Books, and the re-reading thereof

drmordo

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I'm a big scifi fan, so books I have reread more than once (some approaching half a dozen reads):

Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs series
Marko Kloos' Frontlines series
The Expanse series
The original six Dune books
Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth series (though these are problematic)

Non-scifi:

McDonald's Travis McGee books
Chandler's Marlowe books
Moby Dick
The Great Gatsby
The Sun Also Rises (I need to read this again!)

One writer I have not read for many years but need to crack open again is Shakespeare. "You know, Willie the Shake, neither a borrower or a lender be..." I read his sonnets somewhat frequently, but I really need to dig into his plays again. It's probly been almost 20 years - wow.
 

aging_rocker

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I'm thinking about re-reading some China Miéville books too, particularly 'The City and the City' and 'Perdido Street Station'

I kinda liked the tv adaption of 'The City...' too - I might need to re-watch that.

 

drmordo

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I'm thinking about re-reading some China Miéville books too, particularly 'The City and the City' and 'Perdido Street Station'

I kinda liked the tv adaption of 'The City...' too - I might need to re-watch that.


I need to read those! I really enjoyed The City and the City series even though it was so weird. It had an almost David Lynch vibe.
 

teletimetx

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The Great British Recording Studios by Howard Massey, George Martin's All You Need is Ears, and The Art and Science of Recording by Alan Parsons are all fun reads for those into home recording.

Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is a terrific look at how the Boomers took over Hollywood in the mid-to-late '60s, and thanks to their coke-fueled excesses, how the studio moguls eventually captured it back a decade later.

Hadn't seen the Massey book - thanks for the heads up.

On Biskind's book - are you sure that the people being profiled in the book are actually Boomers? It was my impression that most of them were actually older - born in the 30's and early 40's - maybe I'm wrong about that. For example, Warren Beatty was born in 1937; Peter Fonda - 1940; etc.
 

brupop

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As already mentioned, Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series and Herman Melville.
Along with them at the top of my re-read list are Joseph Conrad's works.
Yes, I like nautical novels.
 

mycroftxxx

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Did a complete reread of Chandler’s novels recently. All are very good (even Playback, usually considered the weakest of the seven), but The Long Goodbye…one of the best novels of the 20th century. Written while Chandler‘s wife was dying, and the anguish he must have felt got channeled into prose that will live forever.

Others I reread regularly, first fiction:
Have Space-Suit, Will Travel; Citizen of the Galaxy; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - all from Robert A. Heinlein. Oh, and The Puppet Masters. These have all held up well I think over the years; many of his others unfortunately haven’t IMHO.

The End of Eternity; The Gods Themselves; I, Robot; Nightfall and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov; the first one is his best novel bar none, IMHO.

Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens.

The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, Tolkien (love The Hobbit too but I haven’t read it since I read it out loud with my youngest, too long ago).

Cryptonomicon; Anathem; Reamde - Neal Stephenson; these, especially Anathem, are far and away my favorites of his work, and I think Anathem is one of the best books of the century so far.

The Travis McGee series, John D. MacDonald - some, especially the earliest few and the last one, don’t hold up too well, but starting from A Deadly Shade of Gold, pretty much through The Empty Copper Sea, they’re very good. And Cinnamon Skin too. None of them suck, but the ones I highlighted are top notch and stick with you.

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller; another contender for the best book of the 20th century.

The Master and Margarita, Heart of a Dog - Mikhail Bulgakov; the former is very well-known but the latter is maybe the bitterest satire I’ve ever read - makes Catch-22’s satire seem mild.

The Mote in God’s Eye; Footfall - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Nonfiction (I don’t reread nonfiction as much as fiction but there are a few):
The Right Stuff; Hooking Up; Radical Chic; Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers; and just about everything else from the late and very lamented Tom Wolfe. The Right Stuff may be the finest nonfiction book of the 20th century.

The Blank Slate - Steven Pinker; this one may be the finest nonfiction book of the 21st century so far.

Inviting Disaster - James R. Chiles; a terrific and accurate look inside various engineering disasters - and some that were avoided - with an eye toward how the human-machine systems interact and how we can improve how things work on the “machine frontier”. Some are well-known accidents like Chernobyl and the Challenger, others not so well-known like the sinking of the Ocean Ranger drilling platform and the R101 airship disaster. Fascinating.

Aircraft Dynamics and Automatic Control - Duane McRuer, Irv Ashkenas, Dunstan Graham; seldom a week goes by that I don’t consult this, without question the most comprehensive and influential book on the topics of its title. Universally known in my field as “the Green Book” because the first edition was a dark green hardback, and it was immediately incredibly influential as soon as it came out in the early ’70s. Was out of print for several years but has returned. If you design aircraft closed-loop control systems (e.g., fly-by-wire), you keep this one under your pillow at night.
 

kiwi blue

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I used to read all the time in my youth. As a result I ended up working as an editor (of legislation) and as a result of that, I read all day for a living and it is now the last thing I feel like doing when I finish work.

The one book I've reread the most is Norman Lewis's Voices of the Old Sea. I never get tired of it. On the surface it's travel writing, but it's a semi-fictional rearrangement of reality, where ancient pre-Christian traditions and beliefs collide with post-WW2 modernity in Spain.

