Mostly, whilst agonising over the making of this list (and believe me I did… at least after the first 5 were filled in) I realised that it is mostly series of books that I am looking at wanting to re-read as opposed to novels singular, there are only a couple of exceptions to that statement.
I guess the main reason for this is that (generally) series take longer to read, therefore in re-reading them I am choosing to commit more hours to the endeavour and thus taking away from time spent where I could be exploring the thousands of books I have yet to read or are already on my ‘I would like to read’ list.
After all there is no earthly reason why I should not go back and ‘re-read’ whatever and whenever I choose to. It’s just that sometimes I am reluctant to, as a person is only around for so long… and my TBR list grows every day. So many books, so little time.
All of these books I initially read quite some time ago. The point is the choice of what tore-read.
1. Lord of the Rings – Tolkien (re-read January 2016)
The time has come…
I read this for the first time the Christmas after the final film had come out at the cinema. I was still in University, so I think I was probably 19 or 20… I realise that generally no self-respecting geek waits for that late in life to read Tolkien’s masterpiece of epic sword and sorcery fantasy but this one did. In my defence, and I do feel that I should proffer one. I purposefully put off reading it until after I had seen all of the films. I wanted to experience the whole in spectacular cinematic glory, to realise the full scope of what was being offered on screen without spoilers or knowing most of what would or wouldn’t happen. certainly, for me this was the perfect way of going about it.
The books themselves hardly need any introduction by now I am sure. However my reasons for wanting to re-read this trilogy (or rather one epic tome cut into three marginally smaller bricks of slightly easier heft… at least that is how my edition of LOTR has been published).
I read them the first time round in 8 days (with one off in the middle as I strained my eyes reading it). So for a week of my precious Christmas vacation, when truthfully I should have been doing revision for January exams, I read LOTR. That’s ALL I did, well, Read LOTR, made/drank cups of tea and slept. Perhaps that explains my ‘reluctance’ to re-read them… that and the finger strain alone was phenomenal. It’s trying to find a decent chunk of time where I can OCD to my hearts content.
That and the bird paranoia that ensues is not always quite as worth it as I might have thought.
(I finally got around to re-reading them in January 2016, then followed them up with a first time reading of The Hobbit. LOTR was even better the second time round, and I took a touch more time reading them and therefore saved myself the repeat of eyestrain…which is NOT an experience that bears repeating! The Hobbit however left me somewhat cold. Whether it was due to leaving it until I was 32 to read it…or it just did not gel with me, I do not know. It was lack lustre in comparison to LOTR (granted, perhaps an unfair comparison really), did not hold my attention very well and honestly I found it really hard to persevere and crack on to the end.)
2. Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan
I absolutely LOVED this series! The man wrote about Ancient Greece (in a modern setting) with all the cultural trappings and myth based reality to utter perfection, staying as true to the subject as I could have ever hoped.
I’m a classicist. Trying to find anything (fictional) written about Greeks or Romans that does not make me want to curl up into a sad little ball of depressed classicist is truly hard to find. A roughshod mythological throwaway pleases no-one.
Again, read these in 5 days and yes that is indeedy a book a day. Not an unusual occurence I must admit.
An amazing, well-written, epic young adult/children’s fantasy series. Which is continuing with a further quintet based at the Roman equivalent for Camp Half-Blood. (Which I have now finished, I enjoyed them a great deal, but the first Quintet remain the best and the most gripping.)
For those who prefer Egyptian to Greek (and Roman), Riordan has also written a series starting with “The Red Pyramid”. Bast makes a surprising and most welcome appearance and other than Khufu the gibbon, is probably the best overall character.
My 9 year old cousin recommended them (way back when they were that age…they are now 15). I had seen them around for quite some time and kept picking them up and humming and ah-ing about whether or not to read them. It was his rave reviews that finally pushed me over the decisive edge. He and his twin sister have read and re-read them, as had their 14 year old sister… and they ‘spread the word’ amongst their classmates who also read and enjoyed them.
