Books I Read and Re-read
The other day I heard a radio show about re-reading. Why, the presenter asked, would you want to re-read a book when there is so much to read in the world?
Good question. I have a huge to-be-read pile beside my bed. Some are brand new books I’ve bought or received for reviewing. And yet…
Sometimes you just need to look again at something you’ve loved. It gives me a sense of comfort, when I’m tired and want to be reading something I know I will love because I’ve read it before.
Looking at the pile, among all the new books I can see: two Harry Potter books, one of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher novels, Lord of the Rings and two Terry Pratchett novels.
So here are a few I re-read regularly:
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. There are a lot of mini-series within the series in general. For example, there are the Tiffany Aching novels for young adults – Tiffany is a young apprentice witch in the Discworld’s Chalk country, learning her trade from older, wiser witches. I love to read them from the first novel, where, as a nine-year-old, she rescues her little brother from the Faeries with the help of the tiny but tough Feegles, who were kicked out of Faerie, to the final book, where she’s a young woman. There are a lot of novels having fun about vampire fiction and Shakespeare and newspapers and banks. They are hilarious and sometimes I just need to laugh. And having read it, I know I will.
Harry Potter series: While the books were coming out, I re-read to refresh my memory before reading the new one. Then I began re-reading the lot because with Harry all grown-up, I wanted to go back to the very beginning when he was young and innocent and just discovering the wizard world. Also, it’s interesting to see if I can spot any clues to the ending (there are some, though not for everything.)
Lord of The Rings: I read this for comfort because it’s so very beautiful. Tolkien put his heart and soul into writing it. I care about his characters – and I love to come to each chapter and say, “Oh, great, they’re going to meet Strider for the first time… terrific, they reach Rivendell and see Bilbo again…” I’m not the only one who reads this over and over, by the way. Christopher Lee, who played the evil Saruman in the movie, has been reading this novel every year since it came out. I re-read The Hobbit every now and then too, and love it.
Kerry Greenwood’s crime fiction: The Phryne Fisher stories are set in Melbourne in the 1920s. I just love imagining what my home city was like back then. Once, they were doing some construction at the station near where I lived and when one building was knocked down, there was an ad from the 1920s on an exposed wall. Magical! Pity they covered it again when they put up their new building...
Even though I know how the books will end, I still enjoy re-reading them.
It’s really nice to be able to add that students have re-read my books too! When one of them borrowed Wolfborn for the fourth time recently, I asked why – she’s read it, after all. She said, “It’s for my mother, Miss. I’ve read it three times, she’s read it twice.” Another student, who'd read and re-read the hard copy, wanted an e-version for his phone as well.
The role of Lady Pauline in my Ranger’s Apprentice movie will be played by… Cate Blanchett.