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Built to last

In a time of throw-away fashionable clothing, pre-cooked microwavable meals, and when a new author’s retention time on brick and mortar store’s book-shelf is 6 weeks – if the book store gets it unpacked and on the shelf by day one of its six weeks… I guess I was born in the wrong era.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like modern medicine a lot more than wire-brush-and-Dettol or sacrificing a clay replica of the afflicted body-part, but books that make it onto my shelf tend to have a very long retention time. I don’t sell them, even if I am foolish enough to lend them out. I’ve enjoyed them, and I want others to try them and enjoy them too… Which works, but they don’t always come home. Look, I wear clothes until they are past repairing. What is this fashion thing of which you speak? And I guess I am the same about books –at least some of them – I read and re-read until they fall apart. And, as often as not, I’ve hunted down another copy before that happens. They’re old friends I turn to in tough times.

Now… just as my sartorial elegance is bad news for the rag trade (unless they’re buying. I do produce rags, eventually), my reading habits are, I admit, not great for the book trade… except that if you’ve made it onto my re-read shelves, especially if you’ve made it into my comfort read selection… your next book is a shoo-in. Possibly in hard-back, if I can afford it. And then I will lend it to someone, forget who they were, and buy another. Sometimes this process gets repeated a lot – which has to be good for at least that author.

Of course, rather like rushing to sell that next ‘wear twice and throw away’ fashionable garment, the short term relationship with a book is short term profitable – but not what I’m looking for, and prepared to spend money on. I buy jeans and boots to last. I buy books pretty much the same way. I know, this is not for everyone, and popcorn books are popular and make money. Cool. But it’s not – as an author, what I am trying to achieve. Your mileage may vary. I was looking for the long tail, the sales that go on and on – possibly as more people are lent the book and it doesn’t come home.

So: the obvious strategy is to look at pre-existing examples, and say ‘what do those have in common?’ and ‘what can I do with my own craft to take advantage of that?’

The key thing here is to realize – when searching for pre-existing examples – is that this is somewhat like looking at a symptom – say a headache – and diagnosing cause. A lot of things can cause the symptom, in a lot of different degrees. There are books with a small cult following (not a bad thing if the cult is not too small, and your attempt can capitalize on the desire for more. John Scalzi made something of a career out of continuing H. Beam Piper. Eric and I have done quite well out of the Karres books.)

There are books which made such a shocking impact that few want to read them twice – but they want that impact made on others (that’s a high risk strategy, assuming both your skill and the situation the same as it was for that author.) The Lathe of Heaven, and the Handmaiden’s Tale spring to my mind. If one accounts for factors like the author’s reputation (for instance as an activist or literary figure) or someone making a movie or TV series, you may come to realize you’re asking a lot of yourself – or of the luck or connections it takes to get that to happen. Books like Dune or Lord of the Rings on the other hand were enduring favorites before the movies were made. – and would have gone right on selling without it. On the other hand: are you Herbert (and that was really his one outstandingly great book) or JRR Tolkien?

There are also books which endure because… they’re great reads but also comfort reads. This has been my target. I’m getting the comfort part right sometimes. Well. I like think I am.

Now, part of what I was doing today was to ask your opinions on what books you thought fitted the enduring comfort read. Books that may not last centuries, but will a few generations.

I’ll start the ball rolling with a few of my favorites – and why. Lest Darkness Fall – by L Sprague de Camp. Now, this is probably in ‘cult’ corner, but I just loved the lead character (so much so that I used him for the role model for my hero in Pyramid Scheme, mixed in with another de Camp character Robert Shea. But he’s more ‘Mouse’ Padway.) He’s a small, intelligent-and-not-physical archeologist, cast into a situation which is very physical, where brute force mostly triumphs. Padway can’t outfight – but he can out-think. It’s a problem solving book, with a level of satire (that floated right over me as a kid, when I first met the book). It is also easy to read, with realistic (and memorable) dialogue driving it. (‘Sure he’s honest. You just have to watch him.’) Yes, it is a happy ending (with a few elements of doubt), and it’s chock-full of fascinating little details of history – never a lecture, just seasoning.

