Thoughtful Thursday: Never gonna give you up

I’m feeling all better now, just in time for my son to go into the hospital this morning to have his tonsils out. Since that means I’ll be spending the next few days helping an almost-three-year-old recuperate, I figure I’ll have some reading time as he snoozes under the benefit of painkillers. In a situation like that, however, I don’t want something new and challenging. I want an old favorite, a familiar tome that doesn’t challenge or surprise, but welcomes me back like a old comfortable sweatshirt, or a Labrador retriever in front of a fire.

That means I am hitting my re-read shelf. Every bibliophile has (at least) one – the repository of those favored volumes that will never be discarded, or traded in for credit at the used book store down the street. So, dear readers, fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewswhat’s on your re-read shelf, and how do you decide what earns its place on the keeper list?

As for me, I’m going to go blow the dust off my copy of Mercedes Lackey’s By The Sword, and tuck it in my purse for the waiting room.

Post a comment and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a copy of Jennifer Estep’s Spider’s Bite. Or, if that book isn’t to your fancy, we’ll let you pick one out of our stacks.

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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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  1. Oooh, good question. I have to confess that Eddings still features on my re-read shelf: the books are so simple and quick to read. David Gemmell is another I’ll turn back to time and again. Sharon Shinn’s Archangel books are fabulous – they tend to be broken out whenever I feel a little bit poorly and need a feel-good read. Diana Gabaldon’s books will never lose their place on my shelves.

    Actually, I have tons!

  2. My re-reads are Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, Patricia Briggs’s books, and Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series…I love em..

  3. I’ve been thinking of re-reading some old favorites lately, like Dune and The Tommyknockers. The Dark Tower series is on my re-read shelf too. I guess to make it to that glorious shelf it has to be a book that remains exciting. What I mean by that is the characters are so alive that the story never gets old. It’s those books that you couldn’t put down and stayed up all night to finish. ;-)

    Hope your son gets to feeling better soon.

  4. The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and the White Rose by Glen Cook are always at the top of my re-read list.

  5. I’ve found that I don’t always recognize a keeper on the first read-through. I can love a book to death, and then never get the urge to read it again. Or, sometimes, I’ll like something, maybe stick 4 stars on it, and then a year later, find myself really wanting to go back to it.

    I’ve read Kushiel’s Dart a bunch of times. Mists of Avalon, the cover is falling to bits. Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour tends to get dusted off whenever I want to settle in for a long winter’s read. The His Dark Materials series, I’ve also read a bunch of times. Harry Potter, too, though I did a lot more HP rereading back when the series was still being written and I was killing time between new releases.

    It tends to take good characters and plot, but also a really interesting setting. I get obsessed with characters and plot when I read something for the first time, but often it’s setting that draws me back again and again. I want to go back to that place.

  6. My rereads tend to be lighter in nature. I have reread the first 8 or so books of Asprin’s Myth series at least 5 or 6 times. Something about watching someone grow and mature and being really funny at the same time never gets old for me.

  7. My rereads are Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Jack L Chalkers’ Dancing Gods series and Joanne Fluke’s mystery series. For a book to make my reread shelf it has to be something that I know I’ll be able to pick up again in the future and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time.

  8. On my re-read shelf (not that I’ve actually re-read them, but I would if I had time): Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood, and Lavondyss. Jack Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy. Most of Jack Vance’s SF. GGK’s Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, Janny Wurts’ To Ride Hell’s Chasm, Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster.

  9. I have JD Robbs books along with some classic Nora Roberts, Annette Blair, Lyndsay Sands, and Peter Straub on my main re-read shelf. A few others scattered around the other shelves I will sometimes pick up too. It really just has to be a good well written story that fits my current mood to make it onto the re-read list.

  10. My re-reads tend to be a little lighter, too. While I love and have reread Dune and Lord of The Rings, I have to gear myself up for them. For a quick, comfortable read, Piers Anthony’s Xanth books are a go-to for me.

  11. I have so many re-reads….Catherine Coulter, Magic the Gathering novels, Harry Potter, Immortals After Dark series, Lords of the Underworld series…At least half of my books actually are rereads.

  12. :lightbulb: Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time series with Rand Al’Thor will stay on my shelves until I am buried they are still among my all time favorite books even though have not read the newest installment yet (it is on my TBR pile). As will Outlander series by DIana Gabaldon, these 2 series have been re-read many times and as of today have so many books have kept have to really think about why but they are mine (my Precious as Gollum would say) and they will stay mine until I run out of room or DH gets rid of the books whichever comes first!!!!:lightbulb:

    jackie b central texas

  13. My re-reads? Hm – Golden Age mystery novels (Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Allingham, Tey, etc). Georgette Heyer’s mysteries and occasionally the romances.

    Everything Diana Wynne Jones has ever written.

