Wednesday, July 21, 2010
If you're lucky vacation time is a great time to catch up on your reading. If you have kids, it's a time to glance at a few paragraphs before you collapse into your hotel bed. I've learned that I can't bring a book I haven't already read with me when I go on vacation. Even if I'm lucky enough to find an honest-to-goodness beach for my beach reading, the distractions are too much and I spend more time picking the book up and re-reading the same page over and over. Unless I have read the book before. I can't keep every book that comes through my front door, but I definitely keep as many favorites as I can. I've always liked re-reading books. My memory isn't sharp enough to remember more than the sketchiest details of a book after a few months-- give me a few years and it's like I'm reading it for the first time. But my "favorite" re-reads vary. I can't attempt to re-read a book that I read recently. It has to be something I haven't read for at least a year-- ideally it will have been a couple of years. But I've had fun over the summer picking out a few old favorites and taking them on the road with me. So here's my list of this summer's best re-reads. Old Man's War by John Scalzi I don't read a lot of science fiction-- I tend to prefer fantasy when I read, though I like science fiction best when it comes to my movies. I'm weird. But I just love "Old Man's War." Everything about it tickles my fancy and credit goes to Scalzi's writing style which is so accessible. But where Scalzi really earned my respect was the deft handling of plot lines that could be politically biased and heavy handed, but flow naturally and effortlessly within the characterizations. "Old Man's War" is the perfect book for the busy vacation because it's instantly engrossing without being over complicated. Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann I received "Ancient Appetites" a few years ago from a UK publisher and thought it was wonderful. It's even better on the second reading. It's a hard book to describe, though I guess I would call it a YA steampunk novel. Full of action and inventive scientific and mystical elements, it's just a really fun book that still kept me up reading. It's not on bookshelves in the US, but easily obtained through used book sellers here in the States. I just purchased the sequel and can't wait to read it. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban The Harry Potter series is probably the only whole series I'll go back and re-read every few years, but if I only have time to spare for one book in the series, I often pick up "The Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm not sure why, but this one was probably the book that really got me hooked on the series. If I had to guess, I'd say it was the introduction of Sirius Black and the history we're finally given about Harry's parents. This is when the series begins to grow up IMHO. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong Paranormal fiction is a great choice for vacation reading. Many of the books are short, easy to follow and loaded with action. My choice this year was "Bitten." I discovered Armstrong's series after at least three books had already been released and devoured them within a week. I've always liked the way Armstrong set up the series with varying main characters and the female perspective. But I'm always drawn back to the first book because of it's unique take on the werewolf story. Werewolves may not be new anymore, but Armstrong gets credit as one of the first who ushered in the recent popularity of the genre, and she still does it better than most. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti Sometimes I'm in the mood for a little romance, though it has to have some fantastic elements to it. I read "Clockwork Heart" a few years ago and was thoroughly charmed. It was the first steampunk book I ever read and it definitely stoked my interest in the genre. Best described as a steampunk version of "Pride & Prejudice" it draws on the best elements of Jane Austen's great story without borrowing too heavily from the original. Very likable and sweet no matter how many times I read it. So there's my list and I'm sticking to it. Anyone else re-read anything this summer? If so, what's your list look like?