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#MicroblogMondays 12: The First Time

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The twins and I are nearing the end of their first time reading the Harry Potter books.  We’re taking a break before book 7 to slow things down, and reading Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass series in the meantime.

A friend recently lamented that he had just finished a Neil Gaiman book and how brokenhearted he felt that he would never have the experience of reading that book for the first time again.  Sure, there will be the subsequent re-readings, but nothing compares to how you feel reading a book that you love for the very first time.  When you lose that particular-book virginity.  (Luckily, unlike your real virginity, you get to become a virgin again with each new book.  And no STDs!)

What book are you happy you read but sad that you’ll never again get to have a first-read experience of that book? (Even if you know that it gets better and better with each read.)  Mine are obviously Harry Potter.  The first-reads for those books are sacred, hence why I’m reading them to the kids.


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1. Persnickety 24. Tara 47. Mina
2. articulation 25. S 48. Running Nekkid
3. Lisa 26. Non Sequitur Chica 49. dennasus
4. Sadie 27. Itty Bitty Liddy 50. Katie
5. No Baby Ruth 28. Geochick 51. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess)
6. Turia 29. Solo Mama 52. sharah
7. Daryl 30. Shail 53. suzanna catherine wolfe
8. Just Heather 31. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 54. beloved burnt toast
9. Middle Girl 32. Mary Francis 55. # Microblog Monday Some Thoughts on Feminism
10. Reassuring Mondays @ Nabanita 33. Mali (No Kidding) 56. Chandra Lowe
11. D 34. Mali (A Separate Life) 57. Ellen O’ Neil
12. Uma S 35. magpie 58. Usha
13. Jen (Days of Grace) 36. Kasey 59. This Caring Heart
14. Karen (River Run Dry) 37. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds) 60. LAM
15. The Enchantress 38. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad 61. With Love, Tania
16. Infertile Girl in a Fertile World 39. Amber 62. Good Families Do
17. Doting Mom 40. Gil 63. Cristy
18. m. (the maybe baby) 41. Heather 64. obsessivemom
19. Gypsy Mama 42. Dubliner In Deutschland 65. Ke Anne
20. earthandink 43. Cynthia Samuels 66. Vinitha
21. stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 44. Mrs T 67. Symanntha Renn
22. Isabelle 45. gradual changes
23. JB 46. Waiting for Baby


1 Persnickety { 11.17.14 at 5:34 am }

Most things by Lois McMaster Bujold, but especially A Civil Campaign. I love how her books have great stories and great characters, but also have moments of absolute truth.
Also anything by Diana Wynne Jones. I think Howl’s moving castle and a tale of time city are two of the ones I enjoyed the most, but also Hexwood.
Sarah at Smart bitches has spent at least half of a podcast (and bits of others when doing interviews) talking about this experience and which books cause envy of being able to experience them for the first time.

2 Rachel { 11.17.14 at 5:49 am }

Definitely Harry Potter – there was something about not knowing how it would all turn out that made that experience so tantalizing. Also the Narnia books where magical to read (and had quite the kicker at the end).

3 Rachel { 11.17.14 at 5:50 am }

Ack, *were not where

4 md { 11.17.14 at 6:22 am }

hmm, i’m not sure. harry potter i guess.. but you know, i sometimes prefer rereading than reading for the first time. once you know the ending, it is easier to focus on certain aspects of the prose and plot that you missed as you ran headlong to see what was at the end.. if only i could retread the path of life as well πŸ˜›

5 lisa { 11.17.14 at 6:33 am }

I don’t re-read many books but do return repeatedly to a book called Mr God, This is Anna. It manages to touch me every time, even though I know it so well.

6 Karen (River Run Dry) { 11.17.14 at 6:33 am }

In recent memory, definitely Harry Potter. I also felt that way about (I can’t believe I’m admitting this!) The Davinci Code. Mostly because it was only the first reading where I could get past how awful the writing was. πŸ™‚

When I was younger, though, I felt that about nearly all the books I read; I was always disappointed when they were over, but I actually know why… until you posted this now. The first reading of a book is magic. It’s never the same on the second reading.

7 Sadie { 11.17.14 at 6:40 am }

Huh, that’s an interesting question. I can certainly think of books in which I’ve become so attached to the story and characters that I didn’t want them to end, but never particularly to a first reading…I think for me, really special volumes are ones that always reveals new gifts in each re-reading, hence the joy of discovering them, again and again.

