May 16, 2014

Casual Friday: Oldies But Goodies

Happy Friday, Misfiteers! Are you ready for the weekend? I know I am...

One of the best things about finally being moved into my new house has been that all those boxes of books I've had packed away are finally coming out. Which means all my favorite books, the ones I've been missing horribly, are finding their way onto the shelf, and back in my hands. So I thought today would be a good day to revisit some oldies but goodies - and ask you what yours are!

1. Anything by Robin McKinley
McKinley's books were a staple for me growing up. I've lost count of how many times I read The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. One of the first impulse book-buys I made was Spindle's End, her retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It's also my favorite Sleeping Beauty retelling ever, mostly because of her unorthodox take on the whole fairytale.

2. Anything by Diana Wynne Jones
Sensing a pattern here? A lot of my favorites growing up were by the same authors, and nobody told a story like Jones. Howl's Moving Castle. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci. The Dark Lord of Derkholm. Just to name a few. They're stories that appeal to all ages, and I love them.

3. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C. Wrede
These are all short, but incredibly rich and funny. I think I loved them most for the strong female characters, something I didn't see much of in high fantasy when I was a kid. Princess Cimerone was a total kick-ass princess, and not at all interested in being rescued, and for that alone, I loved her. Plus, Wrede is one of the funniest authors I've read. Total tongue-in-cheek writing.

4. The Pit Dragon Adventures, by Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen was another staple of my childhood, but I loved this trilogy best. Dragons trained to fight in the pits, and the kids that raise one on their own. Brilliant story.

5. A Wrinkle In Time, etc. by Madeline L'Engle
This is another set I read over and over again. The story of Meg and her family drew me in and wrapped me up in a world that I wished so much could be mine. This is one of the books that most inspired me to love magic and science and the fine line between them, because science can be magical. It also helped me see that being smart isn't a bad thing, a thought I desperately needed to hear as the kid that everyone thought was too smart.

6. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Speaking of books that spark a love for science fiction, this one is top among them. The enemy's gate is down. Words I have never forgotten. The story of kids saving the world from an alien threat. I loved it, loved the characters. I wanted to be in Battle School with Ender and Bean, and even as an adult, I still kind of do.

7. The Dark is Rising Series, by Susan Cooper
I think this is the series that really sparked my love for Celtic mythology, and the Arthurian legend. The world Cooper creates out of old legends was so rich I could taste it. This is the series that made me want to write. My copies are old and mismatched, and falling apart because I've read them so many times, but I can still quote lines and tell you the story.

So there are a few of my old favorites. Sometimes with all the bustle of new books coming out, it's nice to take a break, and remember the ones that made us love reading. Have a fabulous weekend!


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