The Black Sheep – Georgette Heyer. I’ve read this so often I quote chunks of the repartee. “Talking to you Sir, is like talking to an eel!” “Do you find them more responsive than gateposts?” As well the priceless “Will no-one save my poor Fanny?” The characters cleverly wrought – but (unlike Mouse Padway) none of them have much in common with me. However, it is once again the case that Miles uses his head to solve the problems, rather than brawn. I suppose that might appeal. It’s not that object to fights, I just like the trickery. And yes, once again the book is very easy reading, with a surprising amount of historical detail – but so lightly added it slides in. Needless to say – a happy end.

Fallon – Louis L’Amour – Now Macon Fallon is a man with a fast horse… and a glib tongue. There’s plenty of shooting and fighting – but there’s war with the mind and the mouth too. Again – easy to read, good dialogue, all tied in to a trickster-character. And although Fallon at the end won’t get any help out of his fast horse, it does have a happy ending…

I could go on for a long time, Poul Anderson, Diana Wynne Jones, Doris Sutcliffe Adams…

And every one of them sold, solidly, for years, and each author sold many other books. Not a prize winner among them. Invaluable additions to my comfort shelf.

So what are your enduring comfort reads?

78 Comments
  1. Kipling’s Stalky & Co is such a comfort read that I don’t need to read it anymore.

    RAH gives me at least three – Friday, Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Again I’ve reread them so many times I barely need to open the book to read them.

    Bujold’s homage to Heyer (and others) – A Civil Campaign – and the book a couple before it – Memory – are on the list too but not as well read.

    Also some bloke wrote about a Dog and a Dragon .. those are good

    February 19, 2018
    • 🙂 Stalky & co was the common ground between my dad and I. And it could have been written about the boarding school we both attended.

      February 19, 2018
  2. Comfort reads? Jack Vance. In particular the Tschai series. Seven trips (maybe eight, I’m starting to lose track) and it’s fresh every time. Escapism in its purest form and most eloquent language.

    February 19, 2018
    • I remain intensely proud of doing the foreword to the re-issue of Blue World. The inventiveness of Vance is something people just miss, because he’s so matter-of-fact about it.
      It’s complex-written-simple. That’s one hell of a trick to achieve.

      February 19, 2018
  3. The Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. I’ve read through the entire 20.5 book series at least half a dozen times, and get something new out of it each time.

    February 19, 2018
    • You and Weber 🙂 I often wonder what people who read only once miss.

      February 19, 2018
  4. Ian Douglas, pseudonym of William H. Keith jr. Heritage Mars trilogy. Larry Correia Monster Hunter International series. Robert A Heinlein, the usual suspects. C. J. Cherryh Rimrunners in the Merchanter universe. Lois McMaster-Bujold Vorkosigan series.

    February 19, 2018
    • Ah – I hadn’t read Ian Douglas. Based on the others I would probably enjoy that

      February 19, 2018
  5. Starship Troopers, Lord of the Rings, Narnia series, Weber’s Honor Harrington series (at least the first dozen….). All I can think of off hand. Trouble is my memory is so good and some books stick with you so well that it’s hard to reread a few of them. Some are so well crafted that you get something new out of each one.

    February 19, 2018
    • Brett Baker #

      SOMEONE ELSE who’s getting tired of having to read over half of an Honor Harrington to read something new? Shadow of Victory, 1,000+ pages, close to page 600 before something new happened.(Of course I’ll buy the next one…..)

      February 19, 2018
    • Paladin,yeah. That IS something that all my often re-reads have in common. They’re both easy to read and complex – so much so the flow carries me past things I might notice on the first pass if they weren’t. And some them are onion-layers of book. More than one ‘level’

      February 19, 2018
  6. Interesting that you mention The Lathe Of Heaven as a book you only wanted to read once, because it is one of my comfort reads. I love the enduring solidity of George Orr in the face of the universe literally going insane all around him. “No matter where you go–there you are.”

    Several people mention Heinlein, my favorite for comfort is The Star Beast. I love all the characters, and even though I know how it’s going to end I love seeing it come together for the best every time.

    Anything by G K Chesterton, but particularly Orthodoxy and What’s Wrong With The World. He is the perfect antidote to hysteria and insanity in the media.

    February 19, 2018
    • Different books resonate for different reasons I suspect, which is what makes this so complex to analyze. I’ve still got the book – 30 or so years since I bought it. Perhaps on re-reading – now – I might find I’ve changed.