8 No Baby Ruth { 11.17.14 at 6:56 am }

I have to agree – the Harry Potter books are definitely high on my list of best first-reads. Although I, like md above, am a big rereader and really enjoy the second, fourth, seventh time through my faves (HP included).

9 Turia { 11.17.14 at 7:09 am }

I did love reading the Harry Potter books, I guess in part because I would buy them the day they came out (or at midnight for the last one) and read them immediately. There was a great sense of satisfaction at finally getting to read more of the story after waiting for years. I’m not sure I’d feel the same way about them if I could have read them for the first time all at once.

I really loved Pullman’s Golden Compass trilogy and that’s not one I tend to reread frequently, so I guess that would have been one where I was sad to finish them. But I am also someone who rereads books frequently (some books/series I read again every year) and I always, always look forward to coming home to them again and seeing my friends. There is great comfort for me in visiting again a world that I have loved so deeply.

10 Middle Girl { 11.17.14 at 7:53 am }

The Bluest Eye

I re-read as well. To revisit a time, a place can often be an enjoyable comfort.

11 D { 11.17.14 at 8:17 am }

I am definitely more into non-fiction than fiction. Once I have read about how to perfect my running form or about how to get my baby to sleep, I don’t feel like I need to read the book again (even though I still keep most of the books I have read on the shelf!).

I feel totally out of place in this conversation as I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, nor have I ever had any interest. Now that I have a little boy, I am sure that will change and I’ll be reading these in the not so distant future. Then maybe I can actually contribute to this convo! πŸ˜‰

12 UmaS { 11.17.14 at 8:37 am }

I like becoming the virgin again when it comes to reading books πŸ˜›
Of course, HP series are my fav too…
And there are some Enid Blyton stories which are nostalgic to my girls younger years and reading them again is such a lovely experience πŸ™‚
Jodi Picoult’s books are a tear-jerker, but I still go for that Sister’s Keeper, again !

13 Jen { 11.17.14 at 8:51 am }

The Chronicles of St.Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. What, you don’t read much time travelling historical romantic travel adventure fiction? Give it a go!

14 m. { 11.17.14 at 8:57 am }

hmm, great question. I don’t re-read much. In fact, I rarely make it through entire books in one go, or without skipping around. I’m impatient. But if I had to choose one, I think perhaps The Outsiders. Because I sobbed. And sobbed. And even if I were to re-read it, I doubt it would have the same impact. In more recent memory, perhaps Infinite Jest. I actually did read portions of that again, to attempt to put more pieces together.

There are some books I read at tender points in my life that I still remember. I’m afraid to re-read them because I don’t want them to be any different than their initial effect and my lingering thoughts about them. I’m afraid I’ll read them again and not love them anymore. The Temple of My Familiar is one that comes to mind.

15 loribeth { 11.17.14 at 9:40 am }

I don’t do much re-reading these days either. But when I was reading “The Beatles: All These Years” by Mark Lewisohn, earlier this year, I remember feeling torn, between wanting to keep on reading (because it was soooooo good!) & wanting to slow down to savour the pages because I was coming to the end and there won’t be any more to read until Volume 2 is published in a couple of years from now. :p Even though I know how the story turns out. πŸ˜‰ If you are a Beatles fan, it is THE definitive book about them. Amazingly well researched & written (& gargantuan!). I reviewed it here:


16 Gypsy Mama { 11.17.14 at 9:52 am }

Isn’t reading a great book for the first time one of the best experiences a person can have? It sounds dramatic, but I really hink so! I really enjoyed 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Zahir by Paulo Coelho.

17 earthandink { 11.17.14 at 10:10 am }

My list is long. I would say, if I could go back in time and be in the place I was when I read them, it would have to be Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. (Starting with Arrows of the Queen.)

18 earthandink { 11.17.14 at 10:12 am }

Also, I feel that I should mention, there are some adult situations in her books, so best to read them first and then judging when your kids are ready for them. (She writes multiple trilogies that fit in to the same world.)

19 Isabelle { 11.17.14 at 10:48 am }

A series of novels written by a Chinese author. I have almost every single one of her books. For some of her stories that I love the most, I wish that I could be a first time reader over and over again.

20 JB { 11.17.14 at 11:13 am }

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of books like that before. I feel like I learn to love books even more in a second or third reading, despite the non-virgin aspect of it. I’m a speed reader, so often I don’t catch everything the first time through. Sometimes I enjoy a second or third time reading even more.

