Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 76

Thread: Re-reading

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    14,269

    Re-reading

    I just purchased a new copy of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, my old one, bought second hand when I was in college several centuries ago (or so it seems) having fallen apart. This will more than likely lead to getting a whole new set to replace the old paperbacks, and re-reading them all in order. Again, since I've read them perhaps a dozen times to date.

    Which brings me to the topic at hand: Are you a re-reader? When you've found a book or series that you enjoy, do you read it over and over? Or is once enough?

    I know some folks think that re-reading is nuts. You already know what's going to happen. Frodo will always hesitate at the critical moment, no matter how many times I re-read The Lord of the Rings. (And that's quite a few times, I assure you.) But I always seem to get something new out of it, and really, I haven't read Hornblower in three or four years now.

    What about you?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    18,442
    It's been ages since I reread LotR, but when I was young I rationed myself to only reading it when I could get all three books at the library at the same time without reservations.
    There are very few books by Pratchett I don't reread again and again, including the juveniles (both the Johnny, the Tiffany and the Nomes books are quite rereadable).
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Birmingham AL
    Posts
    1,184
    I hate to tell you what I re-read....and it is not the Bible! (Sorry forgot to finish this post; cell phone rings etc....)

    P Josephus Agricola, Riverworld, Horselover Fats, all of the Valis stuff, (Still looking for the original Blade Runner published before the movie..)

    Richard McKenna's SciFi stories.....And Paul Linebarger's works as well..."Scanners Live in Vain" and other lite classics...

    Dale
    Last edited by vonmazur; 2010-Aug-01 at 03:04 AM. Reason: add

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,165
    I'm probably more likely to re-read than I am to re-watch a movie. But only if I love the story or really enjoy an author's "voice".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    WA state, USA - Seattle area
    Posts
    2,900
    I've read several of my favorite Sci Fi novels multiple times. I've practically memorized Haldeman's The Forever War. I look at re-reading favorite novels the same way I would listening to a favorite CD or favorite movie. I don't listen to/watch those a single time either...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    30,751
    People are always trying to get me to get rid of books, and I just don't fathom why you would do that. The reason I have so many books is that I love rereading them. In fact, I need to dig out my Ramona Quimby books in time to go see the movie.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    48,847
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Are you a re-reader?
    Yes, yes, and oh... yes.

    I probably read John Varley's Titan trilogy (all three books) at least once a year. Same for A Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I've actually worn out my copies of Varley's and have been thinking of spending the money on a nice set. There are various short story collections that I'll just grab and reread a story or two. There are various other full length books, particularly science fiction, but not only, that I'll reread every couple of years.

    One advantage for me, is that unlike a brand new book that I really get in to, I won't stay up all night (and not get any sleep) to read just "one more chapter, but then really, I need to get some sleep".
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    WA state, USA - Seattle area
    Posts
    2,900
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Yes, yes, and oh... yes.

    I probably read John Varley's Titan trilogy (all three books) at least once a year.
    Well now that you went and brought those up, I'll have to re-re-re-readthem myself after I finish my current novel.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,298
    Yes, I reread, but it depends so much on what I'm reading. I might read interesting non-fiction a number of times, especially since I might miss details in one or another reading.

    For fiction, I rarely read a story again soon even for authors I like a lot. I can remember one exception: Niven's original Ringworld. There were so many interesting things in that story I read it again a day or two after the first time (and this was decades ago, so the fact that I remember doing that indicates how rare that is for me).

    If I do reread books, I usually wait long enough to forget some details (years or decades). I usually don't read a book more than a couple of times, though there are a few authors where I've read almost everything they've written at least twice. There are only a few books that I know I've read several times (Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Heinlein is one, which I first read when I was nine). Then there are some authors I like quite a bit, yet I don't find their stories that interesting on rereading.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    13,498
    I think that re-reading is a habit we fall out of, rather than one we acquire. Simply looking at any child's book is enough to tell that!

    I sometimes do it, but not all that often. I think I've read 100 Years of Solitude more than once. Also, just in response to the OP, I don't think the fact that we know what's going to happen is really a deterrent at all. After all, most of us like watching movies about say JFK or Jesus, where we have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen at the end.
    As above, so below

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,130
    With my poor memory, rereading is definitely worthwhile. I must have read The Worm Ouroboros - my favorite book - at least eight times. Conan gets read a lot, too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,541
    I used to reread a fair lot of novels (The Lord of the Rings probably takes the prize), but it's long since last. I still sometimes reread short stories.

    Non-fiction books are a bit different - I rarely reread them in entirety, but often reread parts to refresh my memory on some particular subject. Frex, I reread the section on the battle of Konitz (aka Chojnice) in William Urban's The Teutonic Knights earlier this week, which I had forgotten pretty much completely until an acquaintance mentioned it in the weekend.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    17,392
    By an odd coincidence, I was thinking about my re-reading habits last night, while on a cataloguing run through our attic, during which time I turned up all the Hornblower novels, Have Spacesuit--Will Travel and The Worm Ouroboros.

