Thursday, December 06, 2012

What book have you reread the most times?

I am going to confess that this is a book I reread almost yearly. It reminds me of my youth, I think. I still wonder about Neal Klugman and Brenda Patinkin. Wonder whether Neal ever left his perch at the library and went onto a more fulfilling profession. Did Brenda settle for a life like her mother had in Short Hills, a privileged if not terribly fulfilling future? I think that these characters remain with me is due to the incredibly faithful movie version with Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw, who perfectly captured the characters. Also Roth is a very good writer and this may be his most accessible, lovable book.

What book have you reread most? Was it a book that spoke to you in your youth?

41 comments:

Walker Martin said...

Some readers say they never reread books because of the old "So many books, so little time" theory. However, I disagree and often reread books that I consider to be great or unusual.

I guess I've reread Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES the most, about a half dozen times. But now that I think of it, I've also reread Malcolm Lowry's UNDER THE VOLCANO many times. Alfred Bester's THE STARS MY DESTINATION I've reread at least 5 or 6 times.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Interesting question as ever. I'd say that the books I've re-read the most are in my Agatha Christie collection. I learn something new every time I re-read them.

Chad Eagleton said...

I reread quite a bit actually. I've read Shane Stevens' WAY UPTOWN IN ANOTHER WORLD a lot. Same with Clive Barker's IMAJICA and Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE. I've also made my way through MacDonald's Travis McGee books and the other MacDonald's Lew Archer series several times.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have reread the Nick Adams stories several times. You can learn a lot about writing from them and I also love the setting. Yes, I have reread several Christies as I was a child when I first read many. You can never get enough McGee and Archer. Love those evil California families especially.

Al Tucher said...

Mine is a nonfiction choice: A Long Desire, by Evan S. Connell. It's about obsessed seekers and striver throughout history, and the writing is so good that it doesn't register as writing at all.

Deb said...

The books I first read in adolescence I have returned to again and again throughout my adult life: Gone With The Wind ( although it's racism now makes me cringe), Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Anya Seton's Katherine (historical fiction about Katherine Swynfird who was mistress, later wife, of John of Gaunt, Duke of Labcaster; she was also Chaucer's sister-in-law). I come back to these books again and again--pure comfort reading. As an adult, I must confess I rarely read any book, no matter how good, more than once.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Reserved A LONG DESIRE from a library in the UP in Michigan. Really great service Michigan libraries have. If they have it in any library in the state, they get it for you.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Pride and Prejudice would be second on my list, Jane Eyre, third. Great Gatsby, fourth.

Deb said...

Katherine Swynford...Duke of Lancaster

Have I mentioned before that the letters are too close together on the I-phone keypad?

James Reasoner said...

I'm not much on rereading, but like Walker I've read THE SUN ALSO RISES several times. Three or four, maybe. I've also read THE SAINT IN MIAMI at least three times (once this year so I could write an intro for it), and THE MAN OF BRONZE, the first Doc Savage novel, I read at least three times when I was in junior high and high school.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It takes me 3x as long to use that keypad.
I do not normally reread either. Too many new books to read. But some do comfort as do movies you love.

Anonymous said...

I don't reread much, but I can list ones I've read at least three times:

The Sun Also Rises
The Nick Adams Stories
The Hound of the Baskervilles

Others I've read twice:
David Copperfield
Great Expectations
The Stand (Stephen King)
Time and Again (Jack Finney)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

There are undoubtedly others I'm forgetting.

Yes, read Connell's A LONG DESIRE and THE WHITE LANTERN. Good stuff.


Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've read at least a couple of Travis McGees twice. Also AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and a couple of other Christies.

Patti, I got a stylus that is the only thing that makes typing on the Android keyboard possible for these ancient fingers.

Jeff M.

Keith Rawson said...

Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders, The Friends of Eddie Coyle by Higgins, and Where I'm Calling From by Carver are my big re-reads. Tomato Red by Woodrell is sneaking in there, too.

Charlieopera said...

The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Cogan's Trade (heard the movie blows) and The Digger's Game ... no contest.

Charles Gramlich said...

To Tame a Land by Louis L'Amour

James Reasoner said...

I was much more likely to reread books when I was younger and had more time. I forgot THE ROCKET'S SHADOW and THE LOST CITY by John Blaine (Hal Goodwin), the first two books in the Rick Brant series. Read them probably four or five times.

Ron Scheer said...

Rarely reread fiction. Thurber's "The Night the Ghost Got In" was always my choice for family read-ins at Christmas. Nonfiction: Pema Chodron's WHEN THINGS FALL APART because it helps keep me sane and is never the same book twice.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have reread THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe several times.
Oh, Carver I have reread many times. I was forgetting ss collections basically. I reread Dubus, Carver, Munro, Moore etc all the time. But for individual stories more than the whole.
Books where the plot is the thing I am less likely to reread than where the character, setting or writing is the thing.
And yes, I too reread more when I was a stay at home Mom and read 4 books a week.

