Some books I have read before

REREADING IS AMAZING.  Sometimes I forget how many amazing books I have already read, because I am busy reading new books, which are also (sometimes) amazing.  But this is what I’ve been reading lately.

Magician’s Ward, Patricia C. Wrede

Much like Mairelon the Magician.  Too many names of people, but I don’t care because I am more interested in Kim’s learning magic and having a Season and Coming Out at a ball and having Offers of Marriage to turn down.  In pretty dresses.  Can there be more pretty dresses?  And God, pretty shoes?  I need new shoes so much.  My favorite shoes are all reaching the end of their lives – the pink ones that go with all my red-toned tops; the adorable tan strappy sandals that I wore all over the place and I love them and I don’t want them to go; and the little black ones I wore to prom (I KNOW I HAVE TO LET THEM GO) and then forgot about for several years and then rediscovered, with the sweet little kitten heel.  Sigh.

Sorcery and Cecelia, Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

I love Sorcery and Cecelia.  Know why?  Because the two authors wrote it using the letter game!  The letter game!  They really did!  Kate has gone to London to have her Season, and poor Cecelia is stuck at home in Essex.  They have all sorts of fun with a marquis and a magical chocolate pot, and a wicked witch called Miranda, and beautiful friends and relations.

Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede are obviously having fun here, and they manage a plot that hangs together really well over two locations and considering they were making it up as they went along.  Reading this again for the first time in a while, I am extra triple curious about what they changed when they decided to get it published.  I would think to play the letter game, you’d have to be quite attentive to minor details in the other person’s letter, and also be flexible enough to ditch elements of the plot you had planned if the other person said something that messed it up.  Tricky!  But it sounds so fun.  One of these days…

Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters

Amelia Peabody makes me laugh.  I don’t necessarily read this series for the mysteries, though I recall finding some of them quite satisfying.  I really read them for the characters – Amelia is so determined and brilliant, and Evelyn is sweet without being sweety-sweet (usually, and when she is sweety-sweet it just makes me laugh, and she’s all There is an image enshrined in my heart – oh, Elizabeth Peters, why are you so funny all the time?); and the Emersons are charming.

Elizabeth Peters has a wicked sense of humor, and as many times as I’ve read her books, they always make me laugh.  Well-done her for giving her detective a family without making her boring – and carrying on adding family members and not forgetting them in subsequent books.  She does make oodles of good characters, though at a certain point there are too many all at once.

But I’ve strayed from the point.  Um, yes, Crocodile on the Sandbank.  Did I say, it’s set in Egypt at the end of the nineteenth century?  There are pyramids all over the place, and the characters all have sumptuous fun complaining about the treatment of antiquities (it is really shocking, to be fair – it makes me want to cry even when the antiquities in question are fictional). Plus, whenever silly characters show up, everyone makes fun of them!  Hooray!

What are some books you return to repeatedly?  If you like them so much perhaps I will like them too…

33 thoughts on “Some books I have read before

  1. Hmm, the one that sticks out in my mind the most has got to be Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. It is an absolutely amazing YA fantasy novel. At least I think so anyways– I’ve cried every time!


  2. Every year I read at least the first two books of Diana Wynne Jones’ Chronicles of Chrestomanci (if I have the time I’ll reread all of them). I seriously think they’re the books that got me into historical fantasy (and probably fantasy in general). I also reread Ballet Shoes every year, mostly whenever I’m felled by a cold or just feel blue. It makes me feel better!

    Oh, the first two books of DWJ’ CoC are Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. They’re technically not the first two in internal chronological order, but that’s the order they were published in and that’s the order DWJ recommends reading them in, so!

    Wait, have you read those books already? I’m totally blanking, but you probably have, now that I think harder about it…


    • Aw, sounds like you have loads of the same comfort books as me! Actually my favorite of the Chrestomanci books is Witch Week. Or Charmed Life. Witch Week or Charmed Life, because I like plenty of Chrestomanci.

  3. There are certain books, Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and The Wizard of Earthsea among them, that I re-read every few years. Thanks for the heads up about Elizabeth Peters, I need to add her to my list!

  4. Rereading IS amazing but I rarely do it because of the pressure of my ever increasing TBR pile. Emma and Persuasion, Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden are probably my favourite re-reads…familiar, well loved stories that are so comforting, wonderfully entertaining and hold such happy memories.

  5. I have never understood this re-reading thing. I only ruin books when I re-read. Of course, there is that exception with McEwan’s Atonement when I didn’t REMEMBER that I had already re-read it once before.

