[Top Ten] Books I Could Re-Read Forever

That Artsy Reader Girl hosts Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly blogging meme for anyone to participate in (whether you have a blog or not). I’ve never participated in one before, but this week’s theme made we want to join in on the fun. I’m looking at this like it’s the end of the world, and I only have ten books to grab before going to the doomsday bunker. I’ve loved almost all the recent books I’ve read, but if it’s the end of the world, I want some variety – in tone, style, perspective, genre – than an all-contemporary list would give me. So, here are the ten books (edition specific) I could re-read until and after the end of time.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

I don’t like choosing one book to be my favorite, but this book will always hold the biggest piece of my bookish-heart.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

For the longest time (too long) I had only read the abridged version meant for children. That’s probably why I didn’t pick up the full-length version until a few years ago, and why I’ve never made an honest attempt to read the whole text until now. Although I’ve yet to finish, I’m in love.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

This is such a lovely book, but what makes my edition even lovelier (to me) is that it belonged to my grandfather. So forever I will carry it.

The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen

I read this book in college, and it was one of the first books I read that brought me out of my white western Maine upbringing bubble, and made me much more aware of the fact that the world is much bigger than me, myself, and I.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

If you’ve been following my blog and #bookstagram recently, you know I’ve become obsessed with Agatha Christie. Out of the three books I’ve finished so far, this one is my favorite.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I’ll gladly enjoy this classic novel over and over again in the apocalypse bunker with other Jane Eyre lovers, and will glare back at those on the other side who think this is too cliché of a choice.

The Fireman by Joe Hill

The most recently published of all my choices, Joe Hill’s book would remind me throughout the apocalypse of the state and part of the country I grew up in, and could be sort of a how-to / cautionary guide to surviving the end of the world. Its length is also perfect – as opposed to another one of my favorites, Station Eleven – because who knows how long the apocalypse will last?!

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

This is my one exception to the “grab only ten books” rule. Since I have the boxed set, and still keep all seven books inside the box, I could easily grab the whole box in an end-of-the-world scenario (the box is thinner than Joe Hill’s tome). Plus, we all know Emma Watson would survive the apocalypse so I’d rely on her to tell me Harry Potter -related stories.

Dao de Jing: The Book of the Way by Laozi (translated by Moss Roberts)

This is really the only philosophical book I’ve read that didn’t give me an extreme headache (granted, I haven’t read that many philosophical texts) – and I would need some spiritual guidance and/or repose in an apocalypse.

Two Gothic Classics by Women: The Italian and Northanger Abbey (edited by Deborah Rogers)

Two for one – ha ha! This book was assigned in one of my favorite English courses in college, by none other than Deborah Rogers herself. The Italian was written by Ann Radcliffe, and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Jane Austen repeatedly satirized Gothic novels and Ann Radcliffe in NA, so it’s quite beneficial to a reader’s analysis and understanding to read these texts one right after the other. And, this edition gives me one extra book to read in the bunker.

Can you list ten books you would willingly re-read forever? Link up a post or leave a comment on That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog, and tell me if you’d bring any of the same books I’ve listed to the bunker (I will then take them off my list and add others so our bunker library will be more vast).



  • Carrie Rubin

    The only one I’ve read on that list is Little Women. I read it twice when I was young. Loved it.

    I never revisit the classics. I really should. They’re such wonderful escapes. But I have so many books on my TBR list that it seems I never have time to reread the ones I’ve already read!

  • Jana 📚 (@ArtsyReaderGirl)

    Welcome to TTT! I love it when I find someone who is participating for the very first time. 🙂 I’d definitely save The Chronicles of Narnia, too. And I really want to read And Then There Were None. I’ve heard it’s many peoples’ favorite of hers. 🙂

    • Kelsey

      Thank you! And I’m definitely glad I decided to read Agatha Christie – I only wish I had started sooner! 🙂

  • Losing the Plot

    I share your appreciation for a good few of these. I might as well have lived in Narnia when I was a kid, I spent enough time there. I also enjoyed… my copy is Tao te Ching, but its old, based on that you might like The Prophet, it has a similar lyrical feel.

  • actualconversationswithmyhusband

    Since I was debating whether bound collections could count in a “ten books only” scenario, I’m on board with your boxed set loophole. There is something about that particular set, as well; I kept mine nicely in the box, and passed them on to my son when he was far too young to treat books nicely (he still doesn’t, if I’m honest, which is why he’s not allowed to borrow my books) yet that set were always kept pristine and when he packed them recently I saw that they’re all still in the box, though I know he’s read them many times.

