I Rarely Read My Favorites More Than Once
By Jeff Salter
This topic was a bit of a ‘stumper’ for me. Like Danica, most of my books seem like adopted children (whom I protect and treasure). But like Jillian, I rarely re-read books … and I’m not really certain WHY.
It doesn’t bother me to re-watch a favorite movie. Heck, when I used to view a lot of television, I’d often re-watch a movie I didn’t even like all that much. [Because it was the ‘best’ thing on at that time.]
Anyway, as I sometimes do, I’m veering off-topic to some tangential issues.
Read More Than Once
I had to strain to come up with even this very small list.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird — an excellent, powerful book which I’ve read twice (about 10-12 years apart).
Nathaniel Benchley – father of author Peter Benchley and son of humorist Robert Benchley – wrote the novel which was made into the movie “The Russians are Coming…”. Titled The Off-Islanders, it’s another book I’ve read twice (some 30+ years apart).
Two times, I’ve read Walker Percy’s novel, The Last Gentleman. [Probably about 15 years apart.]
Though I can’t recall which titles, I know I’ve read at least one or two of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books twice (first as a young teen and later as an adult).
Notice that all of these re-readings have been at least 10 years later.
My Favorite Books
Since I’m obviously NOT a chronic ‘re-reader,’ my favorite titles (besides those above) include many books I’ve read only once … though I’d be delighted to read any of these again. [Merely a partial list].
The Eagle Has Landed (Jack Higgins)
Eye of the Needle (Ken Follett)
The Day of the Jackal (Frederick Forsyth)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Band of Brothers (Stephen Ambrose)
My Favorite Authors
In addition to the authors listed in both sections above, I’ve also really enjoyed several by:
Robert Ludlum (mostly his earlier books)
Alistair MacLean (a few, but not all his titles)
Morris West (a few, but not all)
Bill Bryson (but not all)
Donald Hamilton [yep … the writer of the Matt Helm series]
[Plus others I can’t even think of at the moment]
One area which DOES combine ‘favorite’ books and titles I’ve read more than once … is children’s books! I would strain too hard to remember all the titles / authors, but here are a few.
Being a librarian for some 29 years gave me opportunities to re-examine titles which I had read over and over as a child myself (like Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, several from Dr. Seuss, most of the early Disney titles, and many of the ‘Little Golden’ books) and had the added pleasure of reading multiple times to my own children. Several titles of the Berenstain Bears series arrived in time to read to my kids … as did Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach. Some books (like William Joyce’s George Shrinks and Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in my Closet) appeared too late for my kids, but have been viable reads for my grand-children.
A really good children’s story with terrific artwork is something I enjoy reading even where no kids are around!
Miscellaneous Multiple Reads
As a beta reader for my brother, I’ve read some of his books two or three times.
The Bible is not at all a typical ‘book’, but I’ve read each of its Old Testament books at least once … and most of the New Testament books three times or more.
I have read several of Shakespeare’s plays more than once.
I’ve read a few short stories more than once (e.g., O’Henry’s Ransom of Red Chief and Faulkner’s An Odor of Verbena … and probably some of Poe’s).
So, now that I’ve talked AROUND this topic, what are YOUR favorite books … and/or which titles have you read more than once? Does anyone else like to re-read children’s books?
Please join me here each Thursday. The four resident Foxes blog on the other weekdays and will be happy to see you as well.
I’m not going to list my favorite books here (too many books, too little time). But I am going to thank you. My father, who has dementia, a recent heart attack, and some other new medical problems, reads like a fiend. I honestly don’t know how he remembers the story as he reads(he’s not so far gone that he forgets us kids, but he doesn’t remember a lot of day to day stuff). But he remembers what he’s currently reading. So I’m going to print your list and find these books for him to read. He could use the diversion.
I bet your dad will enjoy these, Laurie.
Thanks for stopping by again.
I will re-read books in a series. Especially if the next book isn’t out for another six-12 months. Somehow I always forget some of the most important parts that need to be remembered.
The only ‘series’ I can remember reading was the Matt Helm series, many years ago. Though I never re-read one that I can recall. They were pretty much formula ‘tough guy’ fiction.
Thanks for visiting, Tonya.
I re-read books all the time. They’re like comfort food for me, especially throughout the winter.
Books I re-read (numerous times, at that!):
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (I cry every time)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
And, yes, I’m blushing even as I say this…the Twilight series through Eclipse. I will never read Breaking Dawn again.
