Yesterday I was surveying the small selection of books I was actually able to tote across the country with me, trying to figure out what I should read. (I've been pretty lax about reading lately, which isn't a good thing, because reading usually does help me get into the writing mood.) I did bring a few as-yet unread books, to broaden my spectrum, but a lot of what I have are what I like to call my "comfort books." They're all books I've read over and over and over a million times, but will never stop rereading. They're the ones I go to when I'm in reading doubt, when I'm depressed, or when I'm lacking inspiration.
I really ought to be reading new things. I have one or two very highly recommended books that I have not yet opened. What do I do instead?
I start rereading the series I've read at least once a year since I was fifteen: Anne Bishop's "Black Jewels Trilogy."
I reread them over and over again for a reason. They're not perfect, mind you. Far from it. They are melodramatic at times, and often smutty, but I am in love with them. They are so familiar and wonderful and inspiring. I love the characters, I love the interactions, I love the world that Bishop has so lovingly created. When I think about being a writer, I hope against hope that someday the books I help write will have the same effect on someone else that Black Jewels has had on me.
That's why I reread them.
Plus, they're great.
But that choice made me want to make a list of my "comfort books" for you, in the hopes that - if you haven't already read them - you might be interested in trying them out. (By the way - if you read and hate Black Jewels, please don't tell me. It would probably kill a piece of my soul if you did.) So, without further ado...
MY TOP 10 "COMFORT BOOKS":
1. "The Black Jewels Trilogy," by Anne Bishop
(Some of the character names can be hard for people to swallow, being somewhat controversial, but it is definitely worth the read. As I stated before.)
2. "Silver Metal Lover," and "Metallic Love," by Tanith Lee
(They should be read as a pair, so they count as one. Don't let the titles throw you off, by the way. They are amazing.)
3. "Biting the Sun," by Tanith Lee
(This one has weird slang in it, but it's actually not that hard to catch onto, once you get a little way in. Be patient - the overall message of the book is really great.)
4. "Harry Potter," by JK Rowling
(She is my hero. I spent 90% of junior high wishing I would get a letter from Hogwarts. I am a HP devotee.)
5. "The Abhorsen Trilogy," by Garth Nix
(Zombies, mages and all kinds of awesomeness. "Sabriel" is great, but the second book - "Lirael" - is, by far, my fave. Reclusive librarian becomes an ass-kicking hero? Who wouldn't love that?)
6. "Breakfast of Champions," by Kurt Vonnegut
(He is weird and wacky and not for the easily offended, but I love him all the same.)
7. "Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears," and "Snow White, Blood Red," edited by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling
(Two parts of a series of modern fairy tale anthologies. Some are humorous, some are very dark. Be warned. Oh, and as an added bonus, "Ruby Slippers" contains stories from both Anne Bishop and Tanith Lee. Yay!)
8. "The Tir Alainn Trilogy," by Anne Bishop
(Not quite as wonderful as "Black Jewels," but still a compelling story by an amazing author.)
9. "Howl's Moving Castle," by Dianna Wynne Jones
(A parody of all the traditional fairy tale elements. Charming and fun.)
10. "Ella Enchanted," by Gail Carson Levine
(I know it's a children's book, but it has remained my favorite Cinderella adaptation for years. I fell in love with it the very first time I read it and have been in love ever since, despite a terrible movie adaptation.)
There are other books that could have made the list, being books I have reread multiple times, but I think these are the ones I've read the most. Over and over again. Because they are so worth it. ("Two Captains" didn't make the list because I helped write it. But goodness gracias, I have read those words millions of times. I can recite the first lines by heart. I'm very fond of the whole thing.)
Am I the only one who rereads things until you almost know them by heart? If you do that too, which books are ones you love soooo darn much that you simply cannot stop rereading?