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Thread: Books you've read a gazillion times

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'll wager J.R.R. Tolkien's 'ring' trilogy makes it on more people's 'gazillion' list than just about any other books, but I wonder why that is? Yes, yes, they're well-written in many ways, but that alone hardly explains their apparent broad-spectrum appeal. But there are many many other well-written books out there meeting that criteria and alot of the same folks somehow don't manage to read them a gazillion times.

    To clarify, by 'gazillion' we really mean books you have systematically read cover to cover three or more times in your lifetime.

    It's pretty rare for me to enjoy a book so much that I feel it warrants three or more reads, and truth be known I wouldn't say that those books are necessarily the greatest literature either. If anything they tend to be escapist in nature and most 'fun'. I've read Patrick Obrian's Aubrey/Maturin series (20 books in all) four times now. I've also read the original 'Hitchhiker's Guide' three times, James Clavell's 'Shogun', and Alexandre Dumas' 'Three Musketeers' thrice as well.

    What books have you read a gazillion times?

    Oh, and for the record I'm guessing I've read the ring trilogy maybe 8 times since junior high.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I'm not much a repeat reader. One time through is usually enough for me. I mean, a story isn't going to change. The characters are the same. Why read it again if you know how it turns out or what information is contained within?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I'm not much a repeat reader. One time through is usually enough for me. I mean, a story isn't going to change. The characters are the same. Why read it again if you know how it turns out or what information is contained within?
    Because you miss many details and nuances on the first read. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is one such book that I've read half a dozen times. One of the most fascinating conversations I've had about a literature was around this book-I happened to meet a literature professor who was teaching an international fiction course and this was one of the reads. We discussed in detail the many nuances within the story.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    When I was 11-12, there were certain passages of books that I read more than once.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    When I was 11-12, there were certain passages of books that I read more than once.
    Just like I used repeatedly read those Playboy articles, no doubt.

    Tolkien - The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Herbert - Dune
    Clavell - Shogun, Noble House, Whirlwind
    McMurtry - Lonesome Dove, Streets of Laredo
    Michener - Centennial, Hawaii, Poland, Texas, Mexico
    Asimov - Foundation Series
    Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Reviving on old thread.....

    I've read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" about a gazillion plus one times. I never get tired of it.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    I'm not much of a repeat reader for reasons mentioned by Boiker. But there are a few that I can go back to and enjoy again and again. They are:

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L'engle
    The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
    She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

    I like my female protagonists.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    If it's on the bookshelves, it's either a pattern book/repair manual/signed copy, or a repeat reader.

    David Eddings: The Belgariad (series) and The Mallorean (series)
    Anita Diamant: The Red Tent
    Jim Butcher: The Codex Alara (series) and The Dresden Files (series)
    CS Lewis: Narnia (series)
    Jacquelyn Frank: The Nightwalkers (series)

    I read a lot, so I check out new authors and suggestions at the library, then purchase if I want to repeat read. I love my local Half-Priced Books store - friendly staff, always willing to help me find whatever I'm looking for.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    I'm not much of a repeat reader for reasons mentioned by Boiker. But there are a few that I can go back to and enjoy again and again. They are:

    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    I like my female protagonists.
    I'm having a hard time getting through this. It's very slow reading to me. I suppose it doesn't help that I saw the movie ages ago not knowing (at the time) that it was an adaptation.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    I'm having a hard time getting through this. It's very slow reading to me. I suppose it doesn't help that I saw the movie ages ago not knowing (at the time) that it was an adaptation.
    Really? Interesting. How far along are you? I first read the book when I was in middle school or high school so it took me awhile to get into it b/c I didn't know what was going on.

    I read the book numerous times before I saw the movie. I must say I thought the book was a thousand times better. But I understand how once you get the visuals from the movie in your head it can be difficult to adapt to the book.

    I also just recommended the book to a co-worker. We were talking about doomsday futures for women and I mentioned this book. I hope she likes it!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    "The Great Terror" by Robert Conquest.

    Every couple years as I increase my knowledge of the Stalin era I revisit the book. Then he came out with an updated version in the 90's (IIRC) subtitled "A Reappraisal"...turns out his initial conclusions and theories were confirmed by the release of previously "secret" files after the collapse of the USSR.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I've the whole series through 3 or 4 times since high school. Not books per se, but various Bloom County collections.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    There are a few books I read as an early reader (elementary school) that made impressions on me, and I've tried to read them every few years ever since. Its fascinating to see how the perspective on each book has changed based on what stage I've been in life. I only wish I'd kept some sort of diary or 'book reports' all along. So to that end, I've re-read just about every Roald Dahl book written (especially the BFG and Danny Champion of the World), and a few other common ones (Red Badge, Flicker, etc) and one that sticks with me called the Lottery Rose. You also simply cannot go wrong with Dr. Seuss at any age or stage of your life.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Kesey

    All time favorite hands down. I've also read Player Piano by Vonnegut more times than any normal person.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    The books I've read the most would be: Horton Hatches An Egg. One of my son's favorites.

    The book I've read the most for me is M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker. From high school and through college I read it every year.

    Also: Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, Pudd'nhead Wilson (all by Mark Twain), Treachery Trail, by Cliff Farrell, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, The Hitchhiker's Guide toth e Galaxy books, by Douglas Adams and True Grit by Charles Portis,
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
    Miriam's Kitchen by Elizabeth Erlich
    The Little House Books
    I Am Not Going to Get Up Today by Dr. Suess
    The Zoo - Ogden Nash

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