Rick Riordan has been the cause for not only getting an entire class of 9 year olds into Greek/Roman and Egyptian mythology, but also into reading bigger and harder books than might have been expected of them previously. My cousins’ remarks sparked a general exchange of reading suggestions and book sharing amongst their classmates.
An excellent endorsement if ever there was one.
3. Pages for You – Sylvia Brownrigg
This (as mentioned here http://wp.me/pHZFO-40) is one of my Top 10 reads. It’s deliciously devourable prose and narrative flow make it (for me) an absolute pleasure of a read. It’s almost…edible.
I’ve read it only twice, for fear that upon getting to the end I’d just turn it over and start again.
Truthfully I don’t know what it is about this particular book that draws me so thoroughly. The story isn’t entirely happy, though equally it isn’t unhappy. I suspect that it is the writing style and the tone that ultimately draws me in, especially as it is in a style one could only ever aspire to achieving.
Oddly I have never picked up any of her other novels (of which she has written five…though I think this is the only queer one?). Partly I believe that this may be due to fear of disappointment that anything else would not pass muster. Usually I find an author and then promptly continue to devour everything they have written until I am thoroughly saturated and have run out of material.
A book of first love, experience it’s progression and its demise. Utterly beautiful.
4. Thursday Next (series) – Jasper Fforde
The more I read this series the more I love it and understand the complex literary references and find it funnier. Equally the more I read classical literature in conjunction with Fforde, the more I appreciate and understand not only his works, but the classic works also.This is one series where I suspect that I could read it an infinite amount of times and still be finding new ideas/things/references and nuances within their pages.
I generally don’t want to be offering to much in the way of synopses for the books I am choosing for this list, because it is about what I would like to re-read, NOT what I want to recommend to folk. (Though, naturally I do recommend everything on this list) but if you have never read Fforde, a) he kind of defies defining. (in a similar way that Douglas Adams is sort of indefinable) and b) you will be SOOooo lost.
This particular series by Fforde are, in a way, crime novels. Though that does them no serious justice (and is possibly an injustice to the crime genre?). Essentially fiction within fiction.
Thursday Next, a “LitraTech” (my personal ideal job) for Spec Ops in an alternate universe set in Swindon from the 80’s onwards. In this role she verifys forgeries, goes on book raids and generally solves fictional related issues, whilst trying not to get caught dealing on the illegal cheese market. She is then recruited into Jurisfiction, which is the police force that serves within fiction (which, lets face it is my real ultimate job, but the first one is ever so slightly more likely to emerge as a real one…shh let me live my dreams). Jurisfiction work in offices set at Norwood and Sense and Sensibility and they maintain the narrative flow, ensure characters don’t make ‘in-house’ changes, that Emperor Zhark does not take over the world. That war doesn’t breach the tenuous peace between ‘Racy novel’ and ‘Feminist fiction’ and that fiction is not overrun by murderous Danvers clones.
All in all an utterly bizarre, unique, engaging series that truly defies explanation.
Having said all that, they are admittedly somewhat like Marmite from what I have heard. You love em or you hate em. (Only one of those two groups are right!)
5. The Dresden Files
Four words: Mouse, Bob, Molly and Ivy.
Admittedly it wasn’t until I was half way through book three that I had the ‘aha’ moment as to why people where raving about this series. Now whenever I recommend them, I suggest keeping with them until then and if you then don’t like them, then you probably aren’t going to.
It isn’t anything specific that happens in this book, more that the overall tone takes a maturity leap in the writing style that comes as a bit of a relief. The first time I re-read books 1-3 the style of them didn’t bother me as much as they did the first time around where they just smacked of ‘new author’ and a bit of a cheesy one at that.
An urban gumshoe fantasy series, that Benedict Jacka writes a much simplified British one clearly bouncing off the initial Dresden idea. ( Another great series, but not nearly as complex overall)