Booking Through Thursday: Repeats

What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.)

What book have you read the most times? And–how many?

I don’t know which was first and I don’t recall how many times, but the two books I’ve reread the most are Good Omens and Wicked. Nowadays, I don’t reread; there’s just so many new and wonderful things that I have to keep moving, like a shark, so I keep rereading limited to audiobooks.

But in high school, I used to reread those books all the time. There was a time when I would reread Wicked every three months, like clockwork. I discovered it in debate, actually—a friend of mine was reading it, I read half of it in our local Books-a-Million, and then bought it, which makes it one of the few good things that came out of my debate experience.

8 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Repeats

  1. Like you, I can’t remember which was first, but the book I’ve read the most times is Fritz Leiber’s Swords Against Wizardry, one of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser books. I’d estimate I’ve read it at least fifteen times.

  2. Books reread:

    Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood (nine times)
    Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson (unknown high number)
    The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann (three times)
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl (three times)
    Harry Potter series (three times)
    Survival in Auschwitz + The Reawakening – Primo Levi (three times)
    The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass (three times)
    Cat and Mouse – Gunter Grass (twice)
    Moby-Dick – Herman Melville (twice)
    Night – Elie Wiesel (twice)
    1984 – George Orwell (twice)
    The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky (twice)
    Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (twice)
    The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut (twice)

    The desire to reread comes from that little voice that says “there’s more to it than you caught the first time” or “you’ll understand it better now that you’re older and wiser.” To me, rereading is very pleasant: you are in your comfort zone with the plot and style of the book, which allows you to focus your mental energies on the deeper things. If the book you’re rereading is an old favorite, you get to ponder how your encounters with that particular work have changed you, and how your increased age and experience have changed the way you regard it (this can backfire if you learn your old favorite isn’t all that after all, so tread carefully.) I guess my impulse to circle back like this as opposed to forging ahead like the Omnivore does comes from my having been born an old woman.

    • I think I’ll reconsider rereading in about a year so, but I always enjoy gnawing at a text with a group of people rather than by myself—hence the challenges I occasionally do and my love for the Tolkien Professor and my Jane Austen class. If I’m diving in, I want to get as much as I can out, you know?

      And thank you for calling me the Omnivore! I feel like a superhero. Who would be more or less a bewigged Cookie Monster with a red cape.

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