Re: Rereading

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.


4 thoughts on “Re: Rereading

  1. Some of these I have never read but I do recall when Disney came out with the film version of Robin Hood with foxes as Robin and Maid Marion. It’s a clever rendition for children.

    Here’s my BTT.

  2. This is great topic! Loved to read your favs as you grew up. The first book I was infatuated with was (and I still have it for my daughter) an old old copy of Sir Gawain and the Knights of the Round Table. I loved the stories and heroes and magic! Still do. In my pre-teens it was Flowers in the Attic. Probably too young for that one but that’s why it thrilled me. I didn’t “get literary” 🙂 til my mid-twenties and I first fell in love with Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone ( not so literary) I read it five times. It was the first time I realized there were writers out there, stories out there, that understood me. That parts of my life were being written and so beautifully. In college I discovered, yes me too, the raw reality and beauty of Hemingway (White Elephants stunned me too), Nadine Gordimer ( all her shorts as well as The Pickup), Aimee Bender, Lisa Shea’s Hula (read 3 times and it’s new every time I pick it up), Norman Mailer’s essays (God I love him). Recently I read and will re-read Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road–a Fabulous, quick adventure. I’ve read almost all of Alan Watts–in particular The Book (twice). I want to re-read Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall I INSIST that you read that beauty of a collection. One of the stories might be a movie soon. Oh I forgot! From my teens–treasure Island. I’ve returned to it three times, read it to my daughter twice. I’m on The Bell Jar for the second time, it really shook me in high school as I can relate to the mental illnesses, now that I’m older and understanding myself the book, reading it again, is mesmerizing and time-warping. Oh and one more fav I plan to read again–Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Sorry to ramble, I get excited about this stuff. :). I’m a nerd and I love it.
    Amy Jo

  3. Ha I had that same Robin Hood book when I was a kid and loved it too.

    The one book I’ve read the most times hands down would be Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’ve worn out several Ender’s Game books over the years and now have switched to a wear-proof ebook version on my phone. I haven’t figured out exactly why I like that story so much, maybe someday.

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