Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book of the Week: Old Favourites

 Eli's book of the moment is anything that has flaps to turn, and there are so many of them that it's not worth writing about any one in particular. She is so enamoured with lifting the flap that she now looks for flaps on every book she comes across and seems surprised that not all books have them!

My mention of re-reading in a post last week made me think I should write about the books I re-read the most. I do go through phases where I like some more than others, but here are the main culprits:

1. Anything by Tamora Pierce. I discovered the "Alanna" (officially "The Song of the Lioness") quartet when I was about 10 or 11, at which point she had only written that series and part of the next. She has now published nearly 30 books. She is one of the few authors whose books I will buy without having read them first. They were the first "fantasy" books I read and I still enjoy the genre today. Her slight quirk on the genre is that almost all her protagonists are female. If interested, see www.tamora-pierce.com/about.html - there is a description of each series as well as scene samples.

2. Kate Forsyth's The Witches of Eileanan series. More female driven fantasy, but extremely well written. It draws on myths of medieval witch burning as well as other aspects of the medieval world. When you put it like that it sounds like every other fantasy series around but I promise this one is different!

3. The Harry Potters. Enough said.

4. Enid Blyton. More irregularly these days, but I do still drag them out occasionally. Only really the Famous Fives, as they were what I read as a child. As an adult I've discovered others, including the Adventure series, but haven't enjoyed them as much. Has anyone else discovered that? As a child I knew that the likelihood of a four children winding up on the wrong aeroplane, then in a valley in some random European country, that had some convenient caves for them to sleep in, that just happened to contain long-lost Nazi-stolen treasure, which of course they would help recover was .... remote. But as a child it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. Now, sadly, it does.

5. Nick Earls, particularly Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses and Perfect Skin. Australian realist, comedic drama.

6. The Babysitters Club. My not-so-secret, guilty pleasure. They are so trashy and even as a child I knew they were not well written. But I still like them enough that, despite having sold the 30 or so I originally owned during a moment of poverty ridden student angst, I recently re-started the collection courtesy of eBay and now own nearly, ahem, 100.

7. David Eddings. The original people-on-horses-trotting-around-medievalish-world-looking-for-magic-stone.

8. The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I was stoked to discover a year or so ago that there was a new one I didn't know about as a child. And the "Anastasia" series by Lois Lowry who I think of as the poor cousins to the Ramonas.

10. Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I was in Year 4 our teacher asked for a suggestion for a read-aloud book and I recommended The Long Winter. The rest of the class hated it so much that it was abandoned after a few chapters. I still love them.

11. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. Akin to Kate Forsyth in that they bridge the gap between fantasy/realism, are beautifully written and unlike any other fantasy out there.

I was going to restrict the list to 10, but didn't quite get there. Here are the almost-made-its in no particular order:

* Anne of Green Gables etc
* Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy et al. Haven't read these in quite some time, but for a while in high school I thought they were the smartest, funniest thing ever written.
* Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series. I have been reading these as a child and there is still one to come!
* John Marsden's Tomorrow series. This possibly should have made the main list. I realised how well I knew them when the movie came out and I could tell which dialogue had been altered and a lot of the time say the original line.
* Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman family books
* Madeleine L'Engle's Austin family and Murry family books. Now I'm thinking about it both these, as well as the Cynthia Voigts should probably be on the main list too, if practically being able to recite parts of them is one of the criteria.

And just to show that I do re-read things other than trash, here are my slightly more literary re-reads:

* Goldengrove Unleaving, Jill Paton Walsh
* Grand Days and Dark Palace, Frank Moorhouse
* Hunting and Gathering, Anna Gavalda
* Captain Correlli's Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres
* The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange, Ruth Park

The main photo is of "my" bookshelf. When D and I moved in together we did somewhat integrate our books, but so many of them are mine that I still feel that the bookshelf pictured is mine rather than "ours." We joke that now that we live in the suburbs, we have a "library" ...

... complete with little helper, whose latest favourite game is pulling everything off the bottom shelf and ripping into it! One day we will get floor to ceiling bookshelves.

Do you have read read and read again favourites? I would love to hear about them!


A Farmer's Wife said...

Oooh - Embarrassing to admit but I reread chick lit. I find it comforting. Particularly Marian Keyes, Jane Green and Jilly Cooper.

Actually - I shouldn't be embarrassed. They all write well and are women I admire. So what I should say is - I am proud to reread these authors!

Naturally Carol said...

Sorry...totally off the topic...I've posted pics of your lovely cushions 'on the black couch' today! Thank you for sending them.

arunga001 said...

I came across this post and thought of yours and the home library idea - some inspiration pics!

ANB said...

FW - I haven't read any of those but we are going on a library expedition so might look a few up!

Thanks Carol!

And Sar, I am drooling over those bookcases!

Bel said...

Ooh Grand Days and Dark Palace - I recommended them to you! I remember because they were the first of my recommendations that you actually liked :-)

I re-read Harry Potter books. Dom thinks I'm mad:
"What are you doing? You've read that five times already..."

I used to re-read Irvine Welsh books - strangely fascinating, those Scottish junkies - but haven't for years because most of my book collection is still in Australia :-( I try not to re-read at the moment because the amount of books on the to-read list is so long!

.header-inner .Header #header-inner { margin-bottom: 100px !important; } .main-outer { margin-top: 15px !important; }