Last week, I read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which I haven’t read since it first came out. Then I enjoyed myself at a literature class where an actual Harry Potter scholar helped us realize things like 1.) dementors cause clinical depression and 2.) if Slyterhins were muggles, they’d be the type that go to business school.

The whole experience had me wishing I had a blank week, Harry Potter books 1-7, and no clue what was going to happen next. To not know if Snape is good or evil? To not know how Harry defeats Voldemort? To not have to wait a full year to find out what happens next? Oh the thrill…

My memory is such that when I do revisit books, it’s practically a first read. But there are some books, and some incidents in books, that are unforgettable. (End of Half Blood Prince?)

An AS reader emailed us a long time ago and suggested a topic of conversation. What books do you wish you could read again, for the first time? We told her she should write it up. Enough time has passed that I’m assuming she’s not going to do it. (Laura—at the very least I want a good comment out of you.)

Books I wish I could read again for the first time.

  • The Book of Mormon. For those of you who, like me, can’t remember the first time you read the Book of Mormon or heard its stories, admit it: You’re curious how you would have responded. A book whose opening story includes a man inciting the rage of his community, then moving his once wealthy family into tents, and then sending his sons—who don’t get along with each other—back to take on one of the most powerful men in all of Jerusalem?  I’ve experienced a lot of things reading the Book of Mormon, but never suspense.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows. I do remember this being the first time a novel concerned me. By the time I read it I was aware that books were written by people, and I couldn’t believe a man existed who would chose to kill both dogs. The other day I told Lisa how sad that book is. “Yeah, but the red fern on the graves…” she said, and proceeded to tell me why the book was beautiful. There was red fern growing in that book?  One of my favorite books and I missed the point entirely?
  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Sigh. For a long time I said my dream man was a cross between Atticus Finch and Indiana Jones. The chance to start at nowhere and end up head over heels for Atticus Finch. I might even trade that for my first kiss with Levi.
  • Gone With the Wind. I’ve read this over and over. Every time I am somehow genuinely surprised when Frank Kennedy gets killed. But each reread sinks me a bit as I know what’s coming on page 1024. Oh, to have the fresh pleasure of throwing that book across the room when I finish it.

What book would you choose?