What book would you reach for, given the opportunity and time, if you could re-read a favorite book? There’s so much pressure to keep up with the latest/newest/hottest, that you can sometimes forget the simple pleasure of re-visiting an old friend. This week some of our blogging librarians talk about the one book (or book series) that they would re-read.
I’ll start things off with my choice, Patrick O’Brian’s brilliant Master and Commander series which follows the adventures of British Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, surgeon Stephen Maturin. Set during the Napoleonic Wars when Britain ruled the seas, there is no shortage of action and bloodshed but there is also no shortage of laughter, intrigue, nuance, humor, suspense, romance and political manuvering. The enduring friendship between Jack and Stephen is the bedrock of the books, through the waxing and waning of fortunes and luck. Jack, who is a brilliant seaman but bumbling and inept on land both with the ladies and the law, and Stephen, an outsider, a scientist, a sometime spy and an opium addict may seem like an odd couple, but their love of music brings them together.
To call these books great historical fiction is to sell them short; this is great fiction – beautifully written, effortless details that do not overwhelm the story, storylines that will move you to tears or to laugh out loud, adventures that will keep you up late at night to find out what happens (do not start reading the last third of Desolation Island right at bedtime – you’ll be up until 3am!) The quality of the writing and characters does not waver, an amazing feat considering there are 20 complete volumes!
I love these books for the way it’s so easy to completely immerse yourself in them, for the adventures big and small, and most of all for Jack and Stephen, as friends you can always count on.