Paul D Brazill said...

'The Picture Of Dorian Grey', 'The Talented Mr Ripley''Switch' and 'The Stranger' a few times.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Just saw the play of Dorian Gray.
I have read Ripley at least twice. And most of her other books at least once. She is the best at creating dread.

George said...

I do very little rereading (so many books...so little time!) but I have read Michael Moorcock's fantasy novels three times. All of them.

Walker Martin said...

Reading the above interesting comments reminds me that I also love the Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels which I have read 3 or 4 times. I'm also a big fan of Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard. Often, I enjoy rereading great books even more the second or third time. There is nothing like returning to read a favorite old friend.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Patti, I think I've re-read GOODBYE, COLUMBUS the most, as well. Tied with that are THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and THE MASTER AND MARGARITA.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Phil is a big Ballard fan. Archer is just such a great character and his cases always complex and sinister.
CATCHER, probably at least three times. And FRANNY AND ZOOEY. What a shame he stopped writing so early.

Dan_Luft said...

Treasure Island by a huge margin. I was in love with it as a kid.

As an adult I don't reread much at all. I've found myself reading Master and Margarita for a third time (almost by accident) when my wife wrote a paper about it.

Boys On The Bus by Timothy Crouse. It's now a period piece but it's a period when journalists took chances. I can still get high on it.

Moby Dick. I've only read it straight through once but it was a book I would pick off the shelf and easily down 70 pages. I did that several times a year for about a decade.

Anonymous said...

George and I both know people who have read Rex Stout's entire Nero Wolfe series over and over again.

Jeff M.

Jerry House said...

As a kid, I'd read the Hardy Boy series over and over. As an older kid, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. As an adult, the Alice books.

Anonymous said...

Richard Hallas/Eric Knight's You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up has to be the book I've read more than any other. Probably read it five or six times straight through, with countless dips back in to read a few choice scenes.

That book, an 1937 noir novel of Hollywood, is uneven but unforgettable. Contains some of the most moving, if hardboiled, prose about love and loss I've ever found.

John Hocking

Randy Johnson said...

1984, The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hope the movie is good. Loved THE HOBBIT.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hi John-How are you? Not familiar with these. Will look into it. Still reeling about Joe Boland. What a shame.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I read and reread Nancy Drew as a girl. Loved those books.

Anonymous said...

YOU PLAY THE BLACK AND THE RED COMES UP was reprinted in hardback by Gregg Press in 1980, when I read it, and in paperback by Black Lizard in 1986, so copies should be available. I know you likw James M. Cain and you should like this.

Jeff

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I have heard of that one before. Will look into it.

Anonymous said...

You Play the Black & the Red Comes Up is going to be reprinted this June as a trade paperback. You can spot it on Amazon already.

The book shows the influence of James Cain, but I think it has considerably greater emotional resonance than Cain's work. It also shows the influence of Horace McCoy, Hammett and Hemingway. In some scenes the book seems to be mocking the American hardboiled style, in others it seems heartbreakingly sincere. An odd book to be sure, but one I would not be without.

Patti, yeah I still feel the loss of Joe pretty deeply. He was one of those rare people who always seemed to understand what you were saying, what you meant. I catch myself deciding to recommend books, movies, music to him still.

John Hocking

pattinase (abbott) said...

He used to post forgotten books with me on Friday. And then that slowed down. Megan told me last summer he was sick. I hoped she was wrong. Sorry, so sorry, she wasn't. The obit was so sad. His entire family died in the last few years. Cursed, I guess. What a sweet soul.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the last few years of Joe's life were a kind of nightmarish lesson in how you ought to live life while you have it and not take one damn thing you love for granted for even a moment. Because it all goes away. And poor Joe telescoped the latter half of a lifetime's woes into a bare handful of years.
I saw him the week before he passed though, and got him laughing pretty good. He never stopped being himself no matter what hit him. Hope I can live up to that example.

John

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I have lost count of the number of times I have read the 10 western novels by British writer Oliver Strange, based on Sudden the Texas outlaw. Strange never went to the US but wrote about the Wild West like he was born there.

Barry Ergang said...

Chandler's The Long Goodbye six times, his other novels except for Farewell, My Lovely twice; Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury three times. I know I've read Huckleberry Finn at least twice, possibly three times.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Considering how many crime fiction books I read, it is funny how rarely I read them twice. And I never have read SOUND AND THE FURY. I have only read about three Faulkners although love A LIGHT IN AUGUST and AS I LAY DYING.