21 Chris { 11.17.14 at 11:24 am }

I felt that way when I read “Gone with the Wind” when I was 7. But, now I mostly read mysteries/thrillers and want to get to the end….and then possibly re-read.

22 Sharon { 11.17.14 at 11:28 am }

Oh gosh, I don’t know that I could narrow that choice to just one book.

I actually really enjoy re-reading books. I like re-visiting familiar characters, and it’s relaxing to me in the way that watching mindless TV is to a lot of other people.

23 a { 11.17.14 at 11:35 am }

All of them! There’s nothing better than a new book, unless it’s an old one I’m reading again!

24 Casey { 11.17.14 at 12:13 pm }

Interesting question, Mel. I’d never thought about it before, but there are a number of books that I would give anything to have that ‘first-read’ feeling again.

For me, the number one book I would love to have that first-read experience with again is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It moves me each time I read it, but never as much as that first ‘Wow….’ moment.

25 Justine { 11.17.14 at 12:13 pm }

We watched the first Harry Potter movie with Ian for the first time last night … that was like watching it for the first time again, but there were parts when I found myself wishing I didn’t know what came next. I think those books are my first-time choice, too. And I’m sad that he doesn’t want me reading them to him, because our reading together is too slow… πŸ™

26 Shail { 11.17.14 at 12:21 pm }

For me it is the HP series. That first joy of reading…. Wish I could have it once again.

27 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 11.17.14 at 1:09 pm }

Hmm…I can’t think of an example off the top of my head. I’m more likely to just want to spend more time in the characters’ world and that can make it feel bittersweet to finish a book without a sequel. Felt like that in a big way after reading Under the Lemon Trees by Bhira Backhaus. Taking a break before finishing a series is a great idea!

28 Mrs T { 11.17.14 at 1:40 pm }

That is a fascinating question, but I don’t have an answer! I love to read but the only books I think I wouldn’t feel the same about reading the second time are the types of books I wouldn’t bother to read a second time (e.g. murder mysteries). Must think more on this…

29 magpie { 11.17.14 at 1:46 pm }

so many books. so many! i actually don’t re-read many books – there are so many that are still out there waiting and re-reading feels like backtracking.

i have, though, read The 27th Kingdom over and over again. it’s probably time again. and i can’t explain it.

30 Tara { 11.17.14 at 1:52 pm }

You know, I’m kind of weird with reading… I LOVE reading. Almost always have a book on the go. And I get absorbed whatever book I’m reading and it when it’s really good I want to share with all my bookish friends. But oddly enough, once I’m done reading the book, after a little bit of time I usually mostly forget about it! I have a general memory of what the book was about and some things that happened in it but otherwise I have a large inventory of books in my house that I don’t remember what the heck they are about. And yet I never re-read them. Am I totally bizarre or what?!

31 Kasey { 11.17.14 at 2:07 pm }

This is answering a slightly different question, but the books I am most looking forward to reading with my kids for the first time are the Little House books, so maybe that’s my answer, but I was only 7 or 8 the first time I read them that I got something different from them rereading as an adult.
One book I read and am so glad I did but will likely never read again – because I KNOW how it all plays out is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I did watch the movie (a friend wrote the screen play) and something was lost in the second time.

32 Laurel Regan { 11.17.14 at 2:24 pm }

Good question – I’ll have to think about that. As an aside, I’m one of the few who has never actually read the Harry Potter series!

33 Northern Star { 11.17.14 at 3:20 pm }

I loved the Secret Garden the first time I read it when I was 12. I still have my original hard-copy that I’m keeping until my daughter is old enough to read it with me!

34 DublinGal { 11.17.14 at 3:21 pm }

I don’t actually tend to re-read books that much but I know exactly what you mean, how the best is reading them for the first time and for books I really love I’ll often slow down towards the end just because I don’t want the book to end!

I’m going to say the Hunger Games, just because I read it recently and it was very suspenseful and exciting reading it for the first time.

35 Cynthia Samuels { 11.17.14 at 3:25 pm }

Harry of course. Yes. But for some reason the other one that flew into my mind was William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. There are books I love more – all the way from Little Women to Let the Great World Spin but somehow this one haunts me still – and since I’ve read it twice I know how critically mind -blowing experience the first read was, even though much more became clear on the second journey. GREAT question Mel!

