What books have you read the most times?

Yes, believe it or not in the book reading world there is a subgroup of us who actually read the same book multiple times - even (especially!) fiction. We’re not zealots, tirelessly peering over our favorite religious texts over and over, nor are we fools trying to figure out what it is that we just read - for me, I just enjoyed the journey through the authors world so much that I wanted to retake it.

I’m pretty bad about re-reading: Everything I own by Harry Turtledove (12 books), Dan Simmons (5 books), Donaldson’s Gap series, and Fred Pohl’s Heechee books (5 books) have been read multiple times.

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, Piers Paul Reid. As a kid of 8 I was a sucker for a good disaster or two and read and re-read Mr. Reid’s tale of the Uruguayan soccer players who’s plane crashed in the Andes mountains, leaving them stranded for 70+ days. If I didn’t read this one 5 times I didn’t read it once… and I’m being conservative on that number. The book finally broke into 4 sections, prompting my brother to throw it away, to much fighting and yelling on my part.

The Stand, Stephen King. A fine “what if” book, I also find it easy to enter Mr. King’s worlds’ (damned apostrophes!) and have read a lot of his books multiple times (It, Misery, Pet Semetary, Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot), but The Stand easily holds the record amongst his books for having been read at least twice for the unexpurgated version and 4 times for the edited (first) version.

Dune, Children of Dune, God: Emperor of Dune, Frank Herbert. My three fave Dune books, these have been read a total of 13 times.

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Yes, earlier in my life I was one of those. I went through 2 copies of this book, and the third is sitting on my shelf right now. I haven’t the slightest idea how many times I’ve read this book, but certain passages I’ve read at least 20 times (Francisco’s speech about money being a particular favorite for some reason).

non-fiction wise, it’s the same thing…

I’ve read selected works from Will and Ariel Durant’s Story of Civilization multiple times (The Reformation, The Age of Louis XIV Begins, The Age of Voltaire). J.M. Roberts’ History of the World (also known as Penguin History of the World) has been read… oh, God, I haven’t the slightest but the poor book is in tatters - and it’s a hardback!

Lately I’ve pored over Peter Boskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, an unflinching and hugely entertaining history of 1970’s American Cinema. I highly recommend it to all!

So, what books have you read multiple times?

Well, the edited version I only read about seven or eight times. The uncut version I have read at least 25 times, easy.

I read many books over and over, especially anthologies; however, The Stand holds the record for oft-read.

As for non-fiction, I’ve read And I Don’t Want to Live This Life, the story of Nancy Spungeon (murdered by her lover Sid Vicious), about five or six times, and I think it’s due for another read.

I’ve read Helter Skelter four or five times.

This is why my house is overflowing with books; I read them over and over and just can’t bear to part with them.


I gave all of the following multiple readings:

The Shining, Dune, The Catcher in the Rye, Jaws, Animal Farm, 1984, A Clockwork Orange, Planet of the Apes, Brave New World.

Such uplifting fare. :wink:

To Kill a Mockingbird: About once a year since I was 15, for a total of 23.

Of Mice and Men: Same as above, but since I was 17, for 21.

The original Foundation trilogy and Robot Novels; I read these every time a new book came out for the series, and the entire series four or five times since, total of 10-12 times. For those original 5.

Every Travis McGee novel three times. The first 20 Spenser novels three times; the more recent ones once or twice. And when I read them, I read them straight through from the first to the last one. The Spenser’s are interesting in that the continuing story lines make reading the series like reading a 5000 page book with a different case for each chapter.

The Ian Fleming Bond books (and the one Kingsley Amis), three times. The better John Gardner ones twice (about half of them).

Fox in Sox several hundred times. Every Dr. Seuss advanced book several dozen times.

I read Lord of the Rings at least once a year for 10-12 years, and I’m slowly re-reading it now (it’s my in-between book-what I read when I haven’t gotten to the library, or go out to lunch from work, etc).

I read The Forgotten Beast of Eld by Patricia McKillip whenever I want a great love story, and I pick up any handy Pratchett Discworld book whenever I need a laugh.

Several Charles DeLint books have to go on this list as well, let’s say Some Place to Be Flying and leave it at that.

Lest you think I only read fantasy, a children’s book The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear is also on the list, along with Catch-22 and Rakossy by the incomparable Cecelia Holland. I also re-read Wodehouse and Vonnegut and . . .

No wonder I never have time for new books!!

The Chronicals of Narnia, countless times.

The Stand, 4 times.

Redwall, 5 - 3 in the same summer

Martin the Warrior and Mossflower (sequels to Redwall), thrice each (same summer as the triple-Redwall)

The Handmaid’s Tale, at least 3, possibly 4.

If we include Graphic Novels, the Sandman series (most of it, anyway, I’m missing about 3 books) and The Watchmen about 3 or 4 times each, 6 or 7 for the earlier books in the Sandman)

The number of books I’ve read twice is…high.

