Five Books to Re-read

P1010578There are some books that I return to again and again; books that are worn and held together with love and sellotape, and whom I basically consider to be friends. I love re-reading things, because my perception of a book shifts as I change and age.

These re-read books carry in my mind a type  of layered quality, giving them a warmth and depth that I find almost familial. Without further ado, here are my five books to re-read; loved, dog-eared codex’ that I am unlikely ever to discard.

 

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: the First Adventure

This book was passed down to me by my older sister already well loved; it had folded pages and sepia paper, and was quite possibly already sellotaped. Within, I discovered Alanna of Trebond, who to this day remains one of my all time favourite characters. She earned an eternal place in my heart by being a) a fantastic, resilient, brilliant character and b) the first woman I had met in a fantasy world who had a self-determined fate. I have written poetry about her, her nemesis, her twin, her cat…

Whenever I am ill or sad, I pick up this book and settle back into it. Estimated amount of re-reads: 30+

 

Daughter of the Sea by Berlie Doherty

Daughter of the SeaI have always loved the sea; I first heard selkie stories at a very young age, probably told to me by a parent. I cannot recall how I got this book, but I’ve had it from a very young age. Berlie Doherty vividly conjures up a tiny Scottish island in some unidentified time in the past, where a woman is gifted something by the sea. Something that she is meant to give back…

This is a book that I return to in the Winter, enjoying the clear imagery and the wild nature of Berlie Doherty’s writing. Estimated amount of re-reads: 15+

 

Memorial by Alice Oswald

MemorialI was given this as a birthday present, new and beautiful. I first read it on a train journey, and I now associate its repeating verses with the clattering of wheels. When I was young, I had an Orchard Book of Greek Myths that I loved. Over the years, I found many versions of those myths, gleaned from books and storytellers.

This re-imagining by Alice Oswald strips away the narrative, the familiar plot of the rich story of Troy, and leaves us instead with a stark gravestone. Her imagery is brilliant as a kingfisher’s wing, reminding us that beneath the tales of heroics, of gods and beauties and one thousand ships, lies the cost of war. I re-read this when I want to be challenged by a poet. Estimated amount of re-reads: 2

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Thief of TimeThe Discworld is my second-favourite fantasy world, reflecting our own ridiculousness back at us and telling sharp-edged jokes. I cannot recall when I got my copy of this book, but it has been loved for a long time. It is a story that rollicks onwards, tumbling characters together with a joyfullness particular to Terry Pratchett. Where else does Death have a granddaughter? Time a lover? Where else are the greatest villains the Auditors, who can be defeated in their borrowed human forms by truly great chocolate?

I can read this book in under two hours if I’m undisturbed, and there is always a brilliant combination of laughter and sadness tipped with a thinly veiled fury that drives everything onwards. One of my favourites when I’m craving ridiculousness with a point. Estimated amount of re-reads: 20+

 

Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Rat QueensMy Partner-in-Crime originally bought this book, and I stole it from her so many times that she eventually bought me a copy of my own. This book never fails to cheer me up and make me laugh. If you are a gamer or a reader of high fantasy, then you have probably come across some variation of the typical fantasy town; a peaceful trading place, with a few merchants and bands of adventurers, perhaps an orc problem that they want gone. Rat Queens happily riffs off that trope; set in the town of Palisade where the people are getting very angry about the bands of adventurers that are giving them a bad name.

The Rat Queens of the title are an all woman band of mercs: one elvish necromancer, an ex-acolyte of the flying squid god N’rygoth, a hipster Dwarf named Violet and a drug-dealing Smidgen (like a Hobbit, less hairy). These women drink, fight, curse, swear, flirt, fuck up and are the type of people who would light sambuka while it was in their mouths, then push each other over (all the women in my family light sambuka while it is in their mouths. Anything else is apparently just the wrong way to do it).

I dip in and out of this all the time, and tend to re-read it whenever I’ve been particularly upset by a bad case of women-in-refrigerators. Also just for fun. Estimated amount of re-reads: 10+

And thus concludes my five favourite books to re-read.

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ladysanctuary
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 21:35:35

    WOOT! RAT QUEENS!

    Reply

  2. Meredith
    Apr 29, 2015 @ 13:02:13

    Well aren’t you just the best thing 😛

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Recent Reading – catch-up reviews | Meredith Debonnaire

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