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Old 07 June 2017, 02:52 PM
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Reading Books worth reading again and again and again...

The local news-talk station website has an interesting article about some books that people have read many many times. Here it is:
http://wtop.com/entertainment/2017/0...-back/slide/1/

I'm not much for reading the same book more than once; it's not that I didn't like the book, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because I remember the end and if it's a whodunit, that's rather anti-climatic. The article does mention Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, which I have read once. Maybe I'll reread it. However, I've read Into Thin Air twice. Great reading for a hot summer day!
I have so many books that I want to read, but every week when I go to the library for tutoring sessions, I see books that look so interesting....
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Old 07 June 2017, 04:06 PM
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For me, the book I've read most times is probably The Lord of the Rings, followed by The Hobbit (which I've read more recently). I've read some of my favourite Terry Pratchetts two or three times or more, and when Iain Banks died I re-read The Bridge for at least the third time, I think. I've also read The Crow Road at least three times, the last time after finally getting round to watching the TV adaptation (also inspired by his death). And Douglas Adams, especially the Hitch-Hiker books. In 2010 I re-read all Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series that had so far been published.

I re-read books far more when I was younger (especially as a child or a teenager) than I do now, though. As a child, I probably read each Jennings book at least twice, definitely Willard Price, and some of the Hardy Boys or Three Investigators as well. Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon series, and the Sword of Corum. I would have read every book I had more than once because I couldn't afford to buy new ones, and didn't know what else I should be looking for. (eta - I used the library a lot back then, so it wasn't just financial, but I read everything that interested me in the library too).

These days I have more money and access to different texts has improved, and so I can read anything I like, and there are too many new things to read for me to have time to re-read things. Apart from the books in the first paragraph, some of which I re-read when the author died or when a new biography came out, I've not re-read much lately.

I read War and Peace for the second time, in a different translation, in 2011, and I've been re-reading Canterbury Tales in the original language (The Riverside Chaucer) rather than a modernised version for years - I'll finish it eventually.

... Since 2010 I've been writing down everything I've finished reading, and noting whether they're re-reads or not, and generally speaking I've only re-read books when they're in a series in which plot continuity matters, and with a big gap between instalments. So I'll probably re-read A Song of Ice and Fire when the next one finally comes out.

Outside that, I seem to have re-read a short story by George RR Martin (The Skin Trade), because I found the volume that contained it when unpacking my books in my new flat and (unlike the first time round) knew who he was; also A A Milne's poetry (When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six), Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, Despair by Vladimir Nabokov (which I re-read to remind myself how it compared to Dostoevsky's The Double - I think I've read Lolita twice as well), and Back To The Future by George Gipe, which I re-read because somebody mentioned it in the "what are you reading" thread.

The last of those was in 2015... since then I've not re-read anything. The next book I do re-read will be Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus, though, because I originally read my brother's copy of that, and I now have my own copy sitting on my to-read shelf. All of hers are worth reading and re-reading.

Last edited by Richard W; 07 June 2017 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 07 June 2017, 04:13 PM
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I used to reread favourite books over and over. I can't even tell you how many times I've read the Anne of Green Gables series or the Little House books but I don't tend to do that as much with books now. I do have a few books though that are like comfort food for me and I will turn to them rather than try something new.
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Old 07 June 2017, 04:52 PM
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... Now that I've read the article, apart from LOTR I've not read many of the books that are mentioned myself. I've read the Harry Potter series, and re-read the first books (probably the first six) when I got the last one in paperback under my "series continuity" clause, because I couldn't remember what had happened and they were a quick read, rather than because I particularly wanted to. I've read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, but only once. I've read Candide, and it's a long way from my re-read list; didn't click with me at all... I may have been over-thinking it though, and it may depend on the translation. Perhaps I should give it another go, even in the translation I have on my shelf.

