book warren

FoJG T. Greer has a great post at the Scholar’s Stage on the works on his re-read shelves. You’ll want to check it out, especially his LDS material. He has several conference talks listed that I’m glad he brought to my attention.

Greer suggests that there are three kinds of books on the re-read shelves.

three categories:

those read again for the sake of “intellectual learning,” as you say it, or perhaps poetically, the books that enlighten;

books reread for purely for amusement or escape, the books that entertain;

and last of all, books that gives us snap shots of the beautiful or sublime, that increase our capacity to feel sorrow for the sorrowful or inspire us to the greater deeds of greater men – or in short, the books that edify.

I think he’s right. The object of this exercise is to share with our friends here or over at Greer’s place the books you re-read,the movies you rewatch, etc., that enlighten or edify.

Only include the books that you actually re-read. I’d like to list a number of Shakespeare plays, but the truth is most all of them I’ve read only once, and some of them not at all. Same with Moby Dick, Democracy in America, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and some of Conrad’s works, or George Herbert’s poetry.

And please do make a point to include religious material (excepting the scriptures, unless there is some lesser known passage or section that you keep coming back too).

Also, feel free to comment and critique on other’s lists, starting with mine.

Here is mine:

Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, by Austen.

The Aubrey-Maturin books, Golden Ocean, and Richard Temple, by O’Brian. They skew a little bit more in the entertainment direction, but I find myself suppressing the urge to write essays about the truth of the human condition while I’m reading them, so they count. Reading the Golden Ocean was literally a revelatory experience for me.

The Lord of the Rings – besides the beauty, there is considerable intellectual depth there that I am now discovering. Maybe also the Hobbit. I’m not sure,but I do reread it.

The First Circle, by Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago too, but especially the First Circle. I’m starting the Red Wheel now. I think it will probably go on the list.

The Last of All Suns and City Beyond Time, by John C. Wright.

The Face of Battle, by Keegan

For Cause and Comrades, McPherson

The classic Civil War epics. Take your pick: McPherson, Foote, Catton

Of Plagues and Peoples

War before Civilization

C.S. Lewis tout court. Yes, including the kid’s stuff. But especially the Great Divorce, Perelandra, and Till We Have Faces. A Grief Observed should be on here, but it’s too hard to reread.

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Miracle of Forgiveness

Tuchman’s the Distant Mirror, the Churchill bio the Last Lion, and Reilly’s the Perfection of the West may belong. Certainly I re-read them.

Knight and Wizard, by Gene Wolfe

Boswell’s Johnson

Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream

Chandler’s Marlowe books

Herodotus’ Histories. These are good for browsing.

The Odyssey

Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Huck Finn

Aesop’s Fables

The Wind in the Willows

Adventures of Robin Hood (the Green version)

A Canticle for Liebowitz

Revelation, Flannery O’Connor

Maybe Laura Ingall’s books and James Herriot’s—I’m not sure. Certainly I reread them.

Essays and Speeches and Short Stories

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

Lincoln’s House Divided Speech

Washington’s Farewell Address

The Gettysburg Address

The Neil Maxwell Quote Book – you don’t re-read it cover to cover, but it’s a book for taking down off the shelf, flipping it open, and thinking for a while

Spengler’s Future, by John C. Reilly

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Speaking of Webster, his Union speech on the Compromise of 1850, and his Second Reply to Hayne.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”

Chief Joseph’s Capitulation

Elder McConkie’s farewell sermon

Cicero’s Catiline Speech (the first one)


Master and Commander

Branagh’s Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing

It’s a Wonderful Life


Pride and Prejudice, the six-hour BBC marathon

Emma, the one with Paltrow

Brideshead Revisited, the Irons one.

Unusually, these versions of Emma and Brideshead Revisited are better than the books they come from, in my opinion.

I don’t know if they really belong on this list, but I keep rewatching Dare to Stand Alone and Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Joseph Smith’s Last Dream, though possibly apocryphal


Gerard Manley Hopkins




Benet’s American Names

Lewis’ Cliché Came Out of Its Cage

Arnold’s the Sea of Faith

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Where are the Snows of Yesteryear


The temple endowment

What are yours?

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