Seeking the Familiar

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

I’ve noticed that whenever I am in a depressive slump or reading slump (and sometimes these two go together or even cause the other) I tend to veer back toward the familiar. A series I enjoyed when I was in a different mood or a different time in my life. A book I’ve adored since childhood.

Sometimes I simply just want to experience again the same thrills and excitement I felt reading the book the first time.

With that in mind, here are some of the series’ or books I return to again and again.

Book Series

The Mercy Thompson Series

It took me forever to dive into this series the first time because, to be honest, I was a little put off by the covers. Even though they’re exceptionally well done artistically, the tropes of urban fantasy as represented through the covers gave me the impression that the series would be heavy on sex and light on intelligence or likable female characters.

I was so wrong, and this series is now one of my favorites of all time and I have read through the series at least four times by now. It is a great combination of mystery, paranormal suspense, and romance, with some truly philosophical discussions of werewolves and the concept of man vs. the beast inside himself – in this case, literally.

Star Wars Legends

My first foray into Star Wars was the original movie trilogy, which sparked my interest, but I really began to love them after reading the Young Padawan series starring a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and one of my fave Jedi Masters, Qui-Gon Jin. Stars Wars was the arena for hours and hours of my childhood and teenage daydreams, which morphed into inspiration for my own writing. I will always have a fondness for these books, and reading them again always brings comfort.

The Amelia Peabody series

I read the first book when I was still in high school and I have probably gone through the entire series at least four or five times since. I adore this series. Part mystery, part romance, part commentary on women in history (particularly the end of the Victorian age and the beginning of the 20th century), the series follows Amelia Peabody, amateur Egyptologist in the late 1800’s, as she works alongside her irascible husband, Radcliffe Emerson, uncovering centuries old artifacts and solving thrilling mysteries.

Stand-Alone Novels

Legacies was one of the first “adult” sci-fi books I ever read, and it left an impression on me. I can’t say if it’s the pacing, the way the characters talk, or the impact of the story itself on my young mind, but Alison Sinclair’s standalone novel about the aftermath of a rogue group initiating space flight too close to their planet, and how the surviving travelers return to face what they had done quickly became a book I returned to again and again.

And then, there’s Robin McKinley, author of many of my favorite books. The ones I return to again and again the most are The Outlaws of Sherwood, Spindle’s End, and Sunshine. The Outlaws of Sherwood was my first introduction to a Robin Hood story outside of the Disney cartoon, and it remains one of my favorites so far. I credit McKinley with my ongoing love affair with rogues in hoods. Spindle’s End is an adaptation of the “Sleeping Beauty” tale and McKinley’s version remains my favorite to this day. Sunshine is McKinley’s brush with vampires, and is probably one of my favorite vampire stories ever.

As an avid reader, this list is not the sum total of books I love or find comfort in. But they are among my favorites. What series or books do you find comfort in? What books have you found yourself reading over and over again?

Let me know in the comments!

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