    McKinley’s “The Blue Sword” (among others). Andre Norton novels such as “Catseye” and the Free Traders series (“Sargasso of Space”, etc). Joan Aiken. Classic children’s novels such as “Five Children and It”.

    I re-read a lot, perhaps more than new novels these days, and the criteria is simply “because I want to read it again”. A great many novels never fall into that category, and others make the grade more by genre (eg. Golden Age mysteries) rather than individual novels.

  14. Although there are a few books that might make it on a re-read shelf, I find so many new books to read that I never have time to reread! :(


  15. I’ve re-read Robert E. Howard’s Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane, Kull, and Conan stories several times and I have a few different publications. And that includes the Sprague de Camp and Carter edited series with the awesome Frazetta covers.
    Which leads me to mention some books that I’ve held onto that I may never read again, but I keep for sentimental reasons: The entire Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan collection, which has beautiful covers by Neal Adams and Boris. I’m not sure that I could read them again, but those books are what made a book worm of me and are dear to my heart.

  16. Anonymous /

    My personal re-read shelf (that my brother is not to touch! ;-) ) Includes the Inkheart trilogy, Wizard of Earthsea, So You Want to be a Wizard, any of the Chris Wooding I have, and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe :) and the basic requirement for a book to get on ‘the shelf’ is that it has to really pull me in, and in most cases, make it seem like I was acctually there or that it could happen to me. For whatever reason, they were deffinately fun books and I wouldn’t ever want to get rid of them.

  17. I haven’t re-read any books yet, because like vslavetopassionv, i too find too many new books to read, and instead my tbr pile just keeps growing and growing.

  18. I think illukar is my reading twin. I love Georgette Heyer’s mysteries, along with Marsh and Tey, etc. Catseye is my favorite Andre Norton with Zero Stone coming in a close second. And I’ve mentioned Blue Sword as a favorite before as well. Others on my re-read shelf are Dune – usually every 3 years or so. Sorcery and Cecelia by Wrede and Stevermer, College of Magics by Stevermer, The first 3 books in the Mageworlds series by Doyle and Macdonald, The Telzey Amberdon stories by James Schmitz, and just about anything by Madeleine L’Engle. The White Dragon, To Ride Pegasus & The Wings of Pegasus, & The Ship who Searched all by Anne McCaffery with Mercedes Lackey as a co-author on the Ship one. And Lackeys Queens Own. And every once in a while, 101 Dalmations :-D

  19. Let’s see. I’ve read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time numerous times but that’s more just to remember the characters. In epic fantasy, I read David Eddings and Terry Brooks multiple times, too, growing up. More recently, Kim Harrison, the early Anita Blake books, the Stephanie Plum (non-fantasy, but …)novels. Hmmm. the list goes on and on. I’m beginning to think it’s possible I’m a compulsive reader…

  20. I have a new favorite. Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. My old fav? Keri Arthur’s Full Moon Rising. Both were filled with action, mystery, suspense, danger, and best of all, romance. (happy sigh)

  21. What is this thing you call the “reread shelf”? Isn’t that just the shelves? :)

    For the Never-ending series, I usually do a reread after the 3 or 4th book, and sometimes, though rarely, another by the end (thanks you Tad Williams for including a synopsis in the most recent–really, would it kill more of you folks to do that?)

    I used to reread much more frequently–the series were shorter (ahhh, remember when “series” meant trilogy?), books were shorter (ahhh, remember when “long” meant 500 pages?), days were longer (ahhh, remember when I was young?) I used to reread LOTR yearly, then every two years, now every 4-5. My favorite YA’s multiple times, such as Prydain and a few others (love those YA re-reads–a few hours and you’re done). Donaldson’s and Hobbs’ series have both gotten several re-reads. And a few have had the single reread though I hold out hopes of yet another (I’m talking to you Black Company!)

  22. I’m pretty straight forward. If I like a book, I keep it to reread. If I don’t, I get rid of it. So most of the stuff here I’ve reviewed at 4 or 5 stars will still be on my shelves. And generally the amount of times I’ll reread any given book is startling. Considering how well I remember the details of books, I’m not sure how I do it.

    Of course, there are exceptions, but those are usually books I’ve grown out of.

  23. My reread stack consists of the first two books by Ken Scholes – Lamentation & Canticle. This is an epic series I feel I will learn something new each time or spot something I didn’t see before. I also have a few new favorites, one being Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding.

    Hope your son has a wonderful time eating all that ice cream and Popsicle sticks. Best of luck to him.

  24. I don’t re-read books very often, but there are some books that I just have to add to the keeper shelf. All of Ann Aguirre’s Jax series, Linnea Sinclair’s books, and Kim Harrison’s books are on that shelf.

  25. The winner is…..Raelena Pavey.

    Please contact me via the contact form

    Congratulations and if you don’t want that particular book, then pick one from our stacks

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