5 Books I Wish I Could Read for the First Time Again

There’s something magical in reliving the reading experience.

5 Books I Wish I Could Read for the First Time Again
Anangsha Alammyan on Instagram

There’s something magical in reliving the reading experience.

“God, I’m so jealous of you. You get to experience all that magic for the first time.”

That’s what I told my friend when she said she was going to start Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind.

“But why? You can read it again if you wish.”

How do I explain to her that even though I can read it multiple times, there’s something special about reading it for the first time? I have, in fact, read The Name of the Wind twice already, and each time, the magic has manifested itself manifold — making even the smallest plot points and foreshadowing shine.

The feeling of being a newbie being introduced to a magical world is priceless. Nothing can replicate it, no matter how many years you put between your first read and your subsequent ones. This is probably a feeling only book lovers will be able to relate to.

In this article, I’ve listed five books I wish I could read for the first time again. These books are all fiction because I believe no matter how many times you re-read a non-fiction book, you can always uncover another layer and learn something new.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Genre: Science fiction

Image: Goodreads

Arthur wakes up one fine morning to see a bulldozer in front of his house. They are ready to crush all his belongings into oblivion because his house stands in the way of a new highway that’s being built. When Arthur asks why he was never informed about this, he’s told that the notice has already been out for three months, and now it’s too late to complain.

Imagine Arthur’s shock when he learns that while he was doing his best to protect his house, his planet, the Earth was about to suffer a similar fate. A fleet of spaceships by the Vogons was just outside the atmosphere, ready to blast the planet because it stood in the way of the new Inter-Galactic Spaceway.

Why I wish I could read it for the first time again

It’s always a delight to read comedy, but nothing beats the charm of the first foray into it. I’ve read this book several times over the years, but the first time is like a punch to the gut — in the best way possible. The humor comes at you from all directions, especially when you least expect it.

The second, third, and fourth reads are just as funny, but nothing beats the pleasure of those surprise laughs that assail you when you first read it.

Purchase the book here.

2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Genre: Thriller/Murder mystery

Image: Goodreads

Ten strangers trapped in a little house on an island far away from civilization. The only thing they have in common is that they were invited by a millionaire who’s nowhere to be seen.

A mysterious rhyme is spotted hanging in every corner of the room, but the panic starts to mount when the people start dying out one by one according to the sequence mentioned in the cryptic rhyme.

One thing’s for certain: before the weekend is out, there will be none left. But the question remains: if everyone has to die and they are the only ones on the island, who’s behind all the murders?

“Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight... One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.”

Why I wish I could read it for the first time again

I’ve read several murder mysteries, but none as unexpected as this one. The plot is so gripping, that even after the last chapter is done, you’ll be left wondering how someone managed to pull off all the crimes. It’s only in the epilogue where your questions will be answered.

Gosh, I’ve read this book so many times, but the adrenaline rush of the first time around was something of another level. I wish I could go back in time and experience that again.

Purchase the book here.

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Genre: Heist story in a fantasy setting.

Image: Goodreads

In the mysterious island city of Camorr, a young orphan tries to navigate through life. He fights the odds stacked against him and ends up in the temple of “The Nameless Thirteenth” — the God of thieves.

And thus begins Locke’s training to become the “Thorn of Emberlain”, the highest revered, most feared thief the city of Camorr had ever known. The only problem? Locke might have been born at the time one of the deadliest coups in history was happening. Thanks to his flamboyance and his unapologetic sass, Locke and his friends find themselves right in the middle of a bloody battle they had nothing to do with.

“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

Why I wish I could read it for the first time again

The book follows a highly non-linear narrative, flashing back and forth between Locke’s past and present. When I first read it, I thought the flashbacks were meaningless, existing only to serve the author’s self-indulgence. Only when I completed this book and the later parts in the series, did I realize the enormous potential they had to influence the plot.

If I ever get the chance to read this book for the first time again, I’d pay special attention to the events of Locke’s childhood, of everything that shaped him into who he turned out to be. Spotting some of the Easter eggs would have made this an even more interesting book had I been conscious.

Purchase the book here.

4. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Genre Urban Fantasy/Magical realism

Image: Goodreads

Saleem Sinai is a special child. Born at the stroke of midnight at the exact moment of India’s independence, he has no idea how the time of his birth would lead to a series of unique coincidences that would change the trajectory of his life forever.

What he considered to be his “issues” were actually magical powers bestowed on him by virtue of the time of his birth. And what remains yet unknown to Saleem is that there are other children in different parts of the country — each born at midnight, their lives tied together irretrievably because they came to the planet at the time a new country was born.

“Memory’s truth, because memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else’s version more than his own.”

Why I wish I could read it for the first time again

The language is so beautiful, the magic of it was lost on me the first time I read it. Also, the way the story unfolded has a rhythm of its own. Like fine wine gets better with age, this book becomes more magical on each re-read.

But there are some points where I discovered a potential plot-changer and I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know if I was right. Only the first read can give the dopamine hit of that insane craze.

Purchase the book here.

5. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Genre: Fantasy fiction

Image: Goodreads

Kote runs a small inn on the outskirts of the town. Kvothe was a magically gifted young man who grew up to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. When a traveling Chronicler stops by Kote’s inn and says he looks like the legendary Kingkiller, Kote’s secret world is threatened to be overturned.

What follows next is a series of anecdotes Kote narrates to Chronicler, telling the story of how he grew up as a young Edema-Ruh without a family to how he became one of the most feared and respected men in the history of the land.

“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.”

Why I wish I could read it for the first time again

After reading a string of fantasy novels that failed to deliver on their premise, this book took my breath away. I still remember the feeling of being introduced to all the magical elements of the world Rothfuss has so brilliantly crafted. No re-read can ever bring that feeling of awe back, because the surprise is now replaced by a sense of familiarity.

Purchase the book here.

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