    I seem to have at least three re-reading protocols:
    1) Sporadic urges to re-read various favourites: most recently, I dug The Godwhale out of its box because I'd mysteriously developed a strong urge to read it again, ten years on from the last time. I know the books this is likely to happen with, and can generally dig them out fairly easily from storage.
    2) Series re-reads when new books are issued: I got out the three previous Ringworld novels and read them before getting into Ringworld's Children, for instance. This stuff tends to sit on an "active authors" shelf somewhere.
    3) Long-term keeping of options open. I have an idea, for instance, that when I retire I'm going to sit down and re-read Patrick O'Brian's entire Aubrey-Maturin canon (twenty novels) back to back. So there are stacks of books in the attic that are being stock-piled against such vague intuitions of future need. This last category gets intermittently weeded, as I occasionally realize that I've drifted completely out of engagement with a particular author's work: Terry Pratchett and Iain M Banks are the most recent stacks to travel down to the charity shop on the corner, for instance.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2010-Jul-28 at 05:08 PM. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    30,751
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I sometimes do it, but not all that often. I think I've read 100 Years of Solitude more than once. Also, just in response to the OP, I don't think the fact that we know what's going to happen is really a deterrent at all. After all, most of us like watching movies about say JFK or Jesus, where we have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen at the end.
    And if the book is written well enough, which most of my re-read collection is, there are always details to discover. There is language to gloat over. There are characters to be explored a bit more. And honestly, it is in a lot of ways as true in nonfiction as it is in fiction.

    Not long ago, I was watching a TV miniseries called simply King. The story was just winding its way toward Memphis when the picture would pixellate and then skip to the end, the bit which tells you what company put it on DVD, and then to the menu. After realizing that wasn't going to change, I got up to see if I could do anything. It turned out the disc was cracked. "Oh, man!" I said. "Now I'll never know how it ends!"
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,809
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    People are always trying to get me to get rid of books, and I just don't fathom why you would do that. The reason I have so many books is that I love rereading them. In fact, I need to dig out my Ramona Quimby books in time to go see the movie.
    I have the Ramona books too, and some other Beverly Cleary books. I think of them as something to read for comfort. I re-read books all the time. I refer to many of them as my old friends.
    Last edited by LaurelHS; 2010-Dec-23 at 05:46 AM. Reason: typo.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    15,230
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    The Lord of the Rings.
    TLOTR was the first thing that came to mind when I saw your thread. The Silmarillion next. They were among the first books I read in English (for fun, not for school), and in several rounds of re-reading I discovered stuff I apparently missed the earlier times (or didn't understand, especially the Silmarillion).

    I've got many other books that I'll re-read, some classics, and some just plain dumb paperback SF thingies, nothing spectacular. Right now I'm going through my first actual paper copy of THGTTG. Taking my sweet time too, just a couple of pages until my eyes close for a few hours.
    ____________
    "Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side." -- Frank Zappa
    "Your right to hold an opinion is not being contested. Your expectation that it be taken seriously is." -- Jason Thompson
    "This is really very simple, but unfortunately it's very complicated." -- publius

    Moderator comments in this color | Get moderator attention using the lower left icon:
    Recommended reading: Forum Rules * Forum FAQs * Conspiracy Theory Advice * Alternate Theory Advocates Advice

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    3,841
    Trebuchet, Grant,
    I'm another Hornblower fan, and of Forester's other novels, but I've probably re-read, "The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower", by C.Northcoat Parkinson more than any other single Hornblower story. Parkinson's biography relates the stories in an entertaining way, expands on them through contemporary history and adds to them. See the story of Hornblower and Napoleon!

    Strangely, though I've tried O'Brian's books, thinking to enjoy a similar nautical tale, I've found them intensely irritating. Somehow the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin - a literary macguffin that parallels Forester's Hornblower and Brown - just doesn't ring true to me.
    Maybe I miss Hornblower's almost autistic attitude that, mistrusting even Brown's friendship in self-reliance, portrays best the splendid isolation of The Captain. He agonises about the respect of his peers and the hero-worship of his men, when he finds himself such an inadequate man, an attitude that seems modern and complex. Aubrey is a man of action who delights in his own accomplishments, maybe with reason but much less interestingly.

    John

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,201
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    ... I know some folks think that re-reading is nuts. You already know what's going to happen. ...
    Your friends are right.

    Books and movies are like beautiful pieces of music: you should only ever listen to them once.

    What's the use of listening to a Mozart opera twice? How often can Don Giovanni go to Hell before it get's really, really old?

    Or a Beatles tune. We know he wants to hold her hand. He repeated it enough the first time around, why listen to it again?

    Oh, no, wait. Uhh ...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    14,269
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    Trebuchet, Grant,
    I'm another Hornblower fan, and of Forester's other novels, but I've probably re-read, "The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower", by C.Northcoat Parkinson more than any other single Hornblower story. Parkinson's biography relates the stories in an entertaining way, expands on them through contemporary history and adds to them. See the story of Hornblower and Napoleon!

