Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Which book you have reread the most?

Not surprisingly, according to a recent survey, the most reread book is - you guessed it - Harry Potter, at the top of the list.

The top ten reread books are, according to the survey:

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

6. 1984 by George Orwell

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

8. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Of these books, I've reread seven of them least three times. Of the remaining three, I've read 1984 once and hope never to read it again (glad I read it once, but that was enough). And Catch-22 is on my list to read again some day. But - I'm sure this is a shocker - I've never read The Da Vinci Code. Am I the only one left who hasn't?

I never really thought about books in terms of "re-readability" before. But there are certainly some that I reread on a fairly regular basis. Some because I want to refresh my memory before continuing in a series (which may well be one of reasons HP was #1 on the list), and some because I just love to return to the characters and world in which the book is set (Jane Austen's books fit this category).

I have often reread books by Laurie R. King, Laurell Hamilton, Madeleine L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones, Charles de Lint, Charles Dickens, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Douglas Adams, Eva Ibbotson, Jane Yolen, Barbara Kingsolver, and Anne Lamott - that list is just off the top of my head. As I was writing down the authors, I realized that one of the criteria I use for categorizing writers in the "my favorite writer" category is that they absolutely must write re-readable books!

What about you? Do you have books or authors that you regularly reread? Are you like the people in the study and know within the the first chapter or 50 pages, etc., if you will reread the book? I don't think I know for sure till I finish the book. What is it about these books that makes you want to take the time to reread them when there are so many other books out there that you haven't read?


  1. Do yourself a favor and NEVER read the DaVinci Code for a first time ;) lol...I never finished it because I just couldn't stand Brown's writing. I rarely don't finish a book, but it just didn't work for me. Worked for millions of others though, so maybe it's just me.

    Oddly enough, the book I've reread more than any other is The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. I've read that book three times...all 1000+ pages of it. I love that book and it's set here in New Orleans and I live about 10 minutes away from the house that it takes place in! Definitely not the best book I've ever read, but I love the atmosphere of it. I've read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe twice and will be reading that one for a third time this year....

    Aside from that, I've read the Hobbit twice, Interview with a Vampire twice, Bridge to Terabithia, LOTR, can't think of any more off the top of my head...not a big rereader here. There's always something new that I want to read!

  2. I've reread quite a few of my books and I can tell I'm reading myself to do just that once again, even though my tbr pile is higher than I ever thought I'd have!

    I think I reread them because I love the characters so much (but of course a good story to it all helps!) Every few years I just realize that I miss them and that I don't remember ALL of the story. Sure I remember the overall story, but the little things are gone. I've never been sorry when I reread favorites.. i find myself smiling and have the feeling of "being home again"..

    Some I've reread are : McCaffrey, Eddings, Weis and Hickman, Donaldson, Tolkien, Rowlings, and Brooks...and for a new one I will say that when the third book comes out I will reread the entire trilogy of Cornelia Funkes Inkheart.

  3. I am not a re-reader. It's such a rare event for me to re-read a book that on those occasions when I do so, it says something quite amazing about a book. There are many books I would like to re-read, and would be happy to re-read, but there isn't enough time in the world to read all the new books, so re-reading takes back seat.

  4. I'm with Chris - spare yourself The Da Vinci Code. I really disliked it. It's not only terribly written, but it's also predictable and full of clich├ęs. But yeah, I know many people loved it, so I'd better shut up now :P

    Like you, I used "re-readability" as a way to define my favourites. I have often re-read books by Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adam, and of course, the Harry Potter books.

    Normally I don't know right away if I will re-read a book or not. There are books I really enjoy but forget once I put them down, and there are others I find myself really missing and thinking of fondly as time passes.

  5. Chris - I should have definitely put Anne Rice on my list. I have reread almost all of her books, especially the Witching Hour and Interview! I stopped by her house when I visited New Orleans - very cool. I even got to pet her beautiful dog through the fence! And from your and Nymeth's comments, I think I will indeed give Da Vinci Code a pass. I doubt it could possibly stand up to all the hype - plus I've heard too much about it already.

    Nymeht - Yes, you expressed it perfectly! It's that feeling of "being home again" that is exactly why I reread many books.

    Heather - that is interesting! I'm curious to know, since you're such a discerning re-reader, which ones have passed muster and gone on to be re-read?

    And Nymeth - I should have also put Terry Pratchett in my reread pile - his books are always lots of fun to return to. And I know I will be re-reading Neil Gaiman, although not enough time has gone by for me to reread yet. One of these Halloweens I'd love to read Coraline to my kids and scare the pants off them, heh heh! And yes, it's funny how some books are very enjoyable reads but so forgettable afterwards. I guess that's another criterion for the favorite books list - those others don't make it because I've forgotten about them!

  6. I can't believe the Da Vinci Code made the list, aye!

    I like to re-read my romance novels over and over again (sick I know). I like to re-read James and the Giant Peach when I'm depressed. I've re-read Night by Eli Weisel, its so moving, must be read a second time.

    Actually come to think of it, if the book is good and I really enjoyed it, chances are high I'll re-read at some point. For example this non-fiction piece of Queen Victoria's daughters, I think I've read it like three times.

  7. Nope you're not alone. I've never read The Da Vinci Code either. I have a big beautiful illustrated version but I just can never get around to reading it!

    I only re-read books that I can no longer remember or if I'm reading a series and I need a refresher (like the Harry Potter books or the Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series)

  8. Virginia Gal - I love that you read James and the Giant Peach when you are depressed - what a great antidote! I am embarrassed to admit I've never read Night. I am a book wimp, you know that, and it looks like it might leave me in an anguished state for weeks. But if you reread it, maybe I should give it a chance? Which romance novels are your favorites that you read again and again?

    Ladytink - I'm with you - if it's too fresh in my mind, it's not much fun. It's best if I've forgotten a lot of the details, even if I still remember how it ends. It's the journey that is important! I even read mystery novels again - but usually I honestly don't remember who the killer is. How pathetic is that? I guess I could use the pitiful defense that I do read a lot of books. :-)

  9. I hardly do re-readings..I'm not sure why. But one things for sure..I've read Pride and Prejudice 3 times..and i think thats the only book i've read a couple of times.

    But authors like jane austen and edith wharton..by reading one of their work..it made me want to read another of their work.

    What do you think after reading Anna karenina? do you want to read more tolstoy's??

    PS. I agree that a good writer is good when their books actually motivates the reader to re-read it again...

    and do you remember the character of meg ryan in..i think it was you've got mail, her character had read pride and prejudice about 20 times...hmmm

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Webster! I think after reading Anna Karenina I did want to read more Tolstoy - but later. I needed a break after that! I think I reread Austen because it's fun to return to that ordered world with its fun dialog with all those undercurrents, etc. I like being there for a while! It's interesting that Pride and Prejudice is the only one that keeps you going back. Funny how that works, isn't it?


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