Rereading Old Favorites

Do you ever reread books? Perhaps some favorites from your childhood or classics from recent years. I picked up one of my novels and started rereading it. Hold Me Close is Book One in the Revolutionary Faith series. It seems like I would have the book memorized but that is not the case. I’m reading it with new eyes and thoughts. So strange! As I read, I’m wondering what will happen. Really? Don’t I know what will transpire? But that doesn’t seem to matter. I’m reading it as if for the first time.

That made me think about other books I reread. In my library, I pulled out a few, knowing that I have read them a few times, some very recently. They never get old to me. Heidi by Johanna Spyri is one from my childhood that I read again after a trip to Switzerland. It was fresh and new—unlike my 1965 copy. I bought a new copy on my travels. Another one that stands ready to be read again and again is Little Women. My 1970 copy boasts a cover for the shelves of a little girl. Oh, to enter the lives of the four sisters and hope that there is a different ending for Beth!

I have all of my 1974 copies of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I do read them every few years, recently in French and Spanish. Madeleine L’Engle caught my attention later in life. When teaching reading for seven years, I had students read A Wrinkle in Time out loud. I’ve read all of the books in the series.

As a teenager and young adult, I was fascinated with King Arthur and his court. I devoured Mary Stewart’s books on Arthur and Merlin. The Last Enchantment, The Crystal Cave, and The Hollow Hills are definitely on my reread list.

Last but by far not the least is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and all of the others too.  Every year I pick up one of her books and reread it. Also, I watch all the films every summer. What a productive way to spend my time.

What have you reread?

Minor Characters are Major

1750 FranceAn author recently reminded me that minor characters really play a major role in novels. That started me thinking about what she means. Do I agree? I do. Without thinking about it, I’ve used support men and women in my novels as a way to develop my heroes and heroines. The authors I read find ways to advance the plot with interesting characters that add depth to the protagonists.

What would a story be without the mothers, sisters, best friends, grandmothers, and friends of the heroine? What would my life be without the same group of people? As my sisters prod me to be better and to grow, an author can have them interact to reveal inner strengths and weaknesses of the major characters.  Do you sometimes find the life of minor characters as interesting and important as the main ones?

 

I’ve thought of a few examples of the utmost importance of the support role. See if you agree.  What about Elizabeth Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice, and her best friend Charlotte Lucas. The way Elizabeth interacts with her longtime friend shows a side of Elizabeth that her mother and sisters don’t necessarily see. Elizabeth is deliberate in her dealings with Charlotte, even hurting her when Charlotte chooses to marry Elizabeth’s cousin. Many minor characters shine in this novel: Mrs. Bennet, all her sisters, and even Caroline Bingley. I wouldn’t want any of them to disappear from the novel.

 

Little Women offers a great cast of characters with Jo raising as the heroine with her three sisters and mother playing tremendous roles. Any of them could have been the number one character, but it was presented with Jo as the future author wanting to tell her family’s story. Without the sisters and mother, Jo’s world would have been very dull indeed.

 

And of course, I can add my heroine for my Revolutionary Faith Series. Elizabeth Elliott brings a mother, sister, cousin, best friend, and grandmother into her story. She is surrounded by women of strong character strengths and flaws. Her relationships with each form help form her views, her role, her beliefs, her traits….I’ve been able to develop these women through the five book series.

Surround Me front (3)Do you have a favorite example of a book or movie with an impressive support character?