Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Rereading.

[This post is done as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. It is also done as part of GaCoWriMo, my own personal twist to NaNoWriMo]

My usual philosophy when it comes to rereading is that there are just too many new books out there to explore rather than revisit old ones but, just as I am with TV shows, sometimes I totally ignore that because: comfort (brain)foods, y’all.

Rather than only talk about books that I want to reread, though, I’ve decided to spread out my top ten list over three different categories because I cannot think of enough examples for just that one topic to spice things up.

Book(serie)s that I have reread:

   

1. The Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling The Queen of the World)

I’m pretty sure this is on practically everyone’s list. I mean, the series has it all: fantastic world building; endearing characters; great action; simple-yet-engaging writing; smooth pacing. If you ask me, barring the fanficfest that is Half Blood Prince, every single title is fantastic. I’ve gone through this series at least four times and enjoyed each one as much as the last.

2. The Animorphs series (K. A. Applegate)

The first series that I obsessed about (I even wrote K. A. Applegate fanmail!), the Animorphs series covers all ground: a great setting and world building; snazzy dialogue; a fantastic mix of humour, drama, and action; and, considering it’s a book aimed at younger audiences, surprisingly dark and mature issues as well as flawed but consequently far more realistic characters. And, I mean, it’s humans turning into animals fighting against a parasitic mind-control alien invasion. How cool is that?!

3. The Blending series (Sharon Green)

The Blending series, about a group of five people with five different types of magic put together into a tournament to determine the country’s next rulers, is a strange one. On the surface, it doesn’t look very good – the characters are too perfect, the dialogue too stiff, the conflicts too easily and quickly resolved, the R(21) scenes too unnecessary. Despite that, there’s just something about the books that draws me in. Maybe it’s the interesting, inexplicably detailed magic system Green describes, or the way that the CaptainPlanet-esque Blending works, or the exciting Hunger Games-meets Big Brother competition style. Or maybe sometimes I just like my conflicts ended within the same chapter. Whatever it is, I’ve already read the series three times and I’m pretty sure I’ll do it again in the future.

4. The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins)

This isn’t a series that I think is perfect. The trilogy started off well enough but declined progressively, with Mockingjay being a bit of a mess and yes, I prefer Battle Royale. Still, though, the premise of the books is undeniably engaging, having started off the whole dystopian furore in recent years, and Collins has created an intricate, expansive world within her series that is pretty impressive. I reread the books before catching some silver screen fire and will probably do so again since Mockingjay Part 1 comes outs pretty soon.

Book(serie)s that I want to reread:

5. The Pendragon series (D. J. MacHale)

I think this series is one of the most underrated young adult fiction sets out there. Detailing the story of Bobby Pendragon, who finds out he’s a Traveller who has to protect his home and other territories (i.e. “alternate dimensions”) against the evil machinations of Saint Dane, it’s a pity it hasn’t seen the success of the earlier mentioned books.

Like Rowling and Applegate, MacHale has created a fantastic universe (or multiverse?), peopled by a diverse, lovable set of characters, and a series of ten compelling, thrilling stories weaved masterfully together into a grander narrative. The books are relatively long for YA books (especially for someone as attention deficit as me) but I’ve always devoured each entry within a day or two. I cannot wait to revisit this series soon.

6. The Lon Tobyn Chronicles (David B. Coe)

I don’t remember much about this trilogy about mages who have bird familiars, only that it was one of the first more “hardcore” fantasy series that I, as a young reader, could finish and loved and that the avian-based magic system was quite interesting. This has been a pretty hard set of books to track down since it’s pretty old and I’ve only managed to buy the first book, which is sitting in my cupboard waiting to be joined by its sequels before I can start my rereading.

7. Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie)

I’m not usually a fan of literary award winners – I’ve always veered toward more straightforward, plot-centric books rather than those with various layers of commentary, allegories, hidden meanings and themes. Call me superficial and fluffy if you will but, for me, reading is a form of escape immersion and I find it very hard to immerse myself in something which requires me to analyse, break down and, y’know, use my brain too much. Plus, some of them just go so overboard with the flowery language.

This isn’t one of those, though. I can’t remember much about the story itself, having read this long ago, but I do remember how amazed I was at Rushdie’s masterful manhandling of the English language, weaving words together in a way that I’ve never seen before or even thought possible. I just bought a copy recently and I can’t wait to get cracking on it once I’m done with my current batch of books.

Books I’ve “reread” in other formats:

(I’m going to combine the final three books together because I’m getting lazy and the post is rambling on too long I have pretty much the same comments for all of them. Heck, I’ll even throw in an 11th one as a bonus.)

8. Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling, audiobook narrated by Mindy Kaling)
9. Seriously…I’m Kidding (Ellen DeGeneres, audiobook narrated by Ellen DeGeneres) 
10. Bossypants (Tina Fey, audiobook narrated by Tina Fey)
11. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (Jenny Lawson, audiobook narrated by Jenny Lawson)

These are all books written by some of my favourite comediennes/writers. Though I had different opinions on each after my first readthroughs (Lawson’s book was one of the funniest I’ve ever read, Ellen’s and Mindy’s were pretty decent, while Fey’s was slightly disappointing), the audiobooks are all uniformly awesome.

Audiobooks narrated by their original authors are always a pretty great experience because you get to hear the stories told in exactly the way they were meant to be. Sometimes, the audiobooks make for even better “reads” than the books themselves. All four of these ladies are masters at narration, Fey and Ellen in particular great at pacing and stretching their comedic timing for maximum punch.

If you like any of them, or their books (or even if you didn’t take to them all that well), it’s good to give these a go. I can’t guarantee you won’t make a fool of yourself on public transport though. Rare is the loud giggler that does not get judged.

[All images from Goodreads]

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