The books of our souls
The week has flown by, and I’ve been reading delightful secret things I can’t talk about. Well, and ‘Wise Man’s Fear’ which is more like revisiting an old friend than anything else.
But it does have me thinking about those books that you go back to over and over and over again. Sometimes they’re comfort reads; you know books that you just get a particular feeling from, and want to enjoy that feeling again and again.
And then there are those books where maybe you have a slight crush on a character. You know the book. And you know the character. And you know I would never ever judge you.
At least not publicly.
And then there are the books that are somewhere in the middle. They’re the ones that you pick up and just find yourself in. I can think of several stops my head that this category for me Patricia McKillip, Sharon Shinn, and more and more I find myself comfort rereading Patrick Rothfuss. I’m not entirely certain I’ll feel that way after ‘doors of stone’ has come out but that’s the joy in the wait, isn’t it?
And these books I revisit have changed as I’ve gotten older. I can look back and think of innumerable times as a teen I reread Piers Anthony or David Eddings novels (But is that something I should admit?). I never fell in love with Robert Jordan as a writer. Possibly because I was already in love with David Eddings. And that influenced me I think as a reader, that preference for Eddings.
Because Eddings was more about character and less about plot, possibly less about world building as well. I’m not writing best start a fight about Robert Jordan’s writing quality though I’m sure that some have a snarky comment for me.
However, Eddings led me to Dave Duncan. And Dave Duncan led me to Kate Elliott. Kate Elliott lead me to Robin Hobb. And, to quote Jordan, the wheel turns.
I’m sure that these books that we reread time and again reflect something deeply personal about us. And it’s possible but even the sections of books we read reveal to some extent the secret turnings of our soul.
What does it say about me after all, that I can read the ending of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’ over and over again, reveling? Is it the sweet or is it the bitter that draws me back? Or maybe it’s just Charles Vess’ gorgeous art.
Or, in another case, those opening pages of Jacqueline Carey’s ‘Kushiel’s Dart’, with its heart stopping prose, and heartbreaking losses.
In the end I don’t think it’s necessarily the books we read that define us, I think it’s the ones we reread. Those of the ones that embed themselves on our souls.
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