November 29, 2004

What Novels Have You Read Twice?
— Ace

Seems to be the question of the day.

I know I've read a bunch of novels twice, but the only one that sticks in my head right now is Catch-22, which I've read five or six times.

I've read a lot of non "literary" novels several times, like most of Raymond Chandler's mysteries. Although Chandler is, I guess, considered halfway literary and respectable now, at least by discerning critics.

And The Hobbit. I've read that eight times. I don't know why there's all that fuss over the Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is tighter, quicker, funnier, more action-packed and generally more delightful in all ways than the lugubrious, plodding LOTR.

Posted by: Ace at 02:34 PM | Comments (67)
Post contains 123 words, total size 1 kb.

1 On Lord of the Rings... I can digest a Stephen King (and the like) novel in a few days, and that's fine. It's like eating a hamburger. Yummy, but simple.

Every few years I like to go through Rings, though, and savor the language. If King is hamburger, Tolkien is steak.

Posted by: GORDON at November 29, 2004 02:41 PM (Qhe85)

2 Tom Sawyer - over and over and over when I was a kid.

Posted by: BrendaK at November 29, 2004 02:48 PM (SA88q)

3 I like the 12 Horatio Hornblower books. They are historical novels about the naval wars between 1798 and 1815 between France and England. Extra benefit-France always loses.

I reread them every four years when we vacation at the seashore.

Posted by: Jake at November 29, 2004 02:49 PM (h4tU8)

4 The whole Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow series. LotR and the Hobbit. Some Robert Louis Stevenson books when I was a kid. 1984 and Brave New World (both because I read them on my own a few years before I had them as assigned reading in HS - not sure if that counts). Dune. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Probably a few more I can't remember.

Posted by: Russell Wardlow at November 29, 2004 02:52 PM (CcGTn)

5 Three words: Nancy Fucking Drew.

Posted by: sonofnixon at November 29, 2004 02:52 PM (Ibxm6)

6 Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

...also many other Burroughs novels and series. The whole heroic/chivalry thing that still helps guide my life to this day.

Posted by: RapidTransit at November 29, 2004 02:52 PM (huExq)

7 Ah yes... one of the more popular porn movies tailored especially for young female readers.

Posted by: Russell Wardlow at November 29, 2004 02:54 PM (CcGTn)

8 I've read most of Stephen King's novels twice or more. Same with Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker books.

In the non-novel category, R. F. Laird's The Boomer Bible is endlessly rereadable and quotable, and there's Stephen Potter's collected books of Upmanship.

There are tons of others, too, but those are the ones that come to mind first. Come to think of it, I probably reread one book I know I like for every two new books I try. Because after all, the devil you know is safer than the one you don't, and 90% of everything is crap...

Posted by: Guy T. at November 29, 2004 02:55 PM (Ia23K)

9 Oh, to borrow from the comments above, I second Dune, 1984, and Brave New World. Heart of Darkness is always good to reread too. Okay, I'll stop now, because otherwise I'll be adding a new post every few minutes all night long. Oh, wait, the Great Brain books, Roald Dahl in general, H.P. Lovecraft, Encyclopedia Brown

[the author has been dragged from the keyboard; please resume normal commenting]

Posted by: Guy T. at November 29, 2004 03:00 PM (Ia23K)

10 One more and I promise I'll shut up, but this is a really really good one: the various adventures of Harry Flashman.

I apologize for the clutter.

Posted by: Guy T. at November 29, 2004 03:02 PM (Ia23K)

11 Okay, Joshua Micah Herskovitz Prudhomme Ylang-ylang Bomilcar Marshall...what's this big news you're sitting on? Did Zucker buy your screenplay?

Posted by: See Dubya at November 29, 2004 03:03 PM (8gf2V)

12 Some books read multiple times:

"The Door Into Summer", Heinlein
"Starship Troopers", Heinlein
"The Atlantic Abomination", Brunner

Posted by: Leonardo Kokopeli at November 29, 2004 03:04 PM (4FZwM)

13 Moby Dick is probably my all-time favorite book. I would have run off to become a harpooneer in my youth had not the likes of Greenpeace effectively blocked that option for me. Thus I became their implacable adversary.

