Which book have you read the most number of times?

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Nathan Bransford
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Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 24th, 2010, 8:40 pm

We all have favorite books books that reward even after re-reading. I'm curious about which book people have read the most number of times?

I'm not actually much of a re-reader, but when I was a kid I got really into Terry Brooks' Shannara series and I had to have read THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA four times or so.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Nick » March 24th, 2010, 8:58 pm

1984 is probably the book I've re-read most often, though I haven't picked it up in a couple of years.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by charlotte49ers » March 24th, 2010, 9:23 pm

The first Harry Potter…I lost count on how many times a while ago. :-)

I also read Mary Downing Hahn's A Doll in the Garden a ton when I was a kid. She came to my sister's elementary school and she [my sister] got an autographed copy for me. :-)

The only books I reread are fun, light ones usually.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by ladymarella » March 24th, 2010, 10:19 pm

I am not usually a re reader either, but I must have read Wuthering Heights at least three times straight through, as well as all the times I've just read my favourite parts.
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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Quill » March 24th, 2010, 11:00 pm


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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by mojo25 » March 24th, 2010, 11:38 pm

II'm not much of a re-reader, but I guess I've read THE GREAT GATSBY a few times. I read it on my own and liked it, but I read it again with a good professor and loved it even more.

As a kid, I loved THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE and read it a few times. I've read THE SECRET GARDEN a few times too.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Rik » March 25th, 2010, 9:06 am

Tolkein, probably. Though I remember re-reading The Wind in the Willows a number of times when I was a kid, just in case the words changed between readings.

I've developed a recent taste for re-reading Tim Powers' later books.

It took me eight attempts to read Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, but it was worth the effort.
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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » March 25th, 2010, 11:35 am

Lol, I read the Elfstones of Shannara quite a few times as a kid. It was my favourite of his, by far. Though I attempted to reread it a year or two ago (feeling nostalgic, I guess) and it, um, didn't go so well. But my most re-read is easy: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Both in the twenties. Though maybe I shouldn't admit that. I have a life, I swear. Lloyd Alexander's The Prydain Chronicles is up there, too.

I think it's interesting, though. I find the books most often reread by people are books they once read as kids/teens. It's like there's a stage where certain books really imprint themselves on a reader. It's like a direct neural path, and you can always open up that book and immediately the patterns and feelings become clear and pull you through that old door. A book becomes a magic wardrobe into a strange quasi-past... it bends time, a little. I sometimes wonder what I would think of Lord of the Rings if I had never read it and picked it up now? Context is important. Would I find the long and slow build-up dull? Would I drop it?

Time, context, personal evolution... these all affect the reading experience. David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest was an important book for me. I read when I was... 18, maybe? It opened up a new world, a new style, a new sense of possibility. I didn't know you could do that with a book, and the sudden realization was an important one. It shaped quite a few things to come, probably. But if I read it now? I'd recognize the brilliance, love some of the language... but would I have the patience to plow through it? All those bloody footnotes? I'm really not sure.

So I think the specific book is important, but so is the moment, the unique experience of a particular book at a particular time. The nature of the imprint it leaves on the reader.

For books that I read as an adult... very few have I re-read. Even the greatest ones. Lack of time? The sense that there are so many great books out there that I haven't read and discovered yet? That's probably part of it. But I think the nature of that imprint is different, too. I have re-read a few, though. Michael Herr's Dispatches, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Heller's Catch-22... not too many. A few others I probably will, at some point in the future. McEwan and McCarthy. I can see myself re-reading them. Ann Patchett, certainly. Edwin O'Connor's The Edge of Sadness. Strange Piece of Paradise, by Terri Jentz. Borowski's This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Anyone else? I'd love to hear not only what books people re-read the most, but also why they think they re-read those particular books.
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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by jkmcdonnell » March 25th, 2010, 12:27 pm

I've read Gone With the Wind too many times to count. It's a bit of a marathon effort though.

Same with the HP series - I'm a product of my generation.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Matthew MacNish » March 25th, 2010, 12:34 pm

Like Ink I re-read The Lord of the Rings several times when I was young. In fact in Middle and High School I think I read it every spring for four or five years straight. I can't think of a single book I have re-read as an adult, except maybe some of the more difficult classics. Two examples are The Sound and the Fury and Ulysses. Those are both great books but I had to read each of them three times before I really understood what was going on.

I will eventually re-read some of my favorites, but right now, working, writing and reading books for the first time, on top of having a family, three cats and a puppy, there is just not enough time.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by ljkuhnley » March 25th, 2010, 12:42 pm

My favorite book as a child was ALANNA, THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Tamora Pierce. On the inside cover I had placed a check mark for each time I'd read it. I still have my original copy with my four check marks inside. I read the entire series again recently and fell in love with the stories all over again.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Harper Karcz » March 25th, 2010, 12:51 pm

I'm jealous of my childhood self for having so much time to reread books! Every summer I'd reread all of my Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary books, and I'd usually pick up Louise Fitzhugh's HARRIET THE SPY a couple times from the library each year. (Why did I never own it? It's a mystery. I should pick up a copy sometime.) Probably my most re-read book as a kid, besides the aforementioned HARRIET, was Judy Blume's OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SHEILA THE GREAT. It was not a hooky book, but rather a "leisurely paced" (as agents and editors say about my manuscripts -- ha) story about a girl who moves to Tarrytown, NY with her family for a summer. I loved the narrative voice, the humor, the quirky characters, and the ways that Sheila's family relationships and friendships changed throughout the story. I liked that I could dive in at any particular chapter and find something to sink my literary teeth into. And when I began writing novel-length fiction -- at age 10 -- my stuff meandered along the same lines as SHEILA. Big funny families, friend troubles, 1st-person narration, etc. It was at least 15 years before I realized that if I was ever going to publish something, I needed to have *some* sort of narrative arc. Blume was, I think, very clever in constructing a character study that also had plenty of narrative tension going on under the surface. I bow to her for that.

In high school, my obsession with William Faulkner began, and THE SOUND AND THE FURY hit me hard. I've read that book 9 times now (yep, I keep track), and it's not an easy book to reread. That one, too, obsessed me more by way of style and characters rather than story. Actually, I won't lie -- I loved QUENTIN. I didn't care if he was a total suicidal mess. I thought he was mad sexy and I wanted to save him from hurling himself off the bridge. I loved Faulkner's style throughout the book (and still do), but I reread it because of that brilliant Southern emo boy Quentin Compson. I read ABSALOM, ABSALOM several times because of the Quentin factor, too.
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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by Lorelei Armstrong » March 25th, 2010, 1:09 pm

James Joyce's Ulysses. There's something new in that book every time I open it.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by worstwriterever » March 25th, 2010, 3:36 pm

The Belgariad. Man I loved those books, and the offshoot books about Belgarath and Polgara.

I loved that sneaky character what was his name...Silk I think.

LOVED THEM. Read them so many times. I couldn't get into the other series' like the Mallorean though.

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Re: Which book have you read the most number of times?

Post by abc » March 25th, 2010, 4:37 pm

I think it is The Great Gatsby at 3 times.
Though I may have read The Bridge to Terabithia at least that many (back in my pre teen days).
I don't reread. I just have too many I want to read new. Though I have considered a reread of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter b/c it is so damn beautiful. And The Corrections because I loved it so.
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