    Strangely, though I've tried O'Brian's books, thinking to enjoy a similar nautical tale, I've found them intensely irritating. Somehow the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin - a literary macguffin that parallels Forester's Hornblower and Brown - just doesn't ring true to me.
    Maybe I miss Hornblower's almost autistic attitude that, mistrusting even Brown's friendship in self-reliance, portrays best the splendid isolation of The Captain. He agonises about the respect of his peers and the hero-worship of his men, when he finds himself such an inadequate man, an attitude that seems modern and complex. Aubrey is a man of action who delights in his own accomplishments, maybe with reason but much less interestingly.

    John
    I'm about halfway through Mr. Midshipman now. Not reading steadily or I'd have finished it one sitting.

    I also have enjoyed, and re-read, Parkinson's Life and Times. Will probably do so again when I finish the series this time through. The story of Hornblower and Napoleon, however, is by Forester himself. It's published in a volume with another short story about Hornblower as a Lieutenant and the first couple of chapters of a novel which was uncompleted at the time of Forester's death.

    After picking up my first O'Brian I avidly read through the whole series. I've found that except for one or two volumes, it's not the greatest re-reading material.

    What's your favorite Hornblower? I'd have to vote for Hornblower and the Hotspur and Flying Colors, I think. Worst, Lord Hornblower. I refuse to re-read most of it when Bush is killed and Hornblower acts so foolishly.

    I've just realized nearly all my reading these days is, in fact, re-reading. I should do something about that, now that I'm retired and supposedly have more "time", whatever that is.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Depew, NY
    Posts
    11,747
    I re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance every year or so. The Man-Kzin War, The Forever War, Myth Adventures and Thieves World are other favorites.

    Solfe

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    30,751
    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance every year or so.
    Last I asked, that was my Aunt Susie's favourite.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Depew, NY
    Posts
    11,747
    I love the book so much my wife got it on CD for me. There is something off about hearing it... I still prefer to read it myself.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    30,751
    I miss a lot if I listen to books on tape. (Which is still what they're called to me!) My boyfriend, on the other hand, is dyslexic, so he pretty much exclusively listens to books as opposed to reading them.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    3,490
    I reread things all the time. Even if you already know what's going to happen, you can still appreciate the way that it's laid out, the vocabulary, and subtle details that you missed the first time around.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    11,057
    When I was at school, one of our set books was The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I remember thinking, Yay*! I've read this already, so I don't have to spend time on this!

    Then I thought, what they hey*, I'm going to read it again!

    So I did. And then I read it again a few years later. And again, and again. I must have read it about a dozen times. Not to mention listening to unabridged readings and various adaptations.

    I read Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars four times, and now I want to read it again.

    Other multiple reads include John Wyndham's Stowaway to Mars, Clarke's Earthlight (long ago), Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun, and Machiavelli's The Prince.

    *Updated language.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    11,057
    Quote Originally Posted by cjl View Post
    I reread things all the time. Even if you already know what's going to happen, you can still appreciate the way that it's laid out, the vocabulary, and subtle details that you missed the first time around.
    And, crucially, even if you know how the story is going to pan out, the protagonist generally doesn't.

    If his or her response to the events of a book are portrayed convincingly enough, there is plenty scope for enjoyment on a subsequent run-through.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    3,490
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    And, crucially, even if you know how the story is going to pan out, the protagonist generally doesn't.

    If his or her response to the events of a book are portrayed convincingly enough, there is plenty scope for enjoyment on a subsequent run-through.
    Very true.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    16,148
    I re-read my favorite books over and over again, and for some reason, every few years, I find myself coming back to The Egypt Game.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    601
    Growing up, I was a big fan of Louis L'Amour westerns. My brother and I had all his books, between us, and they got read over and over and over. Even thought I am not such a fan of his anymore, I will still read one occasionally.

    I still have most of the Travis McGee books by John McDonald, which get re-read every now and then.

    Not long ago, I found my self repeating a C.J. Cherryh series, and more recently, re-reading the Malazan Empire books.

    Truly, I could not even begin to list all the re-reads I have done, and will do.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    11,057
    I've just re-read the Sherlock Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia. It must be 26 or 27 years since I read it. Back then, I was very unfamiliar with detective fiction, and I couldn't quite understand why a King having a previous girlfriend would be a problem. Years later, I'd read a lot of Doyle's work (including his fantasy and historical fiction), and of course seen and heard tons of adaptations, so felt I "knew" Sherlock Holmes.

    Reading Scandal this morning, I was delighted by it - the amount of character-based drama and humour in such a short story! A pleasant contrast to reading 630-odd pages of Neil Gaiman's American Gods - not bad, but nowhere near interesting enough to justify such length.

Similar Threads

  1. What are you reading?
    By Gemini in forum Small Media at Large
    Replies: 4067
    Last Post: 2019-Jun-13, 04:54 PM
  2. What are you not reading?
    By Paul Beardsley in forum Small Media at Large
    Replies: 182
    Last Post: 2013-Sep-30, 06:36 PM
  3. What keeps you reading?
    By Paul Beardsley in forum Small Media at Large
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 2009-Jun-17, 02:49 PM
  4. Reading Age
    By Sticks in forum Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 2008-May-09, 03:59 PM
  5. Reading computer screen is easy than reading books
    By suntrack2 in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 2006-May-27, 12:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •