Personal Classics

Madam, Will You Talk?I’m gearing up to start a new book, and am doing a lot of research at the moment. When I’m in this mode, I read books I’ve read before — my personal classics.

At the moment, this includes three books by Mary Stewart and a number of Agatha Christie novels.

They have the suspense and thrill I love, the great characters and locations, and that twist of romance.

I’m also so familiar with them, I can concentrate on what I like about them and why — my attention isn’t on the plot, on what comes next. I already know. So I can revel in the wordplay, the way they build tension and the way they construct character. It’s soothing to my furiously-working imagination, as I plot and internally brainstorm my own work, to read these books. Like comfort food. Just what I need.

But I know non-writers also love to re-read old favorites, too. I’d count Dick Francis’s early works in my list of personal classics, as well as Jayne Anne Krentz, along with Mary Stewart and Agatha Christie.

What are your personal classics?

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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18 Responses to Personal Classics

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    We have a lot of the same favorite, including Dick Francis’s early books and Agatha Christie. Miss Marple is my fav, though I do like Harley Quinn. And now I want to go to the library and get a Mary Stewart book. Georgette Heyer is another personal favorite of mine. I love her humor and her characters. No one else writes characters like hers.

  2. Liz says:

    In addition to Christie and Stewart, I re-read Helen MacInnes.

    • Liz, I read Helen MacInnes like there was no tomorrow as a teenager, but funny, when I read them again in my late twenties, I found them too sexist. I know they were perfectly in tune with the time they were written, but I couldn’t stomach it. I think I’ll pick her up again, maybe I’ll be able to see past that now I’m older and wiser :)

  3. Amy R says:

    So, I haven’t read any of the authors listed by anyone yet. I have heard of a few of them. I can’t say any of the books I read are “classics.” I actually don’t think I read any of the books I was required to in English class – I think I may have skimmed them. I did tell Marilyn I would read Pride and Prejudice this year, though. :-)

    When I want to re-read books I find I pick up Misty Evans’ or Adrienne Giordano’s romantic suspense books. I guess I just love their characters so I like to go back to them. There is also usually something I missed the first couple of times around so I seem to always pick something else up when I read them again.

  4. Michelle,
    I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that Austen’s novels take up a lot of space on my personal classics list… ;) But I also really loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, those fun Jennifer Crusie romances like Anyone But You, A Separate Peace by John Knowles and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. When I want to laugh *and* cry, I reread Erich Segal’s Love Story.
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Pride & Prejudice is 200 Today!!!

  5. Lori says:

    Jane Eyre is my favorite romance! I love The Chronicles of Narnia for something younger. The first commercial romance I read were Julie Garwood and she is still my all time favorite! Love rereading her historicals.

  6. Dale Mayer says:

    I’m a big fan of JAK and reread them all the time! My daughter is now hooked too. I used to love Georgette Heyer is another, but I no longer have the collection of books. They disappeared in one of the last moves. :(
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Garden of Sorrow Barrage!

  7. Michelle, I love those authors. All re-read favourites for me, too. Plus in the category romance field, I like Susan Napier, Penny Jordan and Sophie Weston. And Terry Pratchett. Life would be so much less fun without Sir Pratchett. :)
    Jenny Schwartz`s last blog was …Review of “The Best Australian Essays 2012″

    • Terry Pratchett is one of my all time favorite authors. I love the Discworld series and could re-read it all, any time. Life would definitely be poorer without TP.

  8. Misty Evans says:

    My favorite classic is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, but it’s a lot. Also watched the movie many times. I also reread Maya Angelou, Isaac Dineson (Karen Blixen) and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Sometimes the boys and I read books together. We’ve shared many of my favorites from The Secret Garden to Harry Potter. We read the Twilight and Mortal Instrument series together when they were younger and one of them is rereading Mortal Instruments because of the upcoming movie…he talks about it enough that I want to reread the first book again before the movie comes out.

    Good books are like good friends. They always welcome you back!

  9. Liz Kreger says:

    Sorry I’m so late in commenting, Michelle. I’m totally beind in my blog reading.

    I haven’t had time to indulge in old favorites, but the ones I always keep on hand (just in case I ever find the time). The Count of Monte Cristo is a favorite as well as a book by Anne Armstrong called “Message from Absalon”. I also have Little Women available and of course, several Jane Austen books.

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