The Books You Read and Re-read and Re-read...

There’s a few books that no matter how many times I’ve read them, I always go back to the well sooner or later – not reference books for looking things up, mind, but books you read for the pleasure or challenge of it. Here’s mine, what are yours?

  • The core Foundation trilogy, by Isaac Asimov (expect to see that name crop up again). The years do not diminish this masterpiece of Golden Age SF.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, by Douglas Adams. Kind of a given.
  • Asimov’s Robot stories
  • Asimov’s Lije Baley trilogy (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn)
  • Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel Escher Bach and Metamagical Themas. Brain-burning, but in a good way, like a nice hot pepper sauce.
  • The Sherlock Holmes canon
  • John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar – not an easy read, disjointed and non-linear, and every time I dip back into it, I find something else I missed.
  • 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories, edited by Asimov, Martin Greenberg and Joseph Olander – you can pack a big impact in just a few words.
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson and Bob Shea. Because. :slight_smile:
  • Diane Duane’s The Door into Fire – brought me back to fantasy fiction after getting burned out by Tolkein (heresy, I know)
  • Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – incredible early SF (and brilliant character study) by Stevenson.
  • Bob Woodward’s The Brethren, a fascinating behind-the-scenes study of the 70s Supreme Court, and Woodward and Bernstein’s All the President’s Men and The Final Days – nearly fifty years later, and I’m still a Watergate junkie.
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I’ve read The Princess Bride numerous times. Definitely a book I finish and immediately want to pick up again and reread.

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There are bunch of Star Trek and Star Wars series I’ve read a few times thru, (The Thrawn Trilogy, the X-Wing Rouge and Wraith series, Andrew Robinson’s A Stitch in Time is one of the best Trek pieces put to page.)

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars & Science in the Capital series are brilliant and worth multiple readings.

And as much as I hate to admit, I’ve read thru the full Robotech series more times than i can count.

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Most of John Irving’s novels - Garp, The Cider House Rules, etc.
Most of George Orwell’s novels.
Various books about popular science - for example, one called The Battery that covers the history of storing electricity and is very entertaining, covering things like the telegraph and other areas you might not think of.
Baking Powder Wars, which begins with the history of leavening and then goes into the commercialization of baking powder, which has way more intrigue than you would imagine. Very entertaining.

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I very recently allowed my kids to fall in love with the movie. I still need to read the book.

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Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin books (Master and Commander)

Robert Aspirin’s Myth series (Skeeve and Aahz are always fun)

Nero Wolfe

Sherlock Holmes

Harry Potter (yes I still read and enjoy Harry Potter)

David Eddings Belgarion and Sparrowhawk books

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I love both deeply, but it is interesting what details from the text don’t carry over into the film, since William Goldman wrote both the book and the screenplay.

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Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, mostly the DEATH books because that’s my favorite character, but I also like the Rincewind books as well.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I read it so many times that I could almost quote it.

I used to read the Harry Potter books a lot, but I haven’t read them in years, although I still have the whole set.

The Crystal Singer trilogy by Anne McCaffery, although there are some major inconsistencies between each book.

Here’s one that I’m a little embarrassed about because the story isn’t that well-written and boy there were a lot of typos in the printing I have. The Redemption of Althalus by David and Lee Eddings. Some people said that David Eddings leant his name to the book and his wife is the one who really wrote it because it’s not as good as his books. Either way, it’s pretty poor but for some reason I don’t mind it at all and I can read and reread it many times.

The Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters. I love these novels and I’ve read them all many many times. If you like historical fiction, I can’t recommend them enough. When I went to England, one of the places I wanted to go was Shrewsbury, specifically because it’s the setting for the books.

I’m sure there are others but that’s enough to start.

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There are many books I love that I’ve only read once or twice. I have good retention so, once I’ve read it, I’ve read it. I don’t re-watch movies or TV shows very often, either, and usually years apart when I do.

I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times. All the Oz books two or three times. Alice in Wonderland. There are quite a few that I plan to re-read when I get a chance. But usually, new reading takes precedence over re-reading.

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  • Neuromancer. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve read it. I’ll read it again.
  • National Lampoon’s Doon. Same situation as ^^^.
  • The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect which, sadly, I don’t think is free to read online anymore. :confused:
  • Headcrash. Author breaks the fourth wall from time to time.
  • Dante’s Inferno. There’s a really cool… sequel?.. written by Larry Niven that I keep meaning to reread but the original usually gets my attention instead.
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I have read this, and it’s wonderful! Who would have thought that a history of the battery would be so fascinating?

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All of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

Also, the first six of Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Cycle.

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My favorite Richard Bach book is Illusions. I read it over and over in my 20s and it contributed a lot to the way I view life. A wonderful book.

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Short answer, none.

Reading a novel is such an investment of time, and draining because it so fully absorbs my attention. It’s not like an album, that you can pop on while your cooking dinner, and 40 minutes later it’s finished.

Plus, favorite authors like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy left such an impression me, that their works are permanently imprinted on my mind.

I have given thought to re-reading Lolita, just for the language, the way Nabokov weaves and plays with words. But there’s so much on my wishlist, that I end up reaching for the new, rather than the old.

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Yep, I read that one too. It was really … weird, and not just because of the terrible editing/typesetting (scanning whatever). I can easily believe he, or more likely the publisher, added his name from the “street cred”

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Oh how could I forget the Lord of the Rings!!! That gets read every winter.

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There aren’t a lot of books I re-read as a rule—I’ve got too many to get through as it is. Kids books, sure, especially out-loud to kids.

An exception would be: I first read The Secret Garden four years ago and I’ve read it every year since. I limit myself to one reading a year. I also re-read Bradbury kind of randomly: I read them so much as a child and I like to refer to his writing to see how much he does with so little.

On to others’ selections:

Oh, yeah. The fifth one is so bad I read it back-to-back in the course of two days to fully get how much Adams had come to hate the series.

I like to read this for the prescience that makes each new reading fresh. Also Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451.

I gotta re-read this one. I did not care for it, and I thought, “What’s the big deal about RLS.” But years later I read Treasure Island and it was great. So maybe I was just in a bad mood.

In the kids category, I suppose, since I’ve read them out loud. =P

The not-really-a-sequel is good though obviously not of the same caliber. (Or is it obvious? Is it even true? I don’t know how to compare the two, frankly.)

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On the other hand, “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy” was a great tagline.

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There are a couple that I revisit often. I won’t always read all the way through but I know them so well just dipping into them for 10 or 20 pages is enough of a tonic.

Rings Of Saturn by WG Sebald. Ostensibly a travelogue about a journey made on foot down the Norfolk and Suffolk coast, but it manages to encompass reflections on the life of a Chinese empress, a prominent Irish nationalist, Joseph Conrad and MUCH MORE. It captures that feeling of a mind pleasantly drifting on a long walk if the mind was erudite and less liable to just loop TV theme songs like mine does in those circumstances.

Savage Night by Jim Thompson. I read a bunch of his books back to back years ago which is something I would not recommend. He cranked out some genuine page turners, not in a ‘have to know what happens next’ sense but more he just paints the worlds so vividly I find it easy to get sucked in. It’s strong stuff though, unabashedly violent in places which does wear me down. To be honest I’d find it hard to choose between this and Nothing Man, but I probably go back to this more because it’s got a hallucinatory quality in places that is pretty incredible.

Will you please be quiet, please? by Raymond Carver. It’s a short story collection, so suited to frequent quick dips in and out, but I tend to revisit ‘They’re Not Your Husband’ the most as it is practically perfect.

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I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to check it out.

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