      And yes, comfort in seeing things come together, even if you know they will. Raising John Thomas’s… 🙂

      February 19, 2018
  7. A comfort read defined as a book I re-read? I don’t have that anymore. Don’t know why. It’s no that I don’t read, it’s that I seldom re-read books now, at least on the sub-decade level. Back when my choices were limited to what was on my shelves, or the library’s, and that selection was relatively small, I re-read a great deal. I re-read the James Blish Star Trek novelizations almost to the point of destruction (each short story a nice popcorn read). I didn’t re-read Treasure Island to that point, but only because the library had multiple copies. My copy of The Hunt for Red October was already in foul shape when I bought it, and re-read that and some early Clancy books almost to that point (the later ones turned me off of Clancy). I dearly loved some short stories, such as Nightfall, The Last Phoenix, and for some reason Autofac, and delighted finding them in an anthology. And Poe. Every now and then I’d get a distinct urge to re-read Poe’s short stories.

    One reason why I may not be re-reading as much is because I tend to buy books on sale. This gives me a supply of unread books I can dive into (and, yes, re-read, such as two reference books and one non-fiction that I last read on the decades level).

    February 19, 2018
  8. Second Attempt, of course:

    A comfort read defined as a book I re-read? I don’t have that anymore. Don’t know why. It’s no that I don’t read, it’s that I seldom re-read books now, at least on the sub-decade level. Back when my choices were limited to what was on my shelves, or the library’s, and that selection was relatively small, I re-read a great deal. I re-read the James Blish Star Trek novelizations almost to the point of destruction (each short story a nice popcorn read). I didn’t re-read Treasure Island to that point, but only because the library had multiple copies. My copy of The Hunt for Red October was already in foul shape when I bought it, and re-read that and some early Clancy books almost to that point (the later ones turned me off of Clancy). I dearly loved some short stories, such as Nightfall, The Last Phoenix, and for some reason Autofac, and delighted finding them in an anthology. And Poe. Every now and then I’d get a distinct urge to re-read Poe’s short stories.

    One reason why I may not be re-reading as much is because I tend to buy books on sale. This gives me a supply of unread books I can dive into (and, yes, re-read, such as two reference books and one non-fiction that I last read on the decades level).

    February 19, 2018
  9. Tom #

    E.R. Burroughs, Verne, Wells, Wodehouse, G K Chesterton.
    Heinlein has several. Laumer is always on top with his Retief stories.
    Louis L’Amour is usually read at least once a month.
    Larry Correia and this Freer guy have been bouncing up the list the last couple of years.

    February 19, 2018
  10. I don’t often steal away the time to read the wonderful older books, because I’m fortunate to fill my time reading the wonderful new ones. However:
    “Draw One in the Dark,” by Sarah Hoyt.
    “Starship Trooper,” and others, by Robert A. Heinlein.
    Both of the Belisarius series, meaning the Raj Whitehall on Bellevue series AND the Belisarius on Earth series, by David Drake and company.
    “Freehold,” by Michael Z Williamson.
    “Joy Cometh With the Mourning,” by Dave Freer.
    The Posleen series, especially the first books, by John Ringo. Also by Ringo, the March series.
    “The Club of Queer Trades,” by G K Chesterton.
    Damon Runyon’s ‘Omnibus,’ with all the ‘Guys and Dolls’ type stories, got me through the worst of the flu.
    “Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain.

    At one point, I cycled through all the Tom Clancy books written before ‘Rainbow Six,’ over and over. Beginning with ‘Rainbow Six,’ I read all of his work, but just once.

    February 19, 2018
    • Draven #

      TrooperS. plural.

      February 19, 2018
  11. Christopher M. Chupik #

    Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Robert E. Howard
    Bernard Cornwell
    E. C. Tubb
    Debra Doyle and James D Macdonald
    Timothy Zahn
    Leigh Brackett
    Larry Correia
    Louis L’Amour

    February 19, 2018
  12. c4c

    February 19, 2018
  13. All time favorites:

    The Compleate Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (as one might guess from my mentions of Yngvi 🙂

    The Practice Effect by David Brin, this story is so much finer than his Uplift series, its my favorite thing he’s done.

    The Peace War by Vernor Vinge, and A Fire Upon the Deep as well.

    The Bellgariad and Mallorean series by David and Leigh Eddings. The whole thing.

    The “So You Want To Be A Wizard” series by Dianne Duane. Dianne does not get enough good press from this.

    The Seventh Sword series by Dave Duncan. I use things like “Welder of the Seventh!” from this all the time.

