Revisiting old friends

Because I need to move the rest of my stuff from N’ton to Ft. Collins sometime before the next millennium, I’ve been going through a lot of books I haven’t read in 10-20 years (*wince* I can’t be that old!) to see if they’re worth holding on to. Anything I loved as a child stays, obviously, but there’s a lot of books that I tackled at age eleven or fifteen and set aside for later, on the assumption that I didn’t like them because I wasn’t old enough for them yet.

The surprise hit is Mary Stewart’s Merlin series. The language is stunning, the characters are beautifully and believably drawn, and the books are sending me on an Arthurian kick to reread The Forever King and The Winter Prince and, of course, the unexpurgated version of White’s Once and Future King (Disney is the only publisher that doesn’t censor it, believe it or not, and worse, if you ever glance at CliffNotes or SparkNotes for the books, they do a bit of handwaving to make sure no one notices the edits). Words cannot express how happy these books make me.

The misses include a Frankenstien-ish collaboration by Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey, which I had kept mostly out of the same horror that makes people slow down at traffic accidents, and the Indigo series by Louise Cooper: an emo heroine with unlikely-colored eyes, a secret tragedy, a lonely mission to save the world, and a sentient pet wolf. Can you say Mary Sue?

Along with these, I’ve been rereading The Daughter of Time, which was required reading for a class in my freshman year. I love Tey’s wit and the sharp, clear intelligence of her writing, although I’m amused that the American character has British reticence and Scottish grammatical tics. And on impulse, I decided to google Richard III and see what the damned picture actually looked like. It’s beautiful. Compelling. He seems sad and sweet to me, the lopsided eyes and the smile twitching the corner of his mouth, fidgeting with his ring. He looks human. I can see why Tey felt driven to clear his name.

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