I’ve just been reading a post, and the subsequent comments, over at Tor.com titled Re-reading Long Series. There’s something very satisfying about seeing a whole bunch of people talking with enthusiasm about re-reading the same series of books that I too love re-reading. There were a number of series I haven’t read mentioned as well, perhaps I should give them a go.
There are a few series that I re-read on a fairly regular basis, I love coming back to the familiar characters and watching the stories unfold with the pleasure of knowing how all the puzzle pieces fit together. It’s about appreciating the craftsmanship of the writing, noticing all the little details that are imbued with so much more meaning now that I know where they are leading. Noticing details that I missed the first, second, even third time through (I read fast, the first time through I’m all about finding out what happens next). Revisiting worlds that I love, immersing myself in the series’ universe and reveling in the fact that I can stay there for many, many hours as I work my way through anything from 3 to 36* books.
Here’s my (probably incomplete) list of series re-reads. Some I’ll come back to on a yearly basis, others I revisit when there’s a new addition to the series and some I haven’t re-read in years but really should dig out and rediscover.
Dorothy L. Sayers – Lord Peter Whimsey
Terry Pratchett – Discworld
Lois McMaster Bujold – The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion books and The Sharing Knife
Dorothy Dunnett – The Lymond Chronicles, The House of Niccolo
C. J. Cherryh – Foreigner
Arthur Ransome – Swallows and Amazons
Madeleine L’Engle – The Time Quintet
Marion Zimmer Bradley – Darkover
C.S. Lewis – Narnia
Tolkien – Lord Of The Rings
Susan Cooper – Dark is Rising
John Marsden – The Tomorrow series
C. S. Forester – Hornblower
James Herriot‘s vet books
Spike Milligan‘s war memoirs
Sharon Kay Penman – The Welsh trilogy: Here De Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning.
I even went and wandered around my bookshelves when compiling this list in an attempt not to forget any of my favourites. What I noticed (aside from the fact that my bookshelves require a “wander” to peruse rather than a “stand in front of”) is that there are a fair few series on my shelves that I used to re-read regularly many years ago but which I now have no desire to re-visit. I wonder if I would be recaptured should I venture into those worlds again. Experience suggests not as I also found some series which I have tried in recent times after many years absence only to find my that either my tastes have changed or I’m much less tolerant of less than wonderful writing now that I have rather less time to spend with book in hand.
Are you a re-reader of entire series and if so what are your particular favourites?
*Ok, I haven’t actually done the Discworld series from go to woe since it reached such gargantuan proportions.