Friday Fun – Books We’ve Read More Than Once

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Name up to three books that you’ve read more than three times each. (Bonus Points: Reveal why you keep coming back to that particular book.)

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson: Other than a couple of writing-related books for grammar, writing prompts, and inspiration, I haven’t re-read any books. There are so many books out there in the world to read, that I just haven’t gone back to re-read one I’ve already tackled. That being said, if I find an author I like, I will generally seek out and read every book I can by that author before moving on to any other books.

M. Shafer, Photo

M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin: There was a time in my life when I performed bibliomancy on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I kept a copy by my bedside and opened it at random before I fell asleep at night. I’ve read all six of Austen’s novels more times than I can count – and not just because I wrote my dissertation about them. Other favorites include Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, Dicken’s David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

There are others as well: No matter how well I know a book, I almost always reread it before I teach it, so that it’s fresh in my mind. And while part of me thinks this leads to being over prepared and that I should really be reading only books I haven’t read before, I’ve learned that each time I reread a book, I read it anew – because I’ve changed and the world changed, and I always find new meaning in a good story well told.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: There are so many books I’ve read more than three times, it’s hard to limit myself here. One that I’ve mentioned many times on this blog is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which I always learn something from, no matter how many times I’ve read it before. I’ve also read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein at least three times. I hope to read them again–to my son, whenever he is ready for them. And one more book that I’ve read many times is, (like Deborah,) Jane Eyre. I first read the book in 5th grade and I was captivated by Jane, maybe because she’s a child in the beginning of the book, as I was at the time I first read it. Every rereading teaches me something new.

I reread a lot of nonfiction but I also enjoy rereading fiction. There’s something about returning to an old favorite that I love. I think it has to do with the certainty that the book I’m diving into is going to deliver, even though it now lacks the suspense of the first reading. New books, known books, they’re all good friends, aren’t they?

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: There are not many books that I’ve read more than once. A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin is one (it’s also one of my picks for best winter reads), and like Diane, I have also read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy multiple times. I also find that I sometimes return to childhood favorites (The House at Pooh Corner, Wind in the Willows, Julie of the Wolves). And lately, I’ve been re-listening to certain audio books (though my return listens have been less about reliving the story in question and more about having a pleasantly familiar accompaniment to some manual labor). Lillian Jackson Braun’s “cat who” mysteries are perfect for this purpose. I am sure there are other books I’ve reread, but their titles escape me at the moment.

As for why I reread certain books, I think it’s mostly to recapture a particular feeling. Most of the books I return to are ones that represent a sense of comfort and well being to me. They create a space in which I feel safe and “cocooned” from whatever trials I’m facing in the real world.

Interestingly, this question has made me ask myself why I keep so many books when there is such a slim chance that I’ll reread them. I have several bookcases filled to overflowing with novels and nonfiction books that I will likely never reread, and yet I cannot bear to part with them. Is it because I just like to have them around me? Do they serve as some sort of physical tally of my reading conquests? Are they still here “just in case” I should one day like to reread a passage or two? I don’t really know. I only know that I’m happier with my shelves full than empty.

23 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Books We’ve Read More Than Once

  1. I keep the entire Harry Potter series and reread them…all seven of them…in order. I find at those times when I’m feeling like too much of an adult…they help ground me.
    I also have the entire Alex Cross series by James Patterson. I reread it all in order when book 22 came out. It was still epic, even the second time.
    Also I reread Tuck Everlasting every single time I teach a language arts class. I can’t not read that one with kiddos…it’s a classic.

  2. I have re-read all the Sherlock Homes Mysteries at least three times. And way before the popular TV show, too! 🙂 Other books include Robinson Crusoe and My Side of the Mountain, which I adored as a pre-teen. I feel like it had a profound impact on me.

  3. There are a few books I’ve read twice, most notably some Arthur C Clarke classics. But it’s interesting that the Lord of the Rings has come up more than once. I’m reading it now and I think I can appreciate more reading it at my age, when I was younger I maybe would have been daunted by it or not appreciated it as much.

  4. 1) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – Just profound philosophy and wisdom for life. The most powerful man in the world at that time yet so humble and virtuous. An inspiration to everyone.
    2) Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Similarily to Meditations it gives insight into the power of oneself. Moreover the audiobook version with the authors own narration is amazing.
    3) How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnagie – A must for anyone interested in psychology and relationships. To read it every once in a while helps to remind of all the useful information.