But I completely understood the last section about re-reading with your family. The reason I've read and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so many times is that my mum read them out loud to me as bed-time stories when I was very young - she was re-reading them - and I think she did the same for my brother and sister. Our family copy literally fell apart, was replaced and fell apart again. I think even my own copy has fallen apart and been replaced after I read it a couple of times myself and then lent it to a friend. (And given my dislike of having unread books on my shelf, I will have read the new copy too). The same goes for the AA Milne.

If I ever have children - unlikely - I'm not sure which books I would go for with them. Possibly Tolkien again, I guess. The article does seem to tend more towards children's books as well. The books I've re-read as an adult aren't so suitable for children, except for Pratchett. I would probably go with that. And J K Rowling, inevitably, because that's an easy option. And AA Milne, definitely.
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Old 07 June 2017, 05:04 PM
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Several of Pratchett's Discworld series hold up to repeated readings.

There are some books that I find I appreciate on a different level when I've let several years elapse between re-readings. Not too long ago, I re-read The Great Gatsby and was absolutely blown away by the quality of the writing, something I didn't focus on so much when I was trying to process the story back when I first read it in my junior year of high school.
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Old 07 June 2017, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post

But I completely understood the last section about re-reading with your family. The reason I've read and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so many times is that my mum read them out loud to me as bed-time stories when I was very young - she was re-reading them - and I think she did the same for my brother and sister. Our family copy literally fell apart, was replaced and fell apart again. I think even my own copy has fallen apart and been replaced after I read it a couple of times myself and then lent it to a friend. (And given my dislike of having unread books on my shelf, I will have read the new copy too). The same goes for the AA Milne.
So true. It was wonderful to revisit childhood favourites with my own children. Far too many to go into here, but the big stand out from when she was barely school age was introducing my daughter to the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Well worth reading them again as an adult and so much fun watching her meet Ramona for the first time.
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Old 07 June 2017, 05:45 PM
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One book I enjoy rereading is Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World.
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Old 07 June 2017, 07:14 PM
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I couldn't even try to list the books I've re-read over and over. There's one I read until the cover fell off (The Game of Kings, by Dorothy Dunnett), others I turn to as comfort books (Wen Spencer's Ukiah Oregon books), and others I re-read because they're easy to put down (Ancient Inventions). It's much more unusual for me to be reading a new book.

Seaboe
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Old 08 June 2017, 03:48 AM
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I reread books for three reasons:

-- Some light reading is so forgettable that I can read it again almost the same as reading it for the first time. (Bathtub reading, I call it: read it in the bathtub and not care whether I drop it in. But I'm a compulsive reader, and always want to be reading something -- some of the time something I need to think about, but sometimes something that doesn't require much thought.)

-- Some things really worth reading provide multiple layers and I get more and/or different things out of them on each reading.

-- Reading many books is for me like visiting the place and the people. If I like it there, I want to go back. Knowing how the story works out doesn't reduce my enjoyment of the place/people on later visits -- in some cases it may increase it; I may for instance not be worrying whether the cat is going to get killed or whether a favorite character is going to die -- even if they are, if the overall story was somewhere I wanted to go, knowing about the death and how it fits in can let me think instead of what the person's doing while alive.

People often play a piece of music over and over. It puzzles me a bit that so many people don't want to hear/read a story more than once.
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Old 08 June 2017, 11:00 AM
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All of the books in my personal library (~1000 or so). That's why they're in my library - the one-and-done books got sent off to the used book store. I only keep the ones I like to read again. Also, there are hundreds of library books that I enjoy re-reading, and scores of books from friends' libraries that I would dearly love to read again, if only time, distance and relationship status would allow.

I like rereading books because I always find new insights, especially if the re-reads are many years apart.

In my 20's and 30's, I did some oddball marathon re-reads. I read the entire original Dune hexology five times, spaced about 2-3 years apart. I assembled the then-complete Asimov Foundation sequence in the 90's and read it end-to-end in about 3 weeks (that was a mix of mostly re-reads plus the few post-Foundation novels he'd written for the first time).

