There was literally no good way to title this. Either it sounds creepy, or it sounds like I’m going to roast a bunch of books. I went with the potential roasting title because the other one was hella long, but this post is not a roast. Instead, it’s about if I had the superpower to forget I’d read a book so I could experience that first time all over again.
I read The Wicker King by K. Ancrum in one day, and though it wasn’t in one sitting, it felt like it because I kept trying to put it down so that I could get actual work done, but then finding myself so distracted by thinking about it that I had to pick it up again. I truly didn’t want to read it in one day, either, because it was so good that I just wanted to savor it. But, oh boy, I know that if I could somehow forget this book so I could read it again, it’d definitely be the same all over again. It was the same with The Legend of the Golden Raven, too. I read it during a concert while I was waiting for the band I wanted to see come on, and I was totally checked out from everything else. One of the bigger acts was onstage, and I totally didn’t even notice, I was so wrapped up in the novella.
Oh my hell, I nearly? Forgot? Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi? WHO EVEN AM I?! Like, real talk, I was writing the RWRB blurb below, and I just had this moment of WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MARY HOLY SHIT SCROLL BACK UP. This book is everything I have ever loved in life and more. Like, I just. I truly don’t even know how to describe how much I love this book. I was screaming the first time I read it, and pretty much every time after that, and I’m screaming in my head just thinking about it. I could probably quote it at this point, though, and nothing is a surprise to me anymore in it, so I’d really, really love to erase those memories and just start screaming from the get-go all over again.
Look, I always feel a bit psycho putting The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus on any list ever because it’s a psycho book, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I was absolutely baffled with how good, and how horrific, it was while I was reading that I literally forced myself to take it as slow as possible. It was the complete opposite of The Wicker King. There was no possible way I could have convinced myself to read more than 100 pages a day because I just wanted to live in Zebulon’s world for as long as possible. And this duology is easily the weirdest thing I’ve ever read, but I am so enamored with them that I still think about them, years later, and wish desperately that I could do it all over again.
If we’re being honest here, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston was one of the first books on this list. It was not the first, that’s a little ways below, but it was pretty close because who doesn’t want to read about Henry & Alex falling in love all over again with no memory of how it all turns out? My second reread wasn’t quite that because I remembered bits of it, but I forgot enough that some bits were still a surprise, and it made me want this superpower even more because how amazing would it be to just flail in disbelief for the first time again? Because every time I think of this book, I still can’t believe we’re blessed that it exists, and wow, yeah, I want that first time AM I DREAMING?! vibe again.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is a bit hard for me because I’d also like to erase the memory of his other books I read post The Bone Clocks because, if I didn’t, that would void the fun of erasing my memory of this one. Because this was the one where I started putting it together. I didn’t know that Mitchell’s books all existed in the same universe, and I can still vividly remember my all-caps texts to my friend that were mostly just WHAT DOES HE THINK HE’S DOING? It was so cool to see characters making cameos, to see the story finally threading itself together, and to feel like I’d uncovered something wonderful and weird and wild in a way that made me want to read everything else by him immediately.
I truly don’t know what it is about An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson that makes me want to forget it more than Sorcery of Thorns because that one makes more sense for this, right? Everyone loves it more, and I probably do, too, and what I wouldn’t give to fall in love with Elisabeth and Nathaniel and Sylas again, but, hear me out here. Controversial opinion time: this is one of the better faery representations out there. You can keep your Jude & Carden memories, I want to get rid of my Isobel & Rook memories. Not just them, either, because every single page of this book is lush with the most beautiful Fae lore and writing I’ve ever seen, and I want to experience it all over again for the first time so I can spend the following months just randomly drifting back into it and wondering if it was all a fever dream, which is what I’ve been doing all this year, and it’s great.
The Watchers by Jon Steele is one of those books I’ve never seen a single other person talk about (except for me! I wrote a whole post dedicated to all three!), and it makes me so sad because they’re so good. And there is one specific reason that I want to forget them–the lore and how that lore effects the plot twists. Because damn, I did not see a single one of them coming, and the lore is so complex and slow to unravel that it feels like a forbidden treat when the pieces finally start to come together. This is just an exceptional story, and I’d love to have that detective feeling again of trying to figure out what was going to come next and then being dead wrong.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is the entire reason this list exists because I truly don’t know the amount of times that I’ve wished for this. It’s right up there in my top three favorite books of all time, and it was what cemented Maggie as one of my favorite authors. It was the first book I ever read by her, way back in 2009, and it has stood out to me more than any other book she’s ever written. I mean, ffs, I have he was just Sam tattooed on me! Gosh, that scene. That scene is why I want to forget this book so I can feel just emotionally wrecked by that scene all over again.
It was hard picking which Laini Taylor I wanted to forget because I love Strange the Dreamer a startling amount, but if we’re really being honest here, falling in love with Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone all over again is a top priority. I want to discover my very weird response of shouting KAROUUUUUUUUU anytime she does something badass (so the entire trilogy) and try to understand why I love her so much that that happens. I don’t even care about Akiva, though I guess a small part of me cares about the lore and the actual story, but, like, I’m 98% here for Karou alone.
Gosh, this book. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong absolutely destroyed me. It was one of the few books that I had to put down and recover from every couple of pages or so. The language in it is just so incredible that I wanted to swim in Vuong’s beautiful words and let them soak into my memory for as long as they needed to root themselves there and never budge. I guess, then, it’d be pretty difficult to erase my memory of them so that I could find this experience all over again, but wow. There is nothing quite like this book out there in the world, and I want that first read again.