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Three Classic Books Every Man Should Reread

October 2016Words by Mr Sam Leith

To celebrate The Art of the Everyday, our new capsule collection with COS, we at MR PORTER decided to muse upon a few simple quotidian habits that can vastly improve the quality of a man’s life. Below, author and literary editor Mr Sam Leith makes a case for revisiting classic novels we read in our youth, and suggests three iconic books bound to impress.  

How often do we reread? How often do we revisit the classics? Not often enough, I think. There’s a special quality to rereading great books that you will likely last have read for your A-levels or in young manhood. You’ll bring to them a more mature consideration; different parts of them will speak to the man you are now, with all that experience in between. And they’re time machines: as you read them you’ll be transported back to the time in which you read them first. Perhaps you’ll rediscover the Rizla you used as a bookmark; or even find pencil marks you’d long forgotten making, speaking to you from the margin.

But mostly, to reread – to take time out to slow down and open up to some of the greatest things that humans have made in prose – is to take stock of yourself. It’s to improve yourself: not in the way that you improve yourself when you install a Couch-To-5k app on your phone, or take a month off drinking; but to improve your mind and your soul.