Thoughtful Thursday: Ode to a blank slate

My niece posed a very difficult question last week, one to which I still have not developed a satisfactory answer. She was watching the Harry Potter marathon on TV and asked:fantasy and science fiction book reviews

What series would you like to read again for the first time, if you could have your memory erased so you could discover it all over again?

I’ve been thinking about this for a week and still haven’t come up with an answer. I have books that I love to reread because they are familiar and comfortable, and it’s like visiting with an old friend. And then I had books that I remember loving years earlier, but don’t stand up to a reread because my tastes have matured (hopefully) and changed. So to try and read them for the first time now would be losing some wonderful memories without replacing them with anything better.

So, dear readers, I turn to you for an answer to the question: What series or standalone fantasy book would you undergo a mind wipe for? Hopefully you’ll have better luck coming up with an answer than I did.

Let us know in the comments and we’ll draw a winner from among all the commenters to choose a book from our ever-increasing stacks. And if you haven’t already registered with this form to send us your address, go do that right now. We can’t send you your winnings if you don’t fill it out. And we promise never to do any nefarious deeds with the information you give us.

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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. I’d have to say the Harry Potter series. It’s the only series where I’ve been halfway through the first book and run out to buy the next two because I didn’t want to wait to read them.

  2. Harry Potter is definitely one I would like to read fresh again, but if I was forced to choose just one, it would be the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. There is a lot to be said about good writing vs. bad writing but I truly believe that there is writing out there that just speaks to some people, especially the lifetime readers like myself. Well, Ms Carey is it for me. I haven’t found anyone who’s writing speaks to me the way hers does. The plot is twisty and unexpected and the characters are fantastic as well. I’d just love to be introduced to them all over again!

  3. I’d love to say GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire but since we can’t even get the 5th book….. :(

  4. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and can’t decide. I think Mythago Wood and Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock.
    (At this point, Kelly is going “argh! When am I going to ever get time to read those?”)

    But today I’m kind of wishing for a mindwipe of Robin Hobb’s Farseer saga because they’ve recently been put on audio and Tantor Media is sending me the first one to review. I loved that series a long time ago, so it will be fun to read it again.

  5. @Hawkeyegirl: I have to agree–it would be awesome to be discovering the Kushiel series for the first time. Talk about a world that just sucks you in.

    @Kat: LOL! Yeah, I have the first book still languishing around here, and I got it from Paperback Swap at least a year ago! :-(( I usually do have a non-ARC book running alongside all my ARCs, so maybe I’ll make a point of making that one of my next ones. (I have Vance’s Lyonesse around somewhere too.)

  6. Anonymous /

    I can’t think of a series in particular, but I have often finished a series or a book and wished I could immediately repeat that initial reading.

    A thought: if you have ever read a book, then gone on read other books by that author, or in that genre, or with a similar plotline – isn’t that an attempt to recapture the feelings/experience you had reading that original book?

  7. I would have to say Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

  8. I’d say either Lord of the Rings or Song of Ice and Fire. Both pretty much changed my life. I would love to go through them again without prior knowledge although I’ve already done a LotR reread and I thought it was even better the second time. So great.

  9. Anonymous /

    Hm…Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Mageworld, The Blue Sword…There are so many books I would love to rediscover it is hard to choose just one.

    On the flip side, I would like to wipe my mind and never read the Dark Angel Trilogy; yes the books were well written and I liked them very much, I did, however, loath the ending and throw the book at the wall. Therefore I would like my memory wiped of all recollection.

  10. I think the Mage World series would have to be right up there with Harry Potter. I’d like to be able to rediscover all the twists and turns that amazed me the first time throught the mageworlds. Maybe Dune. They are both ones I re-read anyway, but it might be fun to feel that amazement at what the author accomplished anew.

  11. My instinctive reaction would be the Harry Potter series – because I enjoyed them as an adult and I enjoyed them to the end.

    Although I was, and still am, truly enchanted by the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by the time I got to the Silver Chair and the Last Battle a lot of the charm had worn off.

    The Thursday Next series is also a favourite and amazes me anew every time even without the memory wipe.

  12. Anonymous /

    This is Rebekah, and I was the one who posted right before Sarah (computer has me signed in but won’t display my name).

    To add to the list, I would NEVER want my mind wiped of any of the Just So Stories by Kipling because I still love them but nothing could beat having them read to you as a little girl.

  13. For me it would have to be Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. This trilogy reignited my love of the fantasy genre and reminded me of how I felt when I had first read the Lord of the Rings. The trilogy also introduced me to similarly great authors such as GRRM, Steve Erikson, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss.

  14. I would have to go with the books of Megan Whalen Turner–in particular, The King of Attolia. I thought it was such a touching love story, that two weeks after I finished it, I picked it up and read it again. She gets better with each book, and the chance to discover her writing all over again would be magical.

    (Alternately, I wouldn’t mind the chance to forget the books I’ve written and be able to read them completely fresh. Even better would be to discover that someone had published them.:eyebrows: )

  15. 14668915000253158606 /

    My favorite series is the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. It’s exciting, lots of action, enough to sex to be interesting but not so much that it over powers the story. Mercy is though, caring, she can kick some butt but also fall on it. I love to read each book, and the 5th and newest book was just as good as the first one and that’s really hard to say with most series.

  16. I would like to read Rachel Vincent’s Pride Series all over again with a memory wipe right before the last book Alpha comes out. It would be sweet to read them all new again, I really enjoyed the series.

  17. 07308939661436567573 /

    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. It’s such a powerful, moving story. There is just something about the way Kay writes that draws me in.

  18. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It is a witty, funny and interesting series. I would love rediscover the series all over again.

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