(This isn’t even including things that I’ve read through multiple times because I need information from them, and I wanted to make sure I had it.)

There aren’t many books I’ve read more than once. I’ve read LOTS of books, but most of them I read, get, and shelve. (In case this colors my opinion, I have a Master’s in Lit.) There are several I’ve re-read:

Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. In undergrad I read it probably 20 times.

Straight, by Dick Francis. I read it three or four times. It is currently propping open my living-room window.

I have a younger brother and sister, who are 12 and 14 years younger than me, respectively. To them as infants, I read Nicholas the Bunny more times than I can count in binary, with my shoes off. “My name is Nicholas. I am a bunny. I live in a hollow tree.” And so on.

But the one book that I can read over and over and over with undiluted pleasure, is Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Hands-down the greatest adventure story ever. I read it at least once a year, and when I get my next tattoo (in 2010), it will be the face of Kon-Tiki. I bought a first edition of the book (sans dust jacket, alas), and frankly, as I lost my patience with the world of academe and eventually decided to leave it, this book became more and more important to me.

I’ve also given the Dune series multiple readings–I’ve read the first book eight times, the second one seven times, the third one six, etc.

I’ve read Roger Zelazny’s Amber novels three times, several of Vonnegut’s books four or five times, and The Communist Manifesto more times than I can remember (it’s short).

Oh, jackelope! I’m working on that right now! They haven’t gone out to sea yet; they’re still building the raft. But I’m motivated: the opening scene was so vivid, I have to keep going until the story gets caught up.

I missed my chance to read it when I was a kid. My parents had an old, broken-spine paperback with awesome cover art, but my mom threw it out, along with Tropic of Cancer and Catcher in the Rye with the “red hunting cap” cover art. At any rate, had I read it then, I’m fairly certain it would be on my “multiple times read” list. Which I am not even going to attempt.


I must be one of the worst re-readers in history! I read in the bathtub (one of the few times I actually get to myself to relax) - BUT - all bathtub books must be carefully screened, and all must be re-reads. Here’s my tub list:

  1. Anything by Robert Heinlein. He is my favorite author (though not the author of my favorite book) and anything he has written is familiar enough to be relaxing, which is the primary requirement for bathtub enjoyment. Special favorites include Time Enough For Love, Friday, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. Stranger in a Strange Land is good, too, but I just dropped my last copy in the drink and have to replace it before it can reenter the cycle.

  2. The Mists of Avalon . My favorite book of all time, hands down, no questions asked.

  3. Any Union/Alliance book by CJ Cherryh, but Cyteen is one of my favorites.

I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I have reread these books. I read them 3 to 4 times per year, minimum, every year, and most of them I have been reading like this since I was a preteen (I’m now in my late 20’s.)

All of this is mainly because I’m too chicken to take my library books into the bathtub - they might end up like SiaSL.

I read a lot of books multiple times.

The one I have read the mos times is the Lord of the Rings (speaking about the entire trilogy as one book). I am currently halfway through on my 12th reading of the trilogy. I have read it 9 times in Swedish, once in German and sofar 1.5 times in English.

‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys. For some reason I never cite it as my favourite book but I’ve read it about 5 times.

I’ve also read ‘The Vampire Lestat’ a couple of times. <insert anti-Rice groan here>

I’m not usually one for re-reading books, so I’m impressed anyway.


I’m having a hard time thinking of books I haven’t read more than once.

The Wizard of Oz - at least 20 times

The Chronicles of Narnia - 30

Les Miserables - 5

The Three Musketeers - 12

The Princess Bride - 20

The Lord of the Rings - 15

The Little House on the Prairie series - 20

The Last Unicorn - 18

I went through a weird little re-reading phase early in high school. For about 3 years, I read nothing but:

The entire Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy;
Last Chance to See… , also by Douglas Adams;
Sphere ;
Jurassic Park ;
The Andromeda Strain .

Two authors, nine books, and I read the damn things (in the above order) at LEAST thirteen times over, in a row. I stopped keeping track of my repeats after 13, and I was starting to finally branch out a little by then anyway. That really is abnormal, isn’t it?
Oh, and Thor Heyerdahl books are great. He communicates the whole sense of discovery and adventure better than anything else I’ve read. Aku-Aku is my favourite, but I’ve yet to read The Maldives Mystery or his later works, Easter Island: The Mystery Solved and The Pyramids of Tucume . I only really discovered Heyerdahl in the last year or so, but I can see myself re-reading them lots of times in the years to come.

Incidentally, Heyerdahl was hospitalisedover Easter in Italy, and is now very, very ill with a brain tumor and could, sadly, embark on his final journey any day now. It’s pretty depressing, but on the other hand, I think there are very few people who’ve lived lives as full as his has been.

Tiptoes into the room
Whispers in a barely audible voice
Harry Potter - All 4 books, 4 times each.