  5. 1) All the Harry Potters.
    2) The Time Traveler’s Wife – more than 52 times at this point (that’s when I stopped counting).
    3) Shadow Castle.
    4) Better Single than Sorry.
    I also have the tendency to re-read and re-read a lot, and still fill up my bookshelves with new books because I want all my author friends around me 🙂

  6. I have reread the Hunger Games trilogy (a very guilty pleasure of mine) and currently rereading The Lord of the Rings. I think next I plan to take a look back through my two favourites, Watership Down and To Kill a Mockingbird soon down the road. I don’t know it’s so hard to read something again when you have a lineup of books you haven’t read yet that you’re eager to get into, lol.

  7. Some books are what I call “comfort books” that is, I find it relaxing to re-read some times. Kind of like watch the same Christmas movies each year – reminds me of happy times and lets my brain rest from thinking too much. The titles I’ve most often re-read are, “Earth Abides,” “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings” and the manual for my laser printer…

  8. None as of now but the first ones that I want to add to the list are the hobbit, other lotr books and also the game of thrones and according to my current speed ( an hour a day) it will only take me a hundred years. I think I can make it.

  9. Animal Farm is the name that flashes my mind. George Orwell has written that satire with such impressive lucid style and with amazing wit that it makes me laugh every time when I read it. Of course, Harry Potter will always be there but nothing beats George Orwell and his Animal Farm!

  10. Pingback: Friday Favorites #7 | Three's a Herd

  11. Glad to see there’s a fellow Jane Austen addict here – I too used to reread all her novels every year for a good few years. (I don’t have the time for that now, though). I do like rereading great favourites: like Wind in the Willows, the Moomin series (from children’s literature) and then the obvious suspects like The Great Gatsby or 1984.

  12. Lord of the Rings; it was a mutual interest of my Father’s and mine, and when he passes away I reread it. Aside from being such a detailed, rich world and incredible story, it got me invested in every since character to the point that I was in tears when I was done. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy; it’s fun, hilarious, and somehow thought provoking all at the same time, while managing to feed my need for nostalgia, ennui, and life’s sorrows. Ender’s Game; endlessly quotable, profound in it’s own right, and one of the most emotional stories I’ve ever read.

  13. The first book I re-read was Homer’s The Odyssey, the Robert Fitzgerald translation. It came to me by mistake. I think it was the World Classic Book Club or something like that. I hadn’t ordered so they sent the book automatically. I read it, loved it and probably read it twenty more times. Another book is Kawabata’s The Sound of the Mountain. I’ve read it five or six times and just writing that now makes me want to go pull it off the shelf and start reading again. I love that book. I reread Anthony Trollope’s Framley Parsonage. And last but not least, I’ve read and reread a volume of poetry by the Chinese poet, Po Chu-I, translated by David Hinton. Oh and Tara’s having read The Time Traveler’s Wife 52 times, makes me want to read it.

  14. 1) Harry potter series. I read them three times because I never stop loving the adventure and thrill it gives. 2) Heidi. Because it shows the beautiful mountains in words and takes us to our own world of imagination. 3) Wuthering Heights. This book even though sad gives me the love and affection it contains and characters resemble some mystery.

  15. I read the Holy Bible a few times. King James version. It’s worth a re-read because it is probably the most read book ever and the most controversial. The lessons for life are in there but occulted behind the social history.
    Second, I have read James Joyce’s Ulysees a few times. But, it is so dense the second read was much like the first. It raised a lot more questions than it answered.
    Third, and not least of the three, is
    The Awakening of Intelligence by Jiddu Krishnamurti. I’m a reader of all his works but this one stands out as having answers.
    Notice the common theme among the three?
    It is about “getting to the truth of things”….

  16. I also have book shelves that are full and feel a constant need of more places to store my books. I can let go of a lot of things but my books are my treasures. Letting go of a book is very difficult. It is like they have become a part of me.. I love searching book sales and used book stores for new treasures. I even have extra copies of some books so I can share my treasure with others without worrying if I will get the book back.

  17. I’ve read The Time Traveller’s Wife a number of times and know that I’ll go back to it again! I love the idea and format of the book, as well as the relationship and life story. I think it’s also a book that goes through seasons too which makes it easy to read at any time of the year, though I like to be cosy on a sofa whilst reading it.
    Other books I turn to are The Road by Cormac McCarthy for it’s haunting but beautiful story of a father and his son.
    And although I’ve only read it once so far, I do intend to read The Count of Monte Christo again and probably once more after that! That book, to me, is adventure through and through. Yes it has a low point, but it’s worth it in the end.

  18. I’m a Joycean so I’m constantly rereading Ulysses and Finnegans Wake … Ive read The Catcher in the Rye and A Clockwork Orange several times, as well … used to read those two once per year … I reread a lot of poetry, too: Yeats, Dickinson, Whitman, John Berryman, et al. …,

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