There are some books I can read again and again and never get tired of them. At the top of my list is the Harry Potter series, which I’m currently re-reading for at least the tenth time. Returning to these books is like curling up in my childhood bedroom: comforting and familiar.
It was when I read the first three Harry Potter books when I was nine that I realised I wanted to be a writer. It was when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was thirteen that I fell in love with high fantasy. I’d always adored fantasy, but LOTR developed in me an insatiable taste for the epic: the intricate world that I still find new depths to, even after doing an entire university course on Tolkien; the rich mythology more reminiscent of religious texts than novels; and the unique languages and the cultures that speak them. Fittingly, then, it’s the next series I read over and over again.
While the Harry Potter series has one, iconic set of covers (for British readers at least), The Lord of the Rings has many, and I couldn’t actually find a decent picture of the covers of my own copies, the black ones with the yellow, red and green rings. Likewise, the last book on my list, published in 1940, has had many incarnations.
Cue for Treason is one of those books I’ve read at least half a dozen times, but unlike the first two books on this list I never became obsessive about it and never felt tempted to read other books by the same author. I did, however, recently buy it as my childhood copy seems to have gone missing. The cover, of course, is all wrong. On the left is the cover I expected; on the right is the one I got.
The interesting thing about these two covers is that, in spite of being markedly different, they both capture a significant part of the novel. Nostalgia aside, I think I prefer the first, as it is clear from the outset that theatre plays an important role in the novel, while the second appears to be a scene from late in the story.
With all these books, I find something new every time I read them. In the case of The Lord of the Rings, there are always new connections to make within this rich world, but even with Harry Potter I find small suggestions of things like Snape’s love for Lily in Philosopher’s Stone that I never noticed before. It’s been years since I read Cue for Treason, but I’m sure when I re-read it I’ll see it in a new light thanks to my increased knowledge of Shakespeare in the interim.
What about you? Are there books you can read again and again and never get tired of them?