The last few years has been mostly a quest for new material, with little re-reading. I re-read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to refresh my memory before the TV show, and ditto for American Gods. I reread a small handful of other books , those few new purchases such as John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation that I developed a hankering for a reread. I have a short list of the over 400 library books I've read over the last six years that I would like to own, or at least re-read.

It helps that I am a fast reader, although I have slowed down considerably since the 20th century. Where I used to be good for a book a day, now I'm good for a book every 2-3 days.
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Old 08 June 2017, 11:01 AM
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I'd forgotten that I've read Middlemarch twice as well, and I've read quite a few Dickens novels more than once - definitely Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Hard Times and Oliver Twist (even though that's not really one of my favourites). When I started to build up my own Dickens collection I re-read all the ones that I'd read previously from my parents' shelf.
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Old 08 June 2017, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post

People often play a piece of music over and over. It puzzles me a bit that so many people don't want to hear/read a story more than once.

Good point. And lord knows I can watch the same cartoons many times. Oh well.
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Old 08 June 2017, 02:38 PM
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It might be connected to learning style. Those who are aurally inclined tend to re-listen, and those who prefer the written word re-read.

I actually do both, and I use both styles of learning, too.

Seaboe
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Old 08 June 2017, 02:55 PM
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FWIW, I'm extremely visually-oriented when it comes to taking in information or following a story; but while I do re-read, I also repeatedly play music I like.
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Old 08 June 2017, 05:06 PM
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The only time I can not re-read a book is when I find it annoying/atrocious and hard to read.

I have read most of the hundred or so books in my bookcases multiple. There are only a few exceptions.
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Old 08 June 2017, 06:32 PM
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There are a few books that I really enjoyed, but once was enough for me. The House of Sand and Fog comes to mind - I'm glad I read the book, but it was so thoroughly depressing/frustrating that I don't need to re-live it. Similarly, I feel that I took from The Road all I needed to take in a single reading. It's not that I didn't like the books (quite the opposite), but the single experience was sufficient. (I feel the same way about certain movies, too.)
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Old 08 June 2017, 06:52 PM
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I know what you mean, Musicgeek. I read Dune and enjoyed it, but knew the instant I shut the book that I would not read it again, nor any of the sequels (which were just starting to appear at the time). It was a strange feeling, to be so sure.

Seaboe
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Old 08 June 2017, 07:57 PM
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John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley is something I reread every other summer or so. There are some parts I eagerly anticipate and look forward to, and then when I read I find something new to really digest each time.

Every few years around Easter time I reread In Cold Blood. I read it the first time in 12th grade, and I don't know why, but it just fits well for me at that part of the year where it's not cold enough to really snow anymore but you still aren't seeing much new life out of anything yet.

But there are also books, like others mention, that I don't think I need to reread. The Stand is one such book- it was an enjoyable way to spend a summer, but I have many new books to get acquainted with before I think I'd ever want to devote that much time to that particular book again.
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Old 08 June 2017, 08:44 PM
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I don't generally re-read anything I disliked the first time. (I may not finish it the first time, for that matter. It was a great day in my life when I realized I could return books to the library without having read them: it freed me up to take things I have no idea whether I want to read or not, and in some cases it turns out I do want to read them.)

I'm also unlikely to re-read anything I was reading purely or primarily for the information value that I think I've gotten the information out of on the first reading. And I'm not sure that it really counts as re-reading when I return to a reference book just to look up something in particular; though there are books that I do keep around for that reason.
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Old 08 June 2017, 09:22 PM
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I was so happy to read Candide on the list. I've read it several times and given out more copies than I can count. It is my go-to graduation gift.

I've also read The Hobbit and the LOTR series several times.

Hemingway is also worth rereading for me. I've read The Sun Also Rises, Movable Feast and The Old Man and Sea the multiple times each.
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