The best book series that I’ve re-read at least a half dozen times

Who am I?

There are books and series I’ve loved that I’ve only read once, with no need to re-open those particular pages. There are other books that I can re-read every year or so without exactly remembering the details of the plot and enjoy them just as much the second (sometimes tenth) time around. They all inspired me to write, plus they all provided me with awesome entertainment.  So, in no particular order…. Five books/series that I’ve re-read at least a half dozen times!


I wrote...

Plague Town: An Ashley Parker Novel

By Dana Fredsti,

Book cover of Plague Town: An Ashley Parker Novel

What is my book about?

Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not dead, but far worse. Attacked by zombies, Ashley discovers that she is a 'Wild-Card' -- immune to the virus -- and she is recruited to fight back and try to control the outbreak. 

It's Buffy meets The Walking Dead in a rapid-fire zombie adventure!

The books I picked & why

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Yarrow

By Charles de Lint,

Book cover of Yarrow

Why this book?

Yarrow by Charles de Lint (okay, pretty much anything by Charles de Lint, my introduction to urban fantasy. This was the first of his books I read, about Cat Midhair, a writer whose inspiration comes from her very vivid dreams, and who is suddenly cut off from those dreams by a “vampire” who feeds on them. I love de Lint’s writing style, the combination of the real world and fantasy, and some horrific elements that raise the stakes for the characters.  


The Time of the Dark

By Barbara Hambly,

Book cover of The Time of the Dark

Why this book?

Another of my favorite authors. Time of the Dark, the first in this series, was also the first of her books that I read and while it was marketed as fantasy, it’s really more of a fantasy/horror hybrid. A history major and a biker from Southern California end up trapped in an alternate universe where magic exists and the Dark—very nasty and creepy monsters—have risen from their subterranean lairs and are decimating the population. Great characters and world-building.


Night Winds

By Karl Edward Wagner,

Book cover of Night Winds

Why this book?

Ooooh, my goodness. Kane is possibly the best anti-hero ever created, and the combination of cosmic horror, swords, sorcery, action, and awesome storytelling make these books/story collections stand out for me. Kane is an immortal, cursed by a mad god to wander the Earth “until he is destroyed by the violence that he himself has created,” and is a take on the biblical Cain, but a lot more fun. Kane inspired one of the characters in my book series and he may just edge out Conan as my favorite lead in the sword & sorcery genre.


The Stand

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Stand

Why this book?

I was so happy when the expanded version of The Stand was released because my fourth or so re-read had new stuff in it. Lots of new stuff, including my favorite section, "The Unkindest Cut", in which we briefly meet a random selection of flu survivors who run into some untimely ends, both deserved and not so much. The characters stand out as one of the best post-apocalyptic novels ever written, IMO, although oddly enough I have not read it since the pandemic started.


Betsy-Tacy

By Maud Hart Lovelace, Lois Lenski (illustrator),

Book cover of Betsy-Tacy

Why this book?

They’re the fictionalized account of the author’s childhood growing up in Deep Valley, Minnesota, and my mom introduced me to these books when I was about nine or so. She’d read them growing up and I reread them constantly into my teens and then every few years as an adult whenever I needed the literary equivalent of hot chocolate and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. I realize these books are not in the genres I write, but inspiration doesn’t always come from obvious places. 


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