    The Wizard’s Bane series by Rick Cook.

    Anyone detecting a pattern here, of everyday people being plucked from their lives and dropped it the shite somewhere exotic and exciting, I’m guilty.

    February 19, 2018
    • Yes on the Eddings and Duane books. Her latest one is … eh. She self-pubs a bunch of shorts set in the universe called Interim Errantry that’s more entertaining. Bit on the pricey side though, since I prefer physical books.

      February 19, 2018
      • I think Duane is one of those really -good- authors that’s been consistently sidelined/screwed over/ignored by the TradPub universe. They don’t “get” her, would be my guess.

        I forgot to add Correia above as one of my fave re-reads. Monster Hunter contains all the “normal dude dropped in the shite” elements that I crave. Plus guns! Woo hoo!

        There’s lots of other authors that I read everything they write, but I don’t consistently re-read them so much.

        February 19, 2018
        • Yep. Her work in Star Trek are some of my consistent good reads.

          February 19, 2018
        • Also, I am blaming my failure to mention Correia and Butcher on flu headaches.

          February 19, 2018
          • Hope you feel better soon!

            Btw, I saw a doctor’s article that recommended lots of calories and lots of Vitamin A when you have the flu or feel like you’re coming down with it, as those are good to boost your immune system against viruses.

            (Which is why, a couple weeks back, I ate 3/4 gallon of ube ice cream with keso, courtesy of the local Asian market. Greatly improved my morale as well as my immune system. Never did come down with full-fledged flu, although I did have those stupid headaches and other symptoms. Man, that Filipino ice cream is okey-dokey.)

            February 19, 2018
            • *cheer* You’re officially the first person who isn’t a Filipino that I know of that liked ube ice cream with keso. Purple yam with creamy cheese ice cream is yum and I miss the stuff. I especially miss the ‘dirty’* ice cream that you get from sorbetero street vendors back home, and wish I could learn to make the cheap stuff, because keso ice cream, ube ice cream and chocolate, in a pan de sal… pure afternoon bliss.

              (I get people weirded out by avocado ice cream but don’t bat an eye at green tea and sweet adzuki bean ice cream – which is also yuuuuum.)

              Right now I’m having cravings for Filipino food that I can’t get here (street food, mostly) but also things like longganisa (sweet and garlicky Filipino chorizo) and tocino.

              This flu is mostly the headache and feeling of malaise, juuuust on the ‘I ache’ level. It’s lingering and annoying. I’ll have to keep in mind the bit about calories and vitamin A! Thank you!

              *so called because they’re small indie operators; some of them can be dodgy but the majority reason that if they serve up bad ice cream that makes their customers sick, they lose all their business; that makes no sense.

              February 20, 2018
          • Ah yes, flu headaches. A personal favorite of mine.

            I have no such excuse, but I forgot James H. Schmitz! Duh! Everything the guy ever wrote is excellent fun, Witches of Karres is the best.

            February 19, 2018
  14. adventuresfantastic #

    Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, both collaboratively and individually.
    Leigh Brackett
    Ray Bradbury
    Robert E. Howard
    Alan Dean Foster’s Commonwealth novels and stories
    Eric Frank Russell
    Robert Bloch
    Dashiell Hammett
    Charles Beaumont
    Poul Anderson, especially his future history, and most especially the Dominic Flandry stories.
    Startship Troopers, Tunnel in the Sky, and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel

    The above are some of the writers I cut my teeth on in my teens.

    Other books:

    Portrait of Jenny by Robert Nathan
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    The Great Gatsby

    I have little time for reading these days, much less rereading, but these are my comfort reads.

    Well, some of them, anyway.

    February 19, 2018
  15. I don’t have enough time to read new stuff (8^(( I did re-read Weber’s Safehold series. My only recent re-read more than once was Potter’s The Impending Crisis, but that is a history book with a lot of footnotes, dealing with the US in 1845-1860.

    February 19, 2018
    • I rarely reread anything, although I’ll admit I’m rereading “The Godfather” right at the moment.

      February 19, 2018
      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

        I’ve found that when I’m “in a mood” that I’ll reread the Eve Dallas (In Death) series.

