So this week’s “Sunday Quickie” question is my proposal, and an old schtick: “If you were trapped on a desert island, what one book would you want to have with you?” Leaving aside the temptation to cheat and say “I would bring a Kindle (stuffed with fifty of my faves)”… I thought about all kinds of beautifully-written, famous, Important Classics of the genre and the mainstream, some of which I do love. Then I realized… no. That’s really not what I’d want to have with me. The problem with Important Classics is that they’re often depressing, because English-language literature frequently links Seriousness to Grinding Down of the Soul, and if I’m stuck on a desert island — man, screw that. I would want the kind of book that I resort to now when I’m stressed or unhappy about something, when I want a guaranteed uplifting read that won’t force me to think or feel anything but what I want to feel in that moment. I would pick a story in which the protagonists go through hell, but triumph — spiritually if not literally. I would go for comfort food.
Except now I can’t decide among my comfort books. Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Pawn? Something from Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series, or Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels? Lynn Flewelling’s Luck in the Shadows? Naomi Novik’s first Temeraire book? Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu omnibus (tempted to take that one just for its size)? Argh, choices.
No, these aren’t enduring testaments to fantasy literature, most of them. All of them have flaws, some of which are severe. But they all share a common characteristic, which is that I’ve read the covers off them. Seriously. I’m on my second Wraeththu omnibus; that one is three books in one, and should never have been done in paperback. ::grumble:: My first copy split in half when the spine broke. I do this to all my favorite books. I’m going to have to buy a new copy of one of my science fiction comfort reads soon, David Palmer’s Emergence, because the spine is gone and the back cover is wearing off its tape, and it’s freaking me out because it’s out of print. (::rocks back and forth and mutters:: Abe will help me. Abe knows all.)
Tossing a coin, though, I’ve decided on Novik’s book (His Majesty’s Dragon in the US), mostly because it’s newer and thus I haven’t read it as much as the others. Also, it’s dense enough that I keep discovering new things every time I read it. Going to have to go get it, though; a friend borrowed it some time ago and hasn’t given it back. ::ominous look::
So what are your comfort reads?