Joy, did you enjoy the Twilight series from a literary standpoint? Or just the story and characters?
I’ve not read them myself, but I’ve seen some comments that the writing itself is not all that great. Of course, critics are like some contest judges — very subjective.
Thanks for commenting.
Joy, I love Outlander! Matter of fact, I have read and listened to the entire series more than once. (I had to download the books because I needed to hear the Gaelic being spoken.) Can’t say they are great literature, but they are well researched and historically captivating. See, Jeff, I was just telling you about Diana Gabaldon.
yeah, Dianne, I remember you mentioning that name
I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird several times. It’s just one of those books that I will read when I’m feeling introspective and thoughtful. Along the “literary” lines, another one I’ll read is Lord of the Flies. Just can’t help myself!
Yes, Lord of the flies was terrific. I would have to add that to my list of favorites that I’d be happy to read again.
Thanks for reminding me, Danica.
I have keepers that I never again open, too. But I’ve read Gone with the Wind three times. Some books of the Bible multiple times, but not all. Richard Russo’s Straight Man twice. (Something about Russo’s characters makes me feel instant recognition? I almost feel like I know those people–or oh, yeah, my sister told me when that happened. And yet I know that’s not true.) And once in a while, I’ll enjoy a book on tape so much that I’ll immediately read the print version just to try to gather in exactly how the author created such a good experience. (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Ain’t She Sweet) There are so many books and so few hours that I mostly say, “Next!”
You know … after all these years — and seeing the entire movie multiple times (plus portions many more times) — I’ve never yet read GWTW.
There’s something about books over 350 pps which discourage me — LOL.
Thanks for visiting, Chris.
Folks, I’m back on the road again. Drove 500 miles yesterday and have some 350 to go today.
Jilllian has graciously agreed to keep the campfire tended while I’m dodging road-rage maniacs.
Hopefully I can check in again tonight.
Thanks, all who visit, view, or comment today.
What Jeff! Goals for a Sinner and Wish for a Sinner by Lynn Shurr didn’t make your list? But you should tell Danica about them if she likes SEP. More seriously, I have read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre several times, Huckleberry Finn too often to count (the hazard of being an English major in college) and would like to reread Lord of the Rings but simply don’t have the stamina anymore.
Carla, I was an Eng. major also. [Imagine me teaching H.S. or jr. college Literature — as I had planned to].
You know after all these years I’ve never yet read a full length version of Huck Finn!
Thanks for stopping by.
I keep my favorite books forever even though I rarely re-read them and so I SHOULD give them to Goodwill or something. I just have trouble letting go… But I have read my favorite books by Emily Giffin more than once because they are just fun reads and since I’ve read them before, I can skim the second or third time around. But generally, there are just too many good books out there, I tend to buy new ones rather than read old ones more than once. When I was younger, I read the Judy Blume books over and over and over again but that was then, this is now :).
Well, I agree Goodwill is a good destination for some books which could be weeded — Hmm, that was Danica’s topic yesterday, I think — but I can scarcely bear to part with a book. It has to be a real clunker before I can let it go.
Thanks for visiting, Meredith.
No – I don’t re-read books, even my favorites. I’m an extremely slow reader, thanks to my Reading Comprehension Deficiency, and I have little extra time for the leisure, thanks to children. My TBR list is so long and any extra time not spent on editing is spent reading books I haven’t read yet.
Great post, Jeff!
Thanks, Jenn. I’m fortunate to be a rapid reader, but I still have a huge pile of TBR. Many are fiction, but lots are military history. They’re not exactly ‘light’ reading, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Oh my goodness…do you really have the space for me to list books I’ve re-read? LOL
I’m a relatively fast reader (some books I read faster than others) and I’m also an avid reader who “devours” books. There’s some books I’ve loved that read only once or twice.
I’ve read Dr. Seuss ones over and over (great stuff)
CS Lewis’s NARNIA books (he’s a literary giant, plus he can really tell a great tale)
Maud Hart Lovelace’s BETSY-TACY books
Stephenie Meyers’ TWILIGHT series (I’m a sucker for a romance I can get lost in).
Beverly Cleary’s FIFTEEN (I have no idea how many times I’ve read that one)
Lurlene MacDaniel’s DON’T DIE, MY LOVE (sad story, but I love it)
Alex Flinn’s BEASTLY (at least twice)
That’s not even all the titles.
