies.

6) FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE / WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF by Ntozake Shange
This was "the play" back in the day. I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of my friends star in the early 80's stage production LeMoyne Owen College presented of this work.

7) THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X as told to Alex Haley
My father gave me this book to read when I was 13. The impact this book had on me is hard to describe. In short, reading it was truly a life-altering experience.

8) THIRD GENERATION by Chester Himes
This is another book I borrowed from my mom's bookshelf and never returned. I'm still not sure I understand the story, but the beauty of Himes's prose pulls me in every time. I'm thinking I may very well read it again sometime soon.

9) MULES AND MEN by Zora Neale Hurston
Even though a great portion of this book is written in dialect (which I personally can't stand) its emphais on African American folklore appeals to the anthropologist in me. Unlike a lot of folks, I'm not a big fan of Hurston's fiction. Hate to admit this, but I didn't read Their Eyes Were Watching God until a few years ago and I still don't see what all the fuss is about.

10) IN SEARCH OF OUR MOTHERS' GARDENS by Alice Walker
This is one of my favorite collection of essays. I'm actually a bigger fan of Walker's essays and short stories than I am of her novels.

The list of books I've read more than once is actually much longer, but 10 seems like a good place to stop. So, what books have you read more than once? I'd love to see one or two or heck even ten from your list, if you feel like sharing. If you're too shy to share in the comments section, feel free to communicate with me via email. My address is : after.dance@hotmail.com

12 comments:

FeLicia said...

Books I've read more than once (generally something I don't do because I know how it's going to end.)

1. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury: The first book I ever read. As a second grader, I begged it off a high school student and it took six months to read. Even with a dictionary, I couldn't understand half of the words, but finished it just to prove to that 10th grader that I could read it.

2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Very bored in junior high and chose that over DUNE by Frank Herbert because I felt I was a big enough nerd without making it worse. Read again as an adult because I didn't think I gave it a fair reading in jr. hi.

3. Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: Willliam Shirer. Read several times because it proves that WWII wasn't the "good war" that we've convinced ourselves it was.

4. The Parable Series, Octavia Butler: Can't get enough of them.

5. Beloved, Toni Morrison No telling how many times I've read this book. Three or four.

6. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison. Read it a long time ago then when it was an Oprah Book Club selection.

7. The Stand, Stephen King. I have read a couple of his books more than once, but this is my favorite. I like the way he pulls all of his characters stories together for that final confrontation. I don't like the way he portrays the black woman, Abigail Freemantle, even as a kid, she seemed like the 'self-sacrificing negro', but at least he puts black folks in his novels.

8. The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron. Have read this several times in my life and the last time I read it, about three years ago, it bugged me because I thought the author's reasons for Turner's rebellion were trite, and never looked at the whole degradation of slavery. Maybe if I read it again, I'll feel different.

That's my list. I don't have a top ten, because there are so many good books out there, that I feel like I should read as many as I can without repeating myself. Re-reading is good. The way we feel about a book changes as we change; we see different things each time we read and have different reactions depending on where we are in life.

FeLicia

Lori said...

FeLicia,
What a great list! I'm not much of a Sci-Fi fan, but I've read one of the books in O. Butler's Parable Series and really loved it. I just haven't been able to get around to reading more of her work.
Ahh, The Bluest Eye. Wonderful book. I'm pretty sure I've read that more than once as well. Now, Beloved? Getting through it once was a struggle for me. So, I applaud and envy your willingness to plow through it over and over again. You go girl! Lori D.

Sharon J. said...

I've only read one book more than once, and that was "Black Ice" by Lorene Cary. The only reason I read it twice was because I wrote a book review about it. I think I might read "Sula" again. I had a teacher at the Hurston/Wright Workshop list it on the top of his favorite books. I ran into a casher at Starbucks who read "The Coldest Winter Ever" by Sista Soulja 15 times. That was good book, but not that good.

Lori said...

Sharon J.,
Wow, 15 times?! I have yet to read THE COLDEST WINTER EVER once (smile). But it is on my book shelf and I do plan to take it on before the year is over. SULA is always a good one to re-read. So many books, so little time. Thanks for the comment. Lori D.

Sharon J. said...

I guess we can credit or blame "The Coldest Winter Ever" as creating the great public interest in urban fiction. I can say it's an excellent book, a real page turner. "Pimp" by Iceberg Slim and "Dope Fiend" by Donald Goines are also well written urban lit books.

Lori said...

Sharon J.,
I don't know . . . Based on what I've heard, THE COLDEST WINTER EVER is several cuts above most of the so-called "Urban Fiction" being thrown at us these days. I tried to read Goines back in the day, but I wasn't too impressed. I prefer Chester Himes, if and when I read "street fiction."
Lori D.

Sharon J. said...

I read "Cotton Comes To Harlem" by Chester Himes, and it was okay. The movie with Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacque.

FeLicia said...

Ima nerd, what can I say. I've always been drawn to the mysterious, the otherworldly, but then again, I grew up with the family cemetery in sight.

MR said...

I'm with Felicia as for drawn to myterious/otherworldly! My list is almost all SciFi/Fantasy. Most of them BIG stories. When I read I like to be swept away to...anywhere else...and the books I'm drawn to over and over create worlds that are so real...because of the care the authors have taken to make them real...that I can't help but to "suspend my disbelief". They are: Watership Down by Richard Adams; The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin (one of my favorite authors); The Word for World is Forest by LeGuin (again); The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert; The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. And this one...A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Confederacy is not SciFi/Fantasy. It's kind of Tragi-Comedy (?) Although, for me, more comedy. Toole gets New Orleans so *right*! This is the only book I have ever laughed out loud at. I want to mention also 2 books that I go back to if I want to capture a bit of childhood. They are "The Forgotten Door" by Alexander Key and "Gone Away Lake" by Elizabeth Enright.

Lori said...

MR,
What a list! I didn't know you were into Sci-Fi so tough. You know I've been wanting to read A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES ever since you first mentioned it to me years ago. Perhaps at some point, I'll post a list of books I've been meaning to read, but haven't gotten around to yet. Appreciate you sharing. Lori D.

Keith said...

I read Jean Toomer's "Cane" more than once. Not because I'm deep, but because the book is short, challenging, and I'm an idiot when it comes to that kind of stuff. In fact I think it's that time of year again to dust it off, read it, and be mad about how literary I am not.

Lori said...

Hey Keith,
I've read "Cane" a couple of times as well. But for the life of me, I can't tell you what it's about. I may need to add that to my list of books I "need to read again." (smile). Thanks for adding your comments to The Mix. Lori D.