My re-reading list

I was inspired by Breaking Sarah’s list of books she loves, and I wanted to share books I’ve read more than once.  In no particular order:

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce: Alanna, the First Adventure; In the Hand of the Goddess; The Woman Who Rides like a Man; and Lioness Rampant. These four young adult books have been consistently in my life since I found the first book at age 12 at my middle school library. They tell the story of Alanna, who disguises herself as a boy in order to become a knight. Full of friendship, fighting, magic, these books are driven by a spirited heroine who overcomes obstacles to become one of the most acclaimed knights in the realm. I re-read the series at least once a year.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. This book depicts the coming of age story of the narrator, Louise.  She constantly feels out of place in comparison to her twin sister, Caroline, who seems to get everyone’s attention and praise. I identify with Louise’s journey of discovering where and how she fits. Also, the island where she and her family live is almost a character unto itself. This book is perhaps less whimsical than Bridge to Terabithia, one of Paterson’s better-known novels, and beautifully written.

Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, specifically Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, and Kushiel’s Avatar. This trilogy focuses on Phèdre, who begins her journey as a courtesan who finds exquisite pleasure from pain. Carey creates an incredibly intricate alternate world full of vivid landscapes, harrowing adventures, and dynamic characters. There are BDSM-like scenes that can sometimes be hard for me to read (possible trigger warnings). If this series of books were a movie and included those scenes, it’d likely be rated NC-17.  I love the mythology and legends in these books and how they interweave with the characters’ lives. Several sayings from the books that stand out to me: Love as thou wilt. All knowledge is worth having. That which yields is not always weak.

Harry Potter. I don’t think I need to say much here. I think I’ve read the whole series at least twice.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. This book involves three parallel stories of different characters whose lives are connected: a ranger/wildlife biologist whose time of solitude is about to change; a widow – a university educated farmer’s wife – who seeks to find her place in the community after her husband’s death; and two feuding neighbors. I love the way Barbara Kingsolver combines her knowledge of biology and gift of storytelling with a deep empathy for human life and beautiful language.

The Golden Compass (Also known as Northern Lights in the U.K. and Australia) by Phillip Pullman. I had to go to my shelf and find my dog-eared copy of this to remember this one.  This book is the first in a trilogy about Lyra, a young girl who travels to the Arctic to save her friend who has been kidnapped. It takes place in a parallel world where people’s souls live outside their bodies in animal form, acting as their consciences and guides.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was definitely one of my favorite books as a young adult. This book tells the story of Ender Wiggin, the youngest child from a highly intelligent family, who is sent to battle school to train to help with the efforts of fighting the “buggers,” an alien species. This science-fiction novel has a strong story with well-developed characters, action scenes, and a message that reflects deeply on human nature.

I’m having difficultly remembering if I’ve read many of Neil Gaiman’s books more than once – most likely Neverwhere and Stardust and parts of the Sandman graphic novel series – and I definitely perk up whenever I see one of his books. Gritty and dark at times, whimsical at others, his books reach into fantasy worlds full of suspense, beauty, and memorable characters.

As a voracious reader, I’m realizing I could probably come up with other books. However, I’m going to end this here. What books have you read multiple times?

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