Tiptoes back out


I’ve read each of the following multiple times:
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Illuminatus! Trilogy
Snow Crash
Godel, Escher, Bach
A Wrinkle in Time

The Perilous Gard , by Elizabeth Marie Pope.

I first read it when I was 11. I had read it 30 times by age 14 (I wrote that on the inside of the cover). Who knows how many times I’ve read it now? I just read it again last week.

Douglas Adams is eminently re-readable. I’ve read and reread Dirk Gently, the Hitchhiker’s series, and Last Chance to See,which is a fabulous, fabulous, fabulous work of nonfiction about vanishing species, (w00t to Erroneous).

Almost everything by Heinlein, lots of times, natch. Starship Troopers is probably the one I’ve read most, 'cause it’s short, but still has a heck of a lot of meat to it. There are a few Heinlein books I’ve only read once, mostly the early stuff that’s hard to lay hands on (Orphans of the Sky, The Fifth Column, etc.), but now I have almost a complete collection, so I don’t have any excuses.

I think I’ve read City of Angels by Greg Bear twice, because when I read it, I had this total feeling of deja vu through the whole thing. My vague recollections hint that maybe it was serialized in an abridged form in OMNI, but research does not bear this out.

Dune, three times. But just the first one; for the rest, once was enough.

There’s some stuff I reread compulsively as a kid: the Wrinkle in Time series, and Jane Yolen’s Dragonsblood stuff, the Dragonriders of Pern (though I’d bailed by The Weyrs of Pern and still haven’t read that one).
Oh, and I had a book called Four Men Who Changed the Universe about Ptolemy, Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler, which I read over and over.

I have reread Burning Chrome, William Gibson’s first short story anthology, more times than I can count. It was the first Gibson I ever read. My mom picked it up on a bargain table for me, because it had a picture of a woman in a futuristic spacesuit on the cover (yet another cover from the “generic sci fi” bin that has nothing to do with the book). I still consider it his best work.

I play Amber, so I’ve slogged through the Corwin Chronicles three times, but the Merlin books only once.

I’m trying to think of some actual “literature” that I’ve reread, and failing. I guess if I’m in a “literature” mood, I want to read something that I haven’t read and should, whereas I consider rereading somewhat silly and indulgent, so I don’t reread heavy books.

Great idea for a thread!

When I was younger, the Little House On The Prairie and Pippi Longstocking series, both too many times to count.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, at least 10-12 times. Maybe more.

The Stand, both first version and uncut, probably five or six times each.

Dean Koontz’s Lightening, four or five times, Strangers and Watchers, two or three times each.

Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz, both five or six times.

To Kill A Mockingbird, at least five or six times.

Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, at least five times and his Night Over Water and A Place Called Freedom, three times.

Barbara Kingsolver’s Bean Trees and Pigs In Heaven series, twice.

I’ve read all the Kinsey Millhone books at least twice.

Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True, three times.

I’ve read lots of books twice. I have no qualms about reading something twice (or more) if I really enjoyed it.

You mean I’m supposed to count how many times I’ve read them? Odd. The nice thing about re-reading books is that once you’ve satisfied your craving for that particular author, you can set the book down with out finishing it because you know how it ends.
I have to re-read books to get my money’s worth out of them, because I read so fast I usually finish a novel in 2 days (average). They’d probably last longer if I had more self control, but I’m the type that gulps- I do not sip.

I’m only 20, so most of my VERY well read books are kids books, but here’s my list, with # of repeats estimated:

My Side Of The Mountain- won out of the 3rd grade teacher’s “treasure chest” for # of book reports and read at least 25 times and has since fallen into two pieces. I believe it started me on my back to basics, eotwawki kick that’s still going strong, except I’m running out of stories.

The Game- 15 times
Alas, Babylon- 10 times
Nerilka’s Story- 5 times
The White Dragon- 3-4
The Rainmaker- 5 times
Little House On The Prairie Series- No idea, but I literally wore the things apart- I had to buy replacements for most of them, so my boxed set no longer matches. Oh well.

All other John Grisham books (except The Street Lawyer, which I hate), all Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, Harry Potter, Bruce Coville, X-Wing Series (the only Star Wars books I like) and Pern books I have read at least twice.

Another favorite is Carla Emmory’s Cookbook, a massive 700+ page softcover book on back-to-the-land stuff, raising sheep, goats, children, making hay, butter, a house, everything. She’s a great writer- writes like she talks. I prefer the multi-coloured page edition from the '70s to the one you buy in the bookstores now. I don’t think I’ve read all of it, but I’ve read large portions of it many many times.

My last and weirdest one is this old textbook from the '40s that my grandmother gave me when I was little. It’s called “New Ways in the New World” and I must have read that thing 15 times, cover to cover before I was 8. I think I still have it. I remember being mostly interested in the Indians, and wanting furred boots like some of the women pictured.