Although half the fun of reading comes from not knowing what will happen next, there’s something so comforting about a familiar story, particularly if it’s one you associate with a time when your problems were smaller. Over the past few years I have shamelessly reread the Chocolate Box Girls series multiple times (my copies are all signed, of course, as I was a very loyal fan and went to multiple meet-the-author events) and have listened to my audiobook of Mortal Engines over and over again. My taste in books has changed and refined over the years, but some stories have been a part of my life for so long I will never grow out of them.
Recently, I have been rereading A Series of Unfortunate Events, a collection that has consistently stayed in my top ten books ever since Year Two, when I first listened to the audiobooks on my brick of an iPod. All the way through junior school they provided a welcome relief from the patronising books that filled the classroom shelves (the names Anne Fine and Michael Morpurgo still make me shudder), even when I was too young to fully understand the wider plot that connects the books. I think that if a book can be interesting to a 6-year-old yet still be readable and enjoyable for an adult, it shows that great care has gone into its writing. Rereading the books now, I can fully appreciate just how well-written they are. They also read aloud very nicely. If I ever have kids (and if I do they’ll probably be named Violet and Klaus- not Sunny though, because then you’re just guaranteeing that your child will be a pessimist) their bed-time stories will definitely feature the Baudelaire orphans.
Next time you’re feeling exhausted and want to read something unchallenging and familiar, I strongly urge you to dig out a childhood favourite of yours (unless you had really shit taste in books when you were younger, that is).