Georgette Heyer’s THE GRAND SOPHY and FRIDAY’S CHILD (love those ones…I’ve read about 11 others of her Regency Romance…I haven’t read her Mysteries)
Shanna Swendson’s ENCHANTED, INC. series (4 books, wish the 5th one would be published, fun stuff)
Lynn Kurland’s STARDUST OF YESTERDAY (and probably a couple of other titles)
CS Lewis’ THE GREAT DIVORCE (at least twice)
I think I’ve re-read some by Debbie Macomber
Books I’d Read Again:
James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet’s SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S
CS Lewis’s THE GREAT DIVORCE (I don’t care that I’ve read it twice, I’d read it again) and his NARNIA series
Maud Hart Lovelace’s BETSY-TACY series
Just to name a few.
Jackson Pearce’s AS YOU WISH (I think I have read this more than once, though I’m not certain). (YA novel)
Suzanne Selfors’ COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL and SAVING JULIET (YA novels) (Whom I just discovered has a new one out that was published in January of this year–and it looks really good).
Anyway that’s off the top of my head. Didn’t I say you’d need a lot of room? LOL
Bethany, gosh that is a long list. You’ll need a complete blog to cover everything. I recognize a lot of those authors and some titles … but haven’t read any. Looks like my education has a lot of holes in it.
Thanks for visiting.
Ok, I was supposed to cover for Jeff today but I’ve been living in an alternate universe called “carzy world” all day- SO, I am glad to see Jeff has been able to check in himself. Some foxy friend I am, right?
I am a Ken Follett fan, too and really like the book you chose – Like you, I’ve read it once. I, of course, re-read children’s books to my kids, ad nauseum, and have kept quite a few of them. Have not looked at them in ages. I read the Bible from cover to cover- Once. AND read Encyclopedia Britannica (28 volumes) in high school- Once- yep too much info- I know. LOL!
Jillian, are you still in carzy world? Dadgum!
You read Ency. Brit ALL THE WAY THROUGH! Holy smokes. I admire that industry, but I’ll have to say … it scares me a bit too. LOL
yea- carzy world was exactly how it’s been, thus the spelling!
Yeah- I read it- not the sissy, easy Collier’s but the highbrow Britannica! LOL!
You’re probably aware that the Britainica drastically changed their format some 20 yrs ago. No longer the standard alpha by topic. The ‘new’ version had three mini-sets within it: The propedia (an outline), the [something]pedia which I never understood the purpose of, and then the regular ‘articles’. But the articles were listed in an organizational pattern rather than alpha.
I don’t know if they kept that ‘new’ format, but I hated it and the library customers couldn’t get the hang of it.
The first books I remember re-reading were Dickens novels. Since then, I have read Ludlum, Follett, Conroy, Sandford more than once. The early Stephen King stuff, where his words could make me feel, smell and experience anything he chose. I re-read Anne Rice’s books and enjoyed the down-home view of familiar Louisiana. I have re-read the Gabaldon novels. There are many, many more. I admit it, I am a re-reader!
Dianne, thanks for visiting today. You started out with Dickens! Good grief … the classics! I’ve never read Conroy or Sandford. I read one by Rice, but it was from the 70s. Never have read any of S. King … don’t want any nightmares!
And wa-a-a-y after while, she comes sneaking in . . . Sorry, Superdude. Family duties kept me away yesterday. (And if you can get The Man’s ear for a moment, I’d appreciate a prayer for Hubby. Got some scary stuff working right now.)
I love the classics, and I mean the ones students groan over being assigned in Lit class. I inhale current best sellers or mere suggestions without discretion as to genre or author, so long as the story and characters keep me involved. But I have a love of history. So if I had to pick a book that impressed me with its blend of History and human relationships, it was The Proud Breed, written by Celest DeBlasis back in 1978. A history of California leading into Statehood, it was told through the romantic relationship of a couple from first glance to death, and all the trials, happiness, cultural prejudice, hardship and war in between. The timeline was impeccable, and historical characters so smoothly blended you learned without intending to!
I’ve got your husband on my prayer list! Hope things stabilize soon.
Thanks for posting today, better late than not at all.
‘The proud breed’ sounds familiar and that was one of the years that I saw a lot of the incoming books. Never read it though.
Your description makes it sound terrific.
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