This week’s Booking Through Thursday:
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?
Maybe, subconsciously, early in our lives we’re all re-readers. We want the same story read to us over and over because we somehow know we can’t read the same river twice.
And I’m sure the first rereading I did was probably a children’s book or books and certainly comic books which I ravenously reread. As I think about this topic, images fill my mind of panels vaguely recalled of Disney’s version of Robin Hood (Robin and Maid Marian were foxes and the Prince was a fey lion) and in particular a story of Robin evading King Churl, a warthog. I liked Churl’s warthog minion, specifically because they carried crossbows and I have a fascination with crossbows even though I’ve never used one.
And I recall rereading Alan Dean Foster’s adaptation of Star Wars, because like so many in my generation, Star Wars was/is an obsession. (Foster’s byline was later usurped by George Lucas.)
As far as most reread: that honorific would probably not go to a specific book, but to Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants;” it’s the first “literary” story I loved and led me to my lifelong obsession with Hemingway.
Of his novels I would have to say I’ve read and reread The Sun Also Rises the most. And then I’ve completely abused Kenneth Lynn’s biography of Hemingway, trying, at first embarrassingly enough, to seek out clues about how to be a writer, how to live like a writer.
Another favorite reread — and sometimes it’s just passages I reread — is Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys. I reread a few passages last night when I got stuck in my own writing. Chabon can make a hangover and throwing up from too much drinking seem elegant and morally revealing.
Of course, again, I think the pleasure of rereading is rediscovering a book or story, and realizing it’s never the same old story.