Incidentally, Catch-22 is lot better than the sequel, Closing Time. I usually read a book several times, but Closing Time was an exception.

In the pulp novel category I always liked Glen Cook's books. The guy has a very engaging style and voice in his writing.

Posted by: Alex at November 29, 2004 03:14 PM (PpBGs)

14 The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, LOTR, The Worm Ouroboros, Nine Coaches Waiting, Mildred Pierce, The Big Sleep, The Silence of the Lambs, and others--not counting books from childhood read many, many times.

Posted by: Sailor Kenshin at November 29, 2004 03:19 PM (qYZnB)

15 How about the entire 5 Harry Potter books each read aloud to each of my 3 boys.

And the Hobbit an LOTR to each of my older two, aloud.

Posted by: Jeff at November 29, 2004 03:22 PM (EZQaz)

16 I've read "Catcher in the Rye" 613 times.



Why are you looking at me?

Posted by: michael dennis at November 29, 2004 03:33 PM (AlGyn)

17 ummmm... you don't think you're the "real Ace," whereas I'm an imposter who stole your life, do you?

Posted by: ace at November 29, 2004 03:40 PM (5qmzg)

18 I've read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" several times, saw the movie, and lived it for a weekend. Damn lounge lizards...

Posted by: Master of None at November 29, 2004 03:49 PM (beWdv)

19 Hmmm. . . does the D&D Fiend Folio count as a novel?

Boy, do I feel left out. I read a novel once, and put it aside. I think the last novel I read more than once was The Killer Angels, and that was just to see how close the movie Gettysburg was to the book (answer: *identical*).

It's one thing to watch a movie over and over again-- stimulates different mental bits, plus it takes a lot less time to get to the same ending.

I do, however, re-read non-fiction books all the time (I dove back into John Keegan's Face of Battle this weekend, and I read the great Castles of Steel twice this summer).

You read non-fiction once, it's interesting; read it twice, and you retain what you've read, and think up new questions to ask other books.

God, am I boring or what?

Cheers,
Dave at Garfield Ridge

Posted by: Dave at Garfield Ridge at November 29, 2004 03:52 PM (mrpxK)

20 The two that I've probably re-read most often are Naked Lunch and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. I know, I know. I'm a freak.

Posted by: Sean M. at November 29, 2004 03:54 PM (F168B)

21 P.S. Since few people have read it, here are a few words about "The Atlantic Abomination" by John Brunner. Basically thousands of years ago an alien species ruled the earth. They enslaved humans by inflicting psychic pain... Flash forward, one of these aliens is brought back to life and proceeds to enslave the East Coast...

Posted by: Leonardo Kokopeli at November 29, 2004 03:57 PM (4FZwM)

22 Vanity Fair, Flashman, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels, and the practically-required-for-D&D LOTR. (Though I agree "The Hobbit" is far better constructed.)

Posted by: Kerry at November 29, 2004 04:02 PM (G8P9P)

23 Ace, You broke my heart! LOTR lugubrious?! Plodding?! Jeez, To each his own. The Hobbit is basically a children's book. Tolkien wrote it for Unwin on a lark; LOTR and The Silmarillion are crowning glories of English literature. I read each once a year and love them more each time. The Hobbit, well let's say I know the story line and that's enough for me...

Posted by: George L. Moneo at November 29, 2004 04:17 PM (TPrhD)

24 Kokopeli--

Are you sure that's a *fiction* novel?

Sounds just like something out of Scientology.

Which is true. All true. Swear to God. Uh, I mean, swear to Xenu.