Peter Matthiessen's Snow Leopard is another I can happily reread.

Anything with any kind of truth to it can be reread many times.
 

Ed Driscoll

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Hadn't seen the Massey book - thanks for the heads up.

On Biskind's book - are you sure that the people being profiled in the book are actually Boomers? It was my impression that most of them were actually older - born in the 30's and early 40's - maybe I'm wrong about that. For example, Warren Beatty was born in 1937; Peter Fonda - 1940; etc.
It's a fair cop -- written in haste, repented in leisure. ;)
 
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AAT65

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Tons! Almost all the novels I've read deserve to be read again.
Some of the main ones I can think of off the top of my head...
Tolkien - I used to read The Lord Of The Rings every year, now probably once every 5 years. I've read The Silmarillion several times
Moby Dick - again it used to be an annual event, but it still gets reread every so often
Dickens - all the main novels, especially Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, A Tale Of Two Cities... If he'd finished it I'd reread Edwin Drood!
Dorothy L Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novels. I don't really like detective stories but these have so much more (especially once you get to the great trio of The Nine Tailors, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night)
Anything by EM Forster, John le Carré, Kazuo Ishiguro, Annie Proulx
 

JohnnyThul

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I seldom reread books, but I tend to forget the plot - even of books that impressed me - quite easily.
So, once in a while I just reread maybe a chapter of one of those books and then all comes back to my memory. Pretty cool, how the brain works!

There is only one book I really love and reread every year: John Williams - Stoner
 
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drewg

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View attachment 983863

Just kidding…maybe.

I have read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” dozens of times.
“The Godfather” is another multi-read book.

As for non-fiction, I have read Waylon Jennings’s autobiography several times (to be fair, I was recovering from a surgery and on painkillers), and Robert Massey’s “Nicholas and Alexandra”
I loved The Pokey Little Puppy as a kid. And how can I have forgotten Mockingbird???
 

jimmywrangles

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Re-reading books is one of those topics that polarizes opinion. I, for one, can happily read every word of a familiar book, if those words are well enough crafted. For those of you who have no issue with repeat visits to particular books, what are they? (Note: if you think reading the same book twice is a bad idea, why are you here? Go away.)

Off the top of my head, here are some books I have returned to, and may return to again:

Fiction:
Anything Written By Douglas Adams
The Man With the Golden Arm (Nelson Algren)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon)
Little Big Man (Thomas Berger)


Non-Fiction:
Cahokia (Timothy Pauketat)
Batavia’s Graveyard (Mike Dash)
Fatal Passage (Ken McGoogan)
Dead Silence (J. Geiger, O. Beattie)

There are more, but that’s what springs to mind.

What ya got?
I've read Thomas Berger's little big man so many times the book is falling to pieces.
Terry Pratchett Is infinitly re-readable, the guy was a literary genius and funny as anything and gets my vote for best author of all time.
Anything with a warship on the cover I'll read over and over again.
 

Kandinskyesque

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The BBC adaptation is also worth a watch and rewatch, not a patch on the book but that's why they call them adaptations I suppose.
It's strange seeing that book mentioned less than 24 hours after sitting in a friends house having a coffee in that very street.
 

Spox

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I got into audiobooks over the last couple of years, not listening to them at home but whilst out walking with ipod. Current ipod had things like All Quiet On The Western Front, Alien, Consider Phlebas, Cats Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut) amongst others. I enjoyed all of them but I run through my ipods alphabetically by song title and it is now at the letter T and has gone onto Track 1 which is side one of any vinyl I've recorded onto it. It's currently at Track 4 and there are four or five audiobooks I borrowed from the library, Joseph Wambaugh, Mario Puzo, Cormac McCarthy and for some reason instead of playing the books it's running from a chapter of one book into a chapter of the next book then sides of vinyl and random tracks from cds then the next chapter of the books then more music. I'm currently at chapter four, I decided to just let it run its course in a Burroughs cut up tape style.

On the subject of lending, do you expect to get your books back? I had an ex gf get quite angry when I asked for some books back, this wasn't an angry end of relationship handing over of stuff, we were still an item and she was dismissively angry when I asked for some quite rare books back. I mentioned this to my next partner and she was of the opinion that when you lend a book to someone you have given it away and to ask for it back is poor form, I don't understand this mindset. I have another friend who I lend books to and when they come back they are worth about 5% of what they were when I gave them to him. He takes them to work with him and they lie in his bag for months and in some cases come back covered in mould and dirt etc, I was quite surprised when I got back a rare book of jazz photography like this from him, it looked as if he had found in lying in the street.
 

Spox

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The BBC adaptation is also worth a watch and rewatch, not a patch on the book but that's why they call them adaptations I suppose.
It's strange seeing that book mentioned less than 24 hours after sitting in a friends house having a coffee in that very street.
I have an autographed copy which I bought in a second hand store (in the West End) without knowing it was signed.

I also think I have it on tape, I think the BBC serialised it on radio about twenty five years ago, I may be getting mixed up with The Wasp Factory.
 




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