        February 19, 2018
      • Idle question Greg: have you ever tested your comprehension and retention? I have mine (a long time back) and while my comprehension was at year 12+7 level, my retention was only 90%. Now I suspect my retention is actually 100% – but because I read really fast – I skip, and miss. Books like LORD OF LIGHT I’m still picking up new things on the 20th read. I always wonder how anyone who read that book once got it all. But that may well relate to how I read.

        February 19, 2018
  16. morrigan508 #

    Heinlein, The Stainless Steel Rat series, Tolkien, Ringo, Webber, Corea, Pournell, and many more.

    February 19, 2018
  17. elainethomp #

    Did I see you mention Doris Sutcliff Adams? If I hadn’t found her work in the library I’d’ve thought I was the only one who ever heard of her. And yes, she’s on my comfort read list.

    February 19, 2018
    • Elaine – she also wrote under the pen name ‘Grace Ingram’. Her RED ADAM’S LADY is my idea of a perfect historical romance. I have re-read it a large number of times, and stand in awe of her skill.

      February 19, 2018
      • Geez. Whoever was writing Kirkus Reviews back then had a Big Hate going against DSA. Even he or she couldn’t make the books sound boring, so he calls them potboilers. What. A. Jerk.

        February 19, 2018
        • It turns out that No Man’s Son, by DSA, is part of the Internet Archive’s little experiment in utilizing US copyright law provisions for fun and nonprofit. I have the book checked out right this minute, but I will finish and return it tonight.

          I don’t know if any other DSA books are currently part of the Lending Library. Going back to reading.

          Thanks, Dave, for making me aware of this great writer!

          February 19, 2018
        • Reviewers… yeah. I still haven’t quite got over the one who said SLOW TRAIN TO ARCTURUS ‘brought nothing new to sf’ – HUH? There were at least 4 of what have to be the most ‘different’ ideas about Slower-than-light travel, that I have seen nowhere else (and I have read a lot of slowship novels – they’re out of fashion, but they actually could work.) 1)The concept of colonizing space not planets (meaning nearly every sun has a habitable zone) 2)the concept of habitat bio-viability being not about volume BUT about surface area – your lungs are not large, but they work because the surface area is about that of a tennis court. 3)that any slower than light journey is 1/3 accelaration 1/3 decellaration – and thus takes much more time (and time is what destroys closed habitats and their communities) and that the train-with-drop-off-last-carriage (which slows down, while the ‘train’ continues.) 4)that both biosopheres _and_ social systems need to be separate and redundant. How you missed that and read the book, I have no idea.

          February 19, 2018
          • I liked that book. The reviewer is clearly an idiot.

            February 19, 2018
            • Looked at the cover, said ‘Baen’ and wrote some generic shit – and got paid…

              February 20, 2018
          • Went off to check and bought it. I like Eric Flint collaborations, so this was a no-brainer.

            February 20, 2018
      • elainethomp #

        I’ve suspected she was Grace Ingram also, given the re-use of the Warby family, but never found confirmation. Thanks!

        February 19, 2018
  18. Brett Baker #

    Ringo, Weber, Drake. Heinlein,L’amour, Kelton and a couple of histories;A struggle for power, Empires of Trust, and God and Gold.

    February 19, 2018
  19. The Discworld series by Pratchett (shout out to Hogfather and Night Watch in particular; I try to read those at the same times every year)
    The Oracle trilogy by Catherine Fisher
    The Resurgam trilogy by Joan Frances Turner
    Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman

    All of these books are ones that I already had in print, but that I also bought on Kindle so I can take them wherever I go.

    February 19, 2018
    • How did I omit Pratchett. ERIC is my favorite though.

      February 19, 2018
  20. Uncle Lar #

    Most Heinlein, I think Time Enough For Love is my favorite. I keep a copy of the Notebooks of Lazarus Long on my desktop handy to cut and paste quotes.
    All of Louis L’Amour, Sackett series in particular.
    The Matt Helm spy novels by Donald Hamilton.
    Day of the Giants by Lester Del Ray.
    The Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout.
    One thing about the older works, they often make cultural references that make perfect sense to me, but I’m sure puzzle younger readers no end. In that regard it’s fun to see how easy it is to date a work based on underlying assumptions in it. As an example, in Glory Road, when Star calls herself a witch Oscar responds with “witch, bitch, sing along with Mitch.” Who today has any recollection of Mitch Miller and his Band of Renown? And often in the Nero Wolfe books there are throw away lines that I’ve felt compelled to chase down to get the reference and backstory.

    February 19, 2018
    • That’s a topic for another whole post.