Cheers,
Dave at Garfield Ridge

Posted by: Dave at Garfield Ridge at November 29, 2004 04:19 PM (mrpxK)

25 Well, I know this is a "male" blog, but I've reread all the Jane Austin Book ... about 4 or 5 times each. BUT, to show that I can hang - I have read many of the books mentioned here. My favorite Heinlein book is "Stranger in a Strange Land" -and "Ender's Game" is a must re-read (I've got it in the "at-ready" position.) Dune I loved, but none of the follow-up books lived up to the first (but, you know, you get hOOKED.) I think Ace is right, though, about the Hobbit ...best written. Now, I know I'm gonna ... torch myself here ...but the trilogy isn't written in a manor that ... favors a reader. All plot, nothing else.

Posted by: Carin at November 29, 2004 04:49 PM (oZ+SA)

26 WAIT, I want to add to my above post - that obviously there is "more" there ... it isn't just a novel with plot. But, there is very ... little character development. The language- yes. But, as far as characters that draw the reader in ... no. The Hobbit is far more engaging.

Posted by: Carin at November 29, 2004 04:51 PM (oZ+SA)

27 Sonofnixon - you are so full of shit. Come on. Name one novel.

Posted by: Carin at November 29, 2004 04:52 PM (oZ+SA)

28 Damn. I was called out of the literary closet.

Ok. On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Very depressing novel about the last survivors on earth after a nuclear holocaust. They know that nuclear winter is upon them but attempt to live their lives as normal as possible.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by: sonofnixon at November 29, 2004 04:59 PM (Ibxm6)

29 The Hobbit is basically a children's book.

Eh, many people categorize LOTR as children's literature, too. And a lot of children's literature is great literature, anyway.

Posted by: ace at November 29, 2004 04:59 PM (5qmzg)

30 I believe that many people are missing the big picture here. We have the LOTR trilogy on DVD now.

Hence, we never have to READ them again. I enjoyed the stories. Not the bizarre and endless attempts at poetry and song that cluttered the books, particularly the elven parts.

And soon The Hobbit will be on the silver screen......

Posted by: sonofnixon at November 29, 2004 05:03 PM (Ibxm6)

31 Would SonOfNixon include a book of Poetry by Bob Dylan as one his favorites?

Posted by: George L. Moneo at November 29, 2004 05:04 PM (TPrhD)

32 A tale of Two Cities; Moby Dick; The Last Full Measure

Posted by: J-Ho at November 29, 2004 05:09 PM (w7MgW)

33 Heh. No, George.

But that did make me laugh.

Posted by: sonofnixon at November 29, 2004 05:13 PM (Ibxm6)

34 Your Dylan post from the other day almost made me drop my pint when I read it. It was fucking funny!

Posted by: George L. Moneo at November 29, 2004 05:22 PM (TPrhD)

35 I've worn out my copies of "One Flew over the
Cuckoo's Nest" and "Sometimes a Great Notion"
Ken Kesey is the greatest American author in
the last fifty years.

Posted by: Richard Johnson at November 29, 2004 05:49 PM (5OWYh)

36 another by Joseph Heller, God Knows




funny, and sad, at the same time. loved it.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at November 29, 2004 05:51 PM (gDdDV)

37 Geez, only ONE person has mentioned STARSHIP TROOPERS? I'm losing faith in the testoterone level of this blog.

At least a couple more have mentioned Heinlein's work.

If you haven't read TROOPERS, shame on you. *wags finger* And it's NOTHING like that POS film of the same name.

Some other reread-worthy books...

Just about anything by Heinlein
Just about anything by Ray Bradbury
Just about anything by Roger Zelazny
LUCIFER'S HAMMER by Niven and Pournelle
THE LEGACY OF HEOROT by Niven, Pournelle, and Barnes

Lots of people think Niven and Pournelle's best collaboration was THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE but I have to disagree.

Okay, I am going to STOP because I've done an A-Z list of SF novels before...