  6. I SO need to start the Amelia Peabody series!

    I think most of the books I return to are ones you already like 😛 As in The Sandman, Fire & Hemlock, Stardust…

    • Mmm, yeah, Fire and Hemlock. I try to save Fire and Hemlock for a particularly unpleasant day, because it’s such a favorite of mine. And yes, read the Amelia Peabody series! Then tell us all what you think!

  7. My favorite Elizabeth Peters re-read is probably Night Train to Memphis, because it’s got the right combination of snark, adventure, goopy romance and references that I get. (My father raised me on classic country.)

    Kim, Puck of Pook’s Hill, Rewards and Fairies and Stalky & Co., because I love Kipling and will defend him tooth and nail against anyone, and Kim (the book, not the character) is like Huckleberry Finn but Anglo-Indian and without the flaws.

    I reread Wives and Daughters, Persuasion and The Last Chronicle of Barset every so often. I read Kate Seredy’s wonderful children’s book The Singing Tree every time I feel like sobbing my eyes out.

    Gaudy Night. Brat Farrar. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit, which if you haven’t read it is a fantastic children’s book from 1907 where statues come alive and there’s a ring that is what you say it is.

    Falconer’s Lure, End of Term and Peter’s Room by Antonia Forest. Out of print and ridiculously expensive and hard to find, but some of the most brilliant children’s/young adult fiction I have ever encountered.

    • What an excellent bunch of books! I’ve hardly read anything by Kipling, apart from the “He travels the fastest who travels alone” poem and the Just-So Stories, which I adore. I checked my library for Antonia Forest books – they’ve only got one, and I don’t think it’s any of the ones you mentioned. But I love hearing about children’s books I missed out on. Definitely want to read these!

      • Which Antonia Forest does your library have? The ones I listed are my favorites, but they’re all good in their way, with the possible exception of The Thuggery Affair which has a little too much sixties teenage slang for my taste, and The Thursday Kidnapping which isn’t about the family she usually writes about, and which I can’t vouch for because I haven’t read it. But they’re all pretty hard to find, so if your library has even one that’s a stroke of luck. If you let me know what the title is, I can tell you whether it’s a good one to start with.

      • Crap, it’s The Thursday Kidnapping that they have. Well, at least if I don’t care for it, I’ll know it’s all better books from here on in. I will keep my eyes peeled for Antonia Forest when – oh heaven – the university book fair rolls around in March.

  8. Somebody is going to start a re-read challenge sometime in the future. I’m not a book re-reader, but I want to try reading Mrs. Dalloway again. and I’ve not read any of the books listed here so I’ll add E Peters to my just-read-once list. and maybe Crown Dual.

      • I re- read The Chronicles of Narnia as an adult and it just ruined them for me – they so lost that magic. I don’t know, what can I say. It’s just too much ‘I’ve already read this…’ feeling. I don’t even like to try and read books that I’ve given up on that I think I ‘should’ read, like Anna Karenina. If I were to pick it up now, I’d have to start over and the thought turns me off. I don’t even like to read too many books by an author if they have a unique style. Like Ishiguro. I’ll prob never read another of his books (I’ve read 3)

        However… I am not opposed to attempting a re-read. I just have no idea which book I would attempt.

  9. Katy’s recommend of Antonia Forest intrigued me, and guess what? I found Peter’s Room on and I’m getting it FOR FREE. *dances around*

  10. I am in love with these book suggestions. I just read a magical book called Mystic in a Minivan, by Kristen White. It’s a modern day parable designed to teach women about the spiritual nature inside us all. She has a Workbook available online for a free download that you have to see for yourself how good she really is.
    I latched onto her because she is a mom, and she was inspired to tell a story as a result of her spiritual practice. She uses many of the tools in the book and it has transformed her life in a magical way, and is now transforming my life in ways I can’t even begin to express.

  11. I LOVE rereading!

    I am always going back to Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird. At one point I was rereading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, which I find just delightfully light.

    But I haven’t been rereading as much since I started blogging. Need to remedy that!

    • Those are two of my favorites. I haven’t read anything by Alexander McCall Smith yet. But I have found myself neglecting rereading since starting blogging – I looked at my bookshelves the other day and thought, Look at all these beautiful books I haven’t read in years! (Alas.)

  12. Pingback: Re-Reading is dejavu all over again « Care's Online Book Club

  13. Pingback: Patricia C. Wrede – Magician’s Ward « Fyrefly's Book Blog

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