      February 19, 2018
    • Nero Wolfe definitely on my comfort list. My son loved Wolfe in high school and admired Archie so much that he wrote a poem about Him when there was some weird English assignment. Almost anything romantic by Heyer or by Jane Austen. Also Ellis Peters and Emma Lathen. Yeah, I don’t belong here but I’m not leaving unless I get kicked out. I’ve discovered a lot of fun new stuff to read …

      February 19, 2018
      • Jane, anyone belongs here if they can be reasonably well-mannered :-). You’re welcome. Have you read Elizabeth Peters? (which I happened on accidentally while looking for Ellis Peters.)

        February 19, 2018
    • AesopFan #

      “Who today has any recollection of Mitch Miller and his Band of Renown? ”
      –Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody’s mooooother —
      I have a copy of a music book printed with his favorites, found in some thrift store once upon a time.

      February 24, 2018
  21. The first three Dragonriders books by McCaffrey, Kipling’s poems, _The Blue Sword_ and _Beauty_by McKinley. Used to be the early Heralds of Valdemar books by Lackey, but I outgrew them, so to speak. TMIAHM and Starship Troopers by Heinlein, _Go Tell the Spartans_ by Pournell and Sterling, some of the Hammers Slammers stories. Most of my re-reading is non-fiction, just because of Day Job.

    I do need to go back and re-read _Impending Crisis_. Just his description of John C. Calhoun “The greatest spokesman for error since Milton’s Satan,” is worth the price of the book. That entire passage about Clay, Webster, and Calhoun… dang, I wish I could write like that!

    February 19, 2018
    • Christopher M. Chupik #

      I think Hammer’s Slammers would be *discomfort* reading. Man, those can be bleak.

      February 19, 2018
      • They can be, but I wanted to be a main battle tank when I grew up. And I’m selective about which ones I do re-read.

        February 19, 2018
        • I’ve got a bunch of girls who are main battle tanks. And I do mean MAIN here. ~:D

          February 19, 2018
    • “I wish I could write like that” – could just about be my motto…

      February 19, 2018
    • Oh dang, I forgot about The Blue Sword! That’s the one book I have that fell to the “lost a lent book” phenomenon.

      February 20, 2018
  22. Anything by James Blaylock, but especially The Last Coin or the Elfin Ship.

    February 19, 2018
    • Another one to try. Thank you.

      February 19, 2018
  23. Mike Houst #

    Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Robert E. Howard
    RAH
    McCaffrey’s first few Pern and Ship books, oh, and Crystal Singer
    Larry Correia
    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Weber’s Honorverse
    Feist’s Midkemia stories
    Doc Savage stories (the original ones)
    Piper’s Fuzzy stories
    Tolkien
    Pournelle & Niven together and by themselves.
    Robert Adams Horseclans books.
    Most of John Norman’s Gor series (several I’d improve by editing out 50% of the, IMHO, crap.)
    UKLG’s Earthsea books
    Narnia
    I’m sure I’m missing at least a dozen others.

    February 19, 2018
  24. Anne Bishop… right now I keep reading her “Others” series. I got a lot of comfort out of her “Black Jewels” series around the time I was dealing with death and pain (in 2003).

    In my early teens, I was into the “Witch World” series by Andre Norton. It always started with a character that didn’t fit, who ran away, and who made a place for herself (or himself). I haven’t read them in a long long time.

    Also Heinlein– Citizen of the Galaxy.
    Later works of Ray Bradbury
    Roger Zelazny Chronicles of Amber
    Tolkein –Hobbit, Gawain the Green Knight translation
    L.E. Modessitt, Jr. Recluce novels

    and many more

    February 19, 2018
  25. I don’t do a lot of rereading, although I wish I had time to! Let’s see…
    The Dark is Rising Sequence (Susan Cooper)
    The Giver (Lois Lowry)
    A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline l’Engle, and I’m more than a little nervous about the movie…) Atlas Shrugged (believe it or not)
    Have all been reread, most of them multiple times. I haven’t gone back yet, but I expect Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive will fall into this category… or at least the first few books. And I’m not going to have any complaints about reading Prydain to my son here in a few years. 🙂 Sure I’m missing some, but those are what come to mind.

    February 19, 2018
    • _The Dark is Rising_ every year in December, if time permits.