Later,
bbeck

Posted by: bbeck at November 29, 2004 06:41 PM (qF8q3)

38 Tolkien's Hobbit/LOTR
Both Thomas Covenant Trilogies
W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War series
W.E.B. Griffin's The Corps series
Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series
Frank Herbert's Dune and next two only
Lowell Thomas' Raiders of the Deep
Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series
Orson Scott Card's Ender series

Posted by: Cowboy Blob at November 29, 2004 07:00 PM (KIm6a)

39 Stranger in a Strange Land/Friday (Heinlein)
Mote in God's Eye/The Gripping Hand (Niven & Pournelle)
Okay...a couple dozen other SF/Fantasy/War/Fiction, etc.

Posted by: Cowboy Blob at November 29, 2004 07:06 PM (KIm6a)

40 Lovecraft.

Oh, and Heinlein (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Glory Road come to mind), Dune, LOTR and Silmarillion (more than Hobbit)....actually, though, these were the ones in heavy rotation -- I've read all sorts of things twice or three times. (Around Junior High I was doing two "regular" novels per day -- or one Stranger in a Strange Land.)

Posted by: cthulhu at November 29, 2004 07:43 PM (u1NCU)

41 I have read the entire Dune Saga probably 25 times over the same number of years.

Usually in the summer I embark on my yearly reread of all things wonderful.

Dune thru Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert

The Bellgariad, The Mallerion, and everything else David Eddings has written.

Lord of the Rings

to name just a few...

Posted by: Jennifer at November 29, 2004 08:16 PM (TFMd3)

42 Personally, I find it increasingly hard to make another go at childhood faves LOTR or the Hobbit except when I'm pretty sick (and the Hobbit-porn versions Jackson filmed don't do it for me). But to this adult the Silmarillion stories are rather more interesting than either.

Don't read much other genre fiction, though, so YMMV.

Posted by: someone at November 29, 2004 08:39 PM (kMRF+)

43 I find that 80% of my reading is rereading old favorites.

Some of my favorite fiction rereads include:

Most anything by Gore Vidal or Graham Greene;

The Stars Look Down by A.J. Cronin;

Douglas Adams' Trilogy(?).

I could go on and on but the little voice says I am already boring you.

Best wishes

Posted by: Pigilito at November 30, 2004 12:11 AM (BVW7O)

44 Multiple reads: Virtually everything by Douglas Adams, Stephen King, and John D. McDonald.

SciFi: Dune, Snow Crash, I Robot, Double Star, The Puppet Masters

My favorite classics: Of Human Bondage, Emma, Vanity Fair, & The Sun Also Rises

A Wrinkle In Time, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (I have the entire 7-book set of the Narnia Chronicles but haven't had time to plow through the whole thing).

Only read the LOTR books once each - but I've seen the movies multiple times, if that helps restore my geekhood.

Posted by: Kimberly at November 30, 2004 03:18 AM (AFp7o)

45 I have to second the Hornblower series. I have read those books so many times since I was a teenager that I have lost count.

I have also re-read almost everything by Wilbur Smith, especially the older ones about the Courtney family.

Posted by: Steve L. at November 30, 2004 03:35 AM (hpZf2)

46 LOTR, Hobbit (haven't been able to make it through Simirilion (now that book is long and tedeious)), Brave New World, 1984, Animal Farm, All of the Chronicles of Narnia and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peritti.

Why is it that the best books were written in the first half of the 1900's? Most books (most, not all) written today are terrible. They lack the richness, plots and depth of characters that was more common then.

Posted by: BlueDevils at November 30, 2004 04:32 AM (V9inq)

47 I reread obsessively just because I read so fast no one keeps up. Web Griffin, Tom Clancy, Steven Hunter, Robert Heinlein, and Dale Brown just for fiction.

Posted by: SGT Dan at November 30, 2004 04:40 AM (qBHie)

48 LOTR plus The Silmarillion (not The Hobbit, strangely enough)

Dune

Starship Troopers

Enemy At the Gates

The Face of Battle

A Distant Mirror (Barbara Tuchman)

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels

National Lampoon's High School Yearbook

script of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posted by: Chris at November 30, 2004 04:48 AM (GT1+O)

49 D'oh! I can't believe I forgot Lovecraft. I re-read the stories all the time.

Thanks, Cthulhu (Oh Holy Deep One).

