When I was going blind and for a year or so after, I read many of the same books, over and over again. In the process of losing my sight, I couldn’t finish books where it seemed that the protagonist would get crushed. I needed some kind of growth or satisfying ending. Jane Austen’s books, especially Emma and Pride and Prejudice were my big rereads. Middlemarch by Eliot was another favorite. I wasn’t just writing for the story, but the style and the language and the human foibles amused me and raised my spirits.
Right now I’m rereading a book that I plan to teach in my fall Science Fiction and Fantasy-writing class at Chatham, The Sparrow. Not a lover of Sci Fi and Fantasy? I never was particularly either. But this book is so much more than that. It really exemplifies the absurd problem in the United States, defined by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, labeling the genre Science fiction and fantasy, rather than considering it literature, plain and simple, as the Brits do.
The Sparrow by Mary D. Russell is definitely Sci fi–about a mission to another planet, 17 Earth years away. It’s a mission begun by a group of Jesuit priests, written by a woman with undergraduate and graduate degrees in all sub categories of anthropology. So the book and its sequel, Children of God, address anthropological, theological, biological, scientific, astronomical, linguistic and probably other issues. The writing is superb; the characterizations, excellent.
So what books do you recommend for rereading?