36 gradualchanges { 11.17.14 at 3:28 pm }

I’ve never read all the HP books but I liked the Golden Compass books. There are many books from my youth that I cherish but I’m going with my gut instinct here and adding what first came to mind when I read your post. It was A Wrinkle in Time. Also I’m wondering what Gaiman book your friend read. I read American Gods many years ago and loved it. (Not a kid book though)

37 celeste { 11.17.14 at 4:40 pm }

There are so many books like that – ones that I just cannot bear finishing, though I can’t stop reading. And then there are books that don’t fully settle in until I’ve read them a few times. I love both kinds in different ways but oh man that book that grabs you at first glance and just holds you tight all the way through? That’s just magical. And yeah, such a jumble of feelings when you’re done.

38 Amber { 11.17.14 at 6:15 pm }

I loved the first Hunger Games book, and also the Harry Potter series. I also am a big Nicolas Sparks fan, so any book of his.

39 Jess { 11.17.14 at 7:07 pm }

I love rereading! I do it all the time when my favorite books become movies, in part to refresh and in part so I can be righteously and accurately justified in my rage when they change things or get it wrong (I have problems). Gone Girl, The Hunger Games series (that reminds me, I have to reread Mockingjay for the fourth time), Harry Potter… My husband has actually never read Harry Potter and is saving that for when our kids miraculously arrive in our home, because he wants HIS first read to be THEIR first read, too. Which is really sweet. Books I reread not for vengeful movie-going purposes are Beloved by Toni Morrison, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, and Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood. Love those books. Great post and so fun to read the answers to your question!

40 SuzannaCatherine { 11.17.14 at 8:28 pm }

I have to admit that I’ve never read the HP books or seen the movies. I know that puts me in an add category. When I was a teenager I read a lot of popular books. Two that I remember reading and seeing the movie (and then rereading the books) were On the Beach and To Kill A Mocking Bird.

41 SuzannaCatherine { 11.17.14 at 8:30 pm }

*odd category, not add. Sorry.

42 Ellen O'Neil { 11.17.14 at 9:00 pm }

Hmmm…well, I loved The Golden Compass (glad you and the kids are getting that experience!) the first time. Really liked it the times after that, but the first time was best.

43 Usha Pisharody { 11.17.14 at 9:15 pm }

Mine would have to be “Illusions” by Richard Bach πŸ™‚ What a wonderful read it has always been, but that first time? Wow!

44 Dora { 11.17.14 at 10:04 pm }

I don’t reread much. I used to, in my teens and twenties. At first reading this post, nothing came to mind. Then I remembered the feeling I had when I read Vonnegut for the first time. It felt like a revelation. Smart, twisted, funny. Every now and then I think about rereading some Vonnegut, but which one?

45 L.A. { 11.17.14 at 10:17 pm }

I’ve yet to read the Harry Potter series, though both of my children have and beg me to do so. My eldest cried at the end, and honestly was a little lost for awhile, sad her “friends” were gone. It was amazing to see her go through the series, sneaking in pages whenever she could, hiding under her blanket with a book light, begging to be excused after dinner so she could go read. It is on my long list of to-reads.

I read a lot of non-fiction so this is a tough one. Perhaps Catcher in the Rye since I loved it as a teen, and I don’t think I would relate to and love it if I read it today. Which makes me sad and why I’ve avoided picking it up ever again.

I do appreciate picture books, and how so often they get better or at least are as magical each time you read them!

46 Cristy { 11.17.14 at 11:40 pm }

It’s been so long since I’ve experienced that rush of finishing a good book(s). It’s a lot like falling in love.

What’s been fun is watching my twins as we introduce them to books. I’ve gotten into a routine of taking them to a new library every couple of weeks. Though we now have favorite libraries where they know where the picture books are located, the wonder you see in their eyes when we go into a new library is absolutely priceless.

47 Corinne Rodrigues { 11.18.14 at 2:13 am }

Ha ha..only a book lover would get this, Mel! And I do.
So here’s my first two choices – The Book Thief and A Town Like Alice!

48 obsessivemom { 11.18.14 at 4:44 am }

Harry Potter it is. And the Hunger Games – though it had a pretty tame kind of an ending but the first book blew me away.

49 Shailaja V { 11.18.14 at 7:51 am }

I can relate to this so well, Mel! So beautiful, except for the STD reference πŸ˜‰

For me, I think the books by Rowling are definitely on the list. I will also add some Christie books, say, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. What a finale!

50 Vinitha { 11.18.14 at 8:15 am }

We have similar minds here, Mel. Harry Potter is the one which gave me that sad feeling at the end because I finished reading. πŸ™‚

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