The prompt today on YA Highway is what books you'd pick to read over and over for the rest of your life.
As I thought about it, I decided to list books I already devoured more than once--time tested to make me hungry for their landscapes, their tales. One thing they all share is a magical sense of other worldliness. It's escape that may, at times, be terrifying but is always fascinating.
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones
I don't know how one author can be so prolific, imaginative and funny as Diana Wynne Jones. I adore Sophie, a young girl who gets turned into an old woman by a witch in Howl's Moving Castle.
Some people love the movie, but for me the spunk, humor and fantasy are best in the book. This is where Sophie shines.
Here she is soon after her transformation, aching, cold and feisty as she discovers the castle bumping along on the moor:
She raised her stick and waved it imperiously at the castle.
"Stop!" she shrieked.
The castle obediently came to a rumbling, grinding halt. . . "
I don't know if I will ever love a wizard more than the conflicted Ged/Sparrowhawk of LeGuin's masterpiece.
I've often quoted her opening verse, "The Creation of Ea," because it is the essence of great fantasy and of real life.
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky.
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
Katniss. 'Nuff said.
I have listened to this on audiobook numerous times. For one thing, I love the way Neil Gaiman reads his stories, and I've disappeared with him into the worlds of NEVERWHERE, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, CORALINE, FRAGILE THINGS and the wonderful THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS.
STARDUST feels like an old-time fairy tale with the nuance of an omniscient storyteller taking you to a faraway land that somehow has roots in ours. Every character has multiple layers, intriguing inconsistencies.
McKillip has her own shelf in one of my bookcases. She is amazing at weaving fantasy in all sorts of different tales.
What enchants me about this little book is the sea as an extension of the characters' lives.
The tide was low that afternoon as Peri walked home, so low that even the great jagged spires stood naked in the glistening sand, and all the starfish and anemones and urchins that clung to their battered flanks were exposed.
Have you books you read again and again?