I'm going like the clappers these days with a gazillion things to do, places to go, people to see so I have no idea how I am managing to read a load of books on top of it all. I must be going faster than the speed of light. I recently re-read Doris Lessing's Briefing for a Descent into Hell. In some ways it was research for my new adult novel which is also 'inner space fiction' as Lessing calls her speculative work (including the Canopus series) - "for there is never anywhere to go but in." The book, in a nutshell, is about life, the universe and everything, the story of a man having a psychotic break or an episode of enlightenment, depending on your world view. Here's a fantastic quote at the beginning of the book from Rachel Carson, marine biologist and author of The Edge of the Sea, which I must find as she is evidently a stunning writer also: ... this miniscule world of the sand grains is also the world of inconceivably minute beings, which swim through the liquid film around a grain of sand as fish would swim through the ocean covering the sphere of the earth. Among this flora and fauna of the capillary water are single-celled animals and plants, water mites, shrimplike crustacea, insects, and the larvae of infinitely small worms - all living, dying, swimming, feeding, breathing, reproducing in a world so small that our human senses cannot grasp its scale, a world in which the microdroplet of water separating one grain of sand from another is like a vast, dark sea.
I rarely re-read books and am quite amazed by the trend amongst younger readers these days to do so. My daughter continually re-reads her favourites while also picking up new work. The only books I have faithfully re-read over the years are - surprise, surprise - the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Mind you, this summer I did read Garth Nix's Abhorsen series again (was reading Lirael in Lough Derg, weird) to my utter enjoyment and I'm pretty certain I will re-read Briefing again in the future.