  • Jennifer

    The Narnia series for sure (counts as 1 right?) All the Harry Potter books (also counts as 1) But my number 1 book would be The Unlikely Ones by Mary Brown. Then I’d have to add in other “complete” works of certain authors like Anne Perry, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe….If only my Kindle would still work in this scenario.

    • Kelsey

      I’m not sure how long your Kindle would last, but sets and tomes containing “complete works” certainly count! 🙂

  • ameliakwinter

    I’ve just added a whole bunch of these to my “must read” pile… and now I have to send the kids away so I can get cracking!

  • hotmessmemoir

    I have read none of these. Correction, I’ve listened to none of these. I always listen to b/c my commute is about 50 minutes each way. I will check out the sample on a few of these over at audible as I’m always looking for good recommendations. I’m currently listening to The Great Alone and so far so good. My preference is humor books so if you have any recommendations, send them my way!

    • Kelsey

      Oh I would recommend Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody – it’s narrated by her and it’s wonderfully entertaining. It would also be great for a commute because it’s made up of a handful of short, [true] stories. I’m new to the audiobook life, but that is one I enjoyed (The Magician’s Nephew from The Chronicles of Narnia is also very well narrated on Audible). 🙂

      • hotmessmemoir

        Ok, you are the second person to suggest her and at first I thought she can’t be funny but she must be so I promise you, she will be the next book. The funniest books I’ve read are from Chelsea Handler. I personally can’t stand anything she does with regards to tv and she is about as humorous as a cold but in her books, she is another person. So funny I’ve laughed till I cried and I’ve read 3 of her books at least twice. You must try her!

        • Kelsey

          Oh wow! Yeah, I’m not a big fan of her from what I’ve seen on TV, but I’ll definitely give her books a try. Thanks! 🙂

          • hotmessmemoir

            This is going to sound harsh but she fails everything except writing. My sister told me years ago to read it and like you, I was like, “she’s not even funny.” Then, in a book drought, I decided to try her and everyday I wish she’d write another.

  • Jennifer

    Out of this list, all of Agatha Christie’s works are my favorite. And then all of the Narnia tales. I’ll also take a Jane Eyre although I will admit I prefer watching Jane Eyre to reading it. I can’t remember my favorite version, but I think it might have been made for television, not the movies.

    • Kelsey

      I wish I had started reading Agatha Christie sooner, then I could be re-reading them for the tenth (or so) time instead of the first. And I feel that way about War and Peace (which I’ve never actually finished…); the movie captivated me all the way through.

  • angelanoelauthor

    I have read Northanger Abby at least ten times and always wondered if the book she references is actually real! (Though with the availability of Google, shame on me for never checking it out.) But you make an excellent point–reading both of these together as part of the analysis process to better understand Gothic writing particularly by women couldn’t be done any better way than this. As always KM, I find something valuable that I didn’t know before on your blog.

    • Kelsey

      Oh, that makes me so happy, thank you! 🙂 I would like to note that in Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen more explicitly mentions Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho than The Italian, but the latter was Ann Radcliffe’s last and more well-received novel (and made her more known as an important writer for Gothic literature).

  • Gary

    Good mix of books Kelsey and might well add a few into my TBR pile. Although it’s rather humongous at present! My constant reads include The Dark Tower series, Tolkien and Dracula. Last one aside, do the former still count as one each?

    • Kelsey

      I love contributing to people’s already towering TBR piles! Those are great choices; and they definitely count as one each. 🙂

      • Gary

        About two weeks ago I went into a book shop and decided to buy ten books that spread away from my normal genres. I figured as a writer I needed to explore. Buy is the wrong word mind…I won £50 in book vouchers so picked a day where they were offering promotions and discounts. 7p change from that and ten books. Total bargain lol

  • Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)

    Great list Kelsey – I have read Little Women, Jane Eyre, Black Beauty, the Agatha Christie, Narnia, Northanger Abbey – and they would all be high on my list! I would prob add in a Dickens (maybe Little Dorrit) and maybe something like The Pillars of the Earth & something by John Marrs…..Currently reading the Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse which I really like!!

  • A.J. Sefton

    Some there I haven’t read either. I tend to re-read classics and books from my childhood – to see if I still feel the same way about them. Usually I do! Tweeted.

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