Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Summer Re-Runs

Okay, we've been a little slow here at the Bookshelf lately. I'm not helping, either, since I've been stuck in a re-reading rut. I'm hosting my book club next week and I haven't even bought the book! I'm hoping they'll be too distracted by my wonderful cooking to notice :) All my "new" reading lately has been childbirth/early childhood stuff (and baby name books!), and maybe there's just not room in my brain for anything else.

So, I thought I'd try to start a little bit of discussion. What books (if any) do you re-read, and why? If you're not a re-reader, why not? Here's my list:

Harry Potter: I secretly really, really want to go to Hogwarts. But reading these is the closest I can get :) I love visiting the world JK Rowling constructed. The books are rich and full of detail, and really just delightful to read. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and even though I already know what's going to happen, the getting-there is so much fun that I can read them over and over.

Jane Austen: I love reading about all the social rules and who follows them or breaks them. I love Austen's gentle satire of social conventions (which you could easily miss by skimming) through making characters ridiculous with dialogue. And every time I get to the end of Pride & Prejudice, I'm so happy that Lizzy & Mr. Darcy finally got together.

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next Series: My inner English nerd loves the wordplay and literature references, but those couldn't stand alone without the entertaining characters and clever situations. Plus, I've always wished I could literally enter my favorite books, and I think the way Fforde manages this is an impressive feat of imagination.

Kate Atkinson: I love her writing. I bought Human Croquet on the bargain table of Barnes & Noble without having heard of Atkinson, and I loved it. And that's not even her best book! Her sentences are just a pleasure to read, and I enjoy the unfolding of her intricate plots.

Gregory Maguire: Even his "not as good" books are fun retellings of fairy tales. It's the familiarity of a story you've heard since childhood, but with variations. I think my favorite of his is Lost, which incorporates Jack the Ripper and A Christmas Carol, if you can believe that.

Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit: Because I'm a big nerd, that's why.

HItchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and sequels): Because sometimes, you need a little insanity.

Janet Evanovich: It's nice that Stephanie Plum's life/career/family are so much crazier than mine :) Even in the less stellar books in the series, you're always guaranteed to laugh out loud at least once.

Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series: Because there's something comforting and lovely about animals talking to each other and solving mysteries, even if the mysteries aren't all that interesting.

Dorothy Cannell: Cozy mysteries at their finest. An injection of Britishness, crazy family members, fun mysteries that make you wish you were poking around an old mansion with lots of secret passages.

Jennifer Crusie: Her contemporary romances are engaging enough to re-read. Welcome to Temptation and Manhunt are really the best.

There are more, I'm sure, but these are the most frequently re-read for me.


Holly said...

Okay, so I rarely get a chance to read a book a first time these days, let alone re-read one. In fact, I really am not much of a re-reader. I think I don't re-read because I have so many books I want to read. I just finish one and move onto the next. But I do save some books with the intention of rereading them someday.

The only books I've ever re-read in my life were Catcher in the Rye and Death of a Salesman (both for various reuse on school projects). I do skim/re-read the previous Harry Potter book before the next one comes out. And hope to reread the whole series some day.

I've also read two of the stories in Stephen King's "Different Seasons" several times.

A few on my list to re-read someday are Evanovich's Plum series, The Time Traveler's Wife (I LOVED that book!), Harry Potter of course, as well as several I enjoyed as a child. I'm hoping the girls really get into reading so I have an excuse to read Beverly Clearly, Pippi Longstocking, and many more I enjoyed as a child.

allisonmariecat said...

Oh, I loved Time Traveler's Wife, too!

I have a stack of childhood favorites ready to re-read to Butterbean :) I haven't read the Ramona books in ages, and I remember them being so much fun. I wonder if they'll feel dated now? Unfortunately, my little brother ate/wrote on/tore up many of my actual childhood books, so I'll have to start buying new copies!

Holly said...

Oh, I thought of one more. Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I really enjoyed that book as well!