Saturday, March 7, 2009

Security blankets of paper and ink

I read pretty voraciously. And I am always looking for something new -- the next installment in a series, a new book by a favorite author, a new favorite author. At the same time, I have what I call my security blanket books. The ones that I reread when I am having a bad day, or bring with me when I go someplace new because I need to have a familiar friend. Here are some of them:

1. The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. I brought this with me to Clarion, to remind me of what I wanted to be able to do with my writing, and to remind myself that there was a world outside of short fiction. Katherine is one of my favorite characters, and the fencing in this book is so good it triggers my muscle memory.

2. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. This one has been with me since high school, and the wonderful Mr. Wilkinson. When I would have a rough day during law school, I would go home and read this. I pretty much have it memorized.

3. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. "I learned ancient Greek because of your book!" That's what I babbled to Ms. Dean upon meeting her, much to the amusement of the gentleman making the introduction. (The picture of grace and dignity, I am.) And it was true. The book is that good.

4. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I am on my eighth copy of this book. A couple of those were because I lent it out, and it never came back. But most are because I am afraid of flying, and this is what I take on the plane, to distract me from my terror. And then in my relief at being alive, I leave the book behind. I should start buying it in bulk.

5. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber. It's wonderfully lovely. There are very few things that reading this book can't fix. It's the literary equivalent of hot chocolate and a hug.


  1. You learned Greek??? How much did you do? It wasn't offered at my school so I had to mount a campaign and did a 2-year crash course. But it's the most wonderful language (even though I struggle and use parallel texts and have forgotten too much).

    Fencing and Greek and sestinas. Wow! (and reading Flecker as well.)

  2. I did an condensed semester course that was the equivalent of a year. I have, unfortunately, forgotten more than I remember at this point, although I loved it. Well, not so much the verbs.