      February 19, 2018
    • While I love most of the Dark is Rising sequence, the last one just seemed too much like a game of Capture the Flag. Really? That’s all you’ve got?

      February 20, 2018
      • Lol never made that connection. ☺ I always thought Greenwitch was the weak entry, myself, while for DH it was Over Sea, Under Stone.

        February 20, 2018
  26. Gary Neal #

    I’ll echo a bunch already seen on the list: Heinlein, Pratchett, Zelazny, Tolken, Modessitt and add a few I haven’t seen: Brust (Taltos series), Asprin (Myth series), Turtledove (WorldWar & Colonization series), Goodkind (Sword of Truth series before it gets too preachy), Piers Anthony (Incarnations series)

    February 19, 2018
  27. snelson134 #

    The Wearing the Cape series is the newest one.

    February 19, 2018
  28. TRX #

    Books I can just pick off the shelf and open, without having to be in the mood for any particular thing…

    Jack Vance’s Tschai books. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read them.

    Tim Powers’ “The Anubis Gates.” I always find somehing new in there.

    L. Neil Smith’s “The Nagasaki Vector” and “The Probability Broach.”

    Frank Herbert’s “Whipping Star.”

    Andre Norton’s “Sargasso of Space” and “Galactic Derelict.” The latter of which was the first book I ever read; the librarian didn’t want to let me have it. I think I made a good choice. Yes, it was hard going for a just-started-second-grader, but I liked it anyway, and it has held up well over the years.

    Michael McCollum’s “A Greater Infinity.”

    C.C. MacApp’s “Secret of the Sunless World.” My copy is ancient and falling apart. Almost nobody remembers MacApp any more.

    Eluki bes Shahar’s “Hellflower” trilogy.

    Lloyd Biggle’s Jan Darzek books.

    Almost any of Keith Laumer’s stories. But in particular, the two novellas packaged together as “The Day Before Forever and Thunderhead.”

    Alastair Reynold’s “Century Rain.” It’s long, but that’s okay, I can just open it anywhere.

    Carter Brown’s “Al Wheeler” cop books. Short fast reads, I mostly read them on nights when insomnia was a problem. They weren’t boring; things moved right along in their formulaic fashion, and each had a beginning, a middle, an end, and a plot that made sense, none of which are guaranteed any more. I could knock one off in less than an hour, and it’s shut the squirrels up long enough for me to nod off. He’s one of those authors who sold about a zillion books, that nobody remembers any more.

    February 19, 2018
  29. Roger Ritter #

    Oooh, lots of good choices, and some I’m going to have to go check out! I have a few favorites that nobody’s mentioned yet, though. I really like some of Nevil Shute’s works – especially “Trustee From the Toolroom”, “Round the Bend”, and “In the Wet”. Well worth reading and re-reading!

    February 19, 2018
    • A FAR COUNTRY is my personal favorite, that I read over and over. Trustee from the toolroom and A Town Like Alice, I love too. ON THE BEACH I don’t!

      February 19, 2018
  30. Arwen #

    Beauty by Robin McKinley and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.

    February 20, 2018
    • I love The Blue Castle. For those who have never heard of it, it’s an early 20th-century YA of a woman who has basically spent her whole life afraid of the opinions of others and finally has something happen which encourages her to break those mental shackles and go and live. Since it’s LM Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), that means her path to true happiness, but much less contrived than some of her short stories.

      February 20, 2018
  31. John Prigent #

    I reread a lot. I have a collection of books by my favourite authors and go to it often when there’s no new book I want to buy and read. I mean several hundreds, in an eclectic mix ranging from Weber and Ringo to Pratchett and of course Hoyt, via Dudley Pope and Eddings. In fct at the moment I’m diving into the Eddings’ Rivan Codex in preparation for a fresh excursion into the Belgariad and the Mallorean cycle.

    February 20, 2018
  32. mrsizer #

    It’s changed over time so very few books have gotten read to destruction. Mostly everything has been mentioned above. These days, there are so many new Kindle Unlimited choices that I rarely re-read (although I re-read Time Loop last weekend).

    I loved Changling’s Island; it will definitely be re-read (and got a review the minute I finished it). I was disappointed with Pyramid Scheme; trying to figure out how to write an expectation setting review (it wasn’t as serious as I expected, but with a pun in the title, that’s probably my fault). Heirs of Alexandria was excellent and I was hoping for something more like that.

    February 20, 2018

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