November 30, 2004

A Book Meme? Are You Kidding Me?

Steve-O picked up on Hugh Hewitt's meme earlier today about which modern novels people read more than once. Steve's post is such a classic in and of itself that I'm just going to leave it alone and answer here.

I have a very bad habit of reading certain books over and over again. Yes, I'm well aware of how much time this takes away from new materials. But I've always felt that good literature, like good music, is something to be experienced repeatedly. And the mark of really good literature is that one comes away from it each time with something different.

Given that, here's a brief list of modern authors and/or novels that I have read more that twice, most of them many, many times:

P.G. Wodehouse - Too many books to list individually.

J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit, LOTR and The Silmarillion. Are you surprised?

Evelyn Waugh - I read the Sword of Honor trilogy about three times a year, and many of his other novels as well.

Robert Graves - I dunno whether he counts as a modern novelist, but I've always enjoyed his historical fiction, not only the Claudius books, but his retellings of the stories of Belasarius, Jason and the Argonauts and Odysseus. And of course, although it's autobiographical, I reread Goodbye To All That all the time.

Patrick O'Brian - The Aubrey/Maturin novels up as far as The Wine Dark Sea.

Michael Shaara - The Killer Angels.

Derek Robinson - Piece of Cake. The story of a Hurricane squadron at the outself of WWII.

Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the first three books of the Hitchhiker's trilogy.

E.E. Somerville and Martin Ross - The Irish R.M. Okay, it's a set of short stories, not a novel. But they go together as a cycle. In any case, I never ever get tired of them.

I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting, but this is a good representational sample.

Posted by Robert at November 30, 2004 01:44 PM

I don't like the library for some reason and prefer to own books. Since I don't have a lot of money I've read everything on my bookshelves at least twice and quite a few more than twice, about 500 titles.

Posted by: Brass at November 30, 2004 01:53 PM

The Confederacy of Dunces by William Kennedy Toole -- which people either love or hate.

Heinlein's Glory Road.

Fitzgerald. Tender is the Night, and Gatsby.

Hemingway's Sun Also Rises also is on my list.

Tolkein, primarily the Silmarillion, though The Hobbit and LOTR get reread, too.

And like every other blogger, I have my own 100,000 words of self-pitying autobiographical junk that will likely (thankfully) never see the light of day. I reread it every three years, add a few thousand words, and weep.

Posted by: DWC at November 30, 2004 05:28 PM

Agree on Tolkien (natch), as well as Shaara. Bradbury ranks up there for me too, although more his short stuff than the novels. "Armour" by John Steakly.

Posted by: Brian B at November 30, 2004 06:08 PM

Love the Drones. To bad he has gone.

Posted by: Rod Stanton at December 1, 2004 04:56 PM
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