The above post from 2012 made me think about the books I reread… I reread a lot (I have even, more than once in my life, reread a book immediately after finishing it.) But it was the phrase “good, familiar, comfort books” that really got me to thinking.
All of the books I’ve had for a long time are packed away right now; the books on my bedroom shelves have all been with me no more than the three and a half years since my most recent move. So, in the context of “comfort book rereads” and books that are boxed up, I thought of not necessarily the books I’ve reread the most times, but the books that I miss the most and wish I could reread. Here is my top ten list of books I miss:
I miss all of my Discworld books, really, but especially Night Watch
, and Witches Abroad
– my favorites of their respective subseries – by Terry Pratchett. Night Watch
were both bought in airport bookstores when I was flying a lot during college; I believe Witches Abroad
was given to me by my oldest brother my first Christmas at college and was my introduction to that particular hilarious and fascinating trio of characters. I love the weaving of fairy tales through that story, how it pokes fun at them and yet acknowledges their power at the same time. For several years I read Hogfather
every Christmas season. 🙂 I enjoy its satire of Christmas traditions, pointing out just how many of them make little sense, while still telling a good story and making me laugh. “Oh, there has to be something in the stocking that makes a noise, otherwise what is 4:30 a.m. for?” (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather) I could read the fantastic time-slip novel Night Watch
every spring, but I don’t. I certainly do think of Sam Vimes every time the lilac comes pushing up over the backyard fences, though.
The Sevenwaters Trilogy, by Juliet Marillier; Daughter of the Forest
, Son of the Shadows
, and Child of the Prophecy
. I first encountered this historical fantasy trilogy set in ninth century Ireland and Britain during my barely-post-college days on a recommendation from a friend and I borrowed her copies. When I moved states about six months later, I left a sentimental hoodie behind at her place. A mutual friend, also a fan of the books, was now living in that apartment and kindly mailed my hoodie back to me – with a bookstore gift card. So, in honor of the good times I had shared with them, I used the card to buy the three books, and I think of those young ladies when I read them. It’s easy for me to identify with the heroine of the first book, Sorcha of Daughter of the Forest
, whose influence runs through the trilogy; a small sister trying to keep up with the adventures of older brothers. Though she’s got double the older brothers I do and they ran through a forest instead of a jungle. It’s been years since my last reread, though, and I miss Sorcha and her family.
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Fellowship of the Ring
, The Two Towers
, and Return of the King
. An online conversation one September – the birth month of certain Hobbits – made me realize just how long it’s been since I read the whole epic fantasy trilogy. I have a one-volume version
, bought back in 2001 when the movies were just reigniting the popularity, but before the second and third movies came out. I actually watched The Fellowship of the Ring
without having read any of the books besides The Hobbit
. The credits rolled and I thought “That can’t
be how the whole thing ends!” So I went the next week and bought the one-volume book. It took me a while to work through it that first time, it is over a thousand pages with the appendices and index, but it was indeed a much better ending. 🙂 My copy has a ticket stub from the Pebble Beach Aquarium as a bookmark, from a family trip we took while I was reading it the first time.
by Robert A. Heinlein. Just before I wrote this post [which, admittedly, was in the draft stage for quite some time] I tried some free Kindle books and found several… subpar military science fiction books. It made me miss one of the well-written classic good ones. 🙂 I first read my eldest uncle’s copy – more than once, I think – until I broke down and bought my own while living in Pennsylvania in the late 2000s. Mine is a new-edition cover, and not the classic paperback size, but I think I had a coupon and that was what the store had. I know the book is controversial for its militarism and political threads, but I love it for the characters, the coming-of-age story, and the old ’60s sci-fi feel.
Honorable mention: Fire Line: Summer Battles of the West
by Michael Thoele. Conversations with my mother [again, recent to starting this post] about her teenage summer as a fire lookout in a metal tower in northern California made me miss the wildland firefighting stories in this book. There are some great photos included, even a picture of a tower that looks like the one she worked in. I first encountered a story from this book in an anthology on Fire that I bought from a library sale. Several months later I had some birthday money to spend and decided to take a risk on ordering a book I hadn’t actually read (unusual for me.) I’m so glad that the whole book turned out to be as good as that excerpt – it reads like oldtimers sitting around the campfire swapping fire stories, incredible but true, with a bit of history and occasional technical explanations thrown in to help those of us who don’t know.
Well, there you have it. That started as just a list of titles, then I began to add in what made me miss those books in particular, which then tied into how I’d gotten some of them, so I decided to include that information for each book. It probably tells you a lot about my psychology or something. 🙂
What about you? Do you ever miss books? What books do you (or would you, if you could) reread? I love book recommendations! 🙂