Cheers,
Dave at Garfield Ridge

Posted by: Dave at Garfield Ridge at November 30, 2004 05:09 AM (rV7Dk)

50 Hmm...
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series
Ender's Game
Edding's Belgariad...
and of course
Harry Potter.

Posted by: Kin at November 30, 2004 05:11 AM (MXgCT)

51 Lord! Outside of Hornblower the most commonly reread books I see ACERS reading are si-fi from the sixties. What does this say about this group? Are they a bunch of aging hippie neocons or kids trying to feel/sound hip? Where is Melville, Tolstoy or C.S. Lewis? MY most reread books are Anna Karenina, Paul Johnson's histories and especially all of Saint Paul.

Posted by: 72VIRGINS at November 30, 2004 05:33 AM (dhRpo)

52 Everything Douglas Adams has written. I'm surprised I didn't see his name show up more often on this list.

But mostly I spend my time reading the books I was assigned in High School but never read.

Posted by: Sobek at November 30, 2004 05:56 AM (XwlU1)

53 Cryptonomicon, Catch-22, Use of Weapons and Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks, Stallion Gate by Martin Cruz Smith. and for some reason I reread North Dallas Forty and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest a number of times as a teenager, along with LOTR and some other SF. The Once and Future King, anything by Roald Dahl or Tom Wolfe.

Flashman, Hornblower, Sharpe and other series are always a pleasure. Just got all the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brien, should be a gas, baby.

Posted by: Uncle Mikey at November 30, 2004 05:59 AM (kqBJN)

54 A fact-based novel: Joseph Wambaugh's "The Onion Field". I've read it at least five times. It's a powerful indictment of our criminal justice system. A must read for anyone who has sympathy for criminals.

Posted by: The Old Coot at November 30, 2004 06:09 AM (koWKi)

55 Stephen Kings 'Gunslinger' series, A.B Facey's "A Fortunate Life", Roald Dahl short stories ( "The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar" would be a great movie.)

Posted by: max power at November 30, 2004 06:38 AM (9+Sgq)

56 A movie which could in fact be called "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar." D'oh

Posted by: max power at November 30, 2004 07:03 AM (9+Sgq)

57 All JRR Tolkien (Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion, Farmer Giles, Smith of Wooten Major, Leaf by Niggle, etc. -- including volumes 1-12 of the History of Middle Earth. I'm not a geek.)

Most Frank Herbert (the original Dune chronicles -- but not that crap his son is putting out. Seriously, not a geek.)

Hitchhicker's Guide Trilogy+ (Trust me, no geekness.)

Niel Gaiman (Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens. Maybe a little bit geeky.)

Graphic novels -- The Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.

Fred Saberhagen (Empire of the East and the related Swords books, some of the Bezerker collections.)

Wheel of Time. As much harlequin novel as F/SF it may be, but a guilty pleasure nonetheless.

Steven King.

Hickman and Weis Death's Gate series.

Tom Clancy's early books.

For me if it's worth reading once, it's worth reading twice. Usually.

Posted by: Eric at November 30, 2004 07:12 AM (MJbn9)

58 Ouch, I forgot Iain M. Banks. He's a raving moonbat socialist pig, but I like his novels. The ones with the M. in the author's name. He's so deluded that he thinks The Culture could ever develop from socialism. *insert eye roll here*

Posted by: Eric at November 30, 2004 07:17 AM (MJbn9)

59 Confederacy of Dunces. Better the 15th time than the first.

Posted by: Pepper at November 30, 2004 07:29 AM (RonCI)

60 John Varley - The Gaea Trilogy
Larry Niven - Ringworld
Philip Jose Farmer - Riverworld "Trilogy"

Posted by: Bruce at November 30, 2004 08:06 AM (kepoE)

61 Jules Verne books kick ass...you all suck.

Posted by: Digger at November 30, 2004 11:33 AM (FYEx6)

62 I forgot about C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity

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