Thursday, 15 September 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Replay

Have you ever finished a book and loved it so much you went right back and started re-reading it again?

Oh yes I have (and those who have been following this blog for a while will already know that!) ... The first that come to mind is each of the Harry Potter books. Mind you, the first four of these I first made acquaintance with as audio books in Swedish; so it was immediate re-listening in Swedish first; and later reading them in English, and listening to the English audio versions (there are two: read by Jim Dale vs Stephen Fry). With the last three, I read them as books first as soon as they were published (in English), and then listened to the audio versions pretty much immediately afterwards. I have re-listened to the whole series several times over during the decade that has passed since I first listened to The Philosopher's Stone. This is because they are so full of amusing details, and also because the story develops from one book to another; so that one may be struck by different things each time, and the understanding of whole actually grows with rereading.

There are other books or series too that I have reread and relistened to several times over - The Chronicles of Narnia for one. But with those and a few other favourites that I first read a long time ago, I can no longer remember excactly how soon afterwards I made the first re-read. Then there are of course some books that I've started right over with for study purposes (like writing an essay).

Out of all the novels in my bookshelves, there is one that I have probably read more times than any other, and that is Three Men in a Boat by J.K. Jerome, first published in 1889. Although it was written more than 120 years ago, I find his observations and wit and humour timeless. My old Swedish paperback copy of it is from 1967, and I'm pretty sure I read it first time before our family's first trip to England/London in 1969 (ie when I was 13 going on 14). This because one of the most famous episodes in the book involes the maze at Hampton Court; which we visitied on that trip.

Anyway, I'm not sure how many times I've reread (or in later years listened to) that book since then, but I would not be surprised if it was at least once a year, which would make it about 40 reads (or more). And it still makes me laugh!


  1. when I was in my teens, I re-read all my books, over and over. now i have books I have read again, but most always a year between them. i have 2 books, i am thinking i have read 5 times each over the past 20 years, but never as many as 40 and I have not read one and then started it over immediately. but then i also only read in one language and I am sure hearing or reading in a second language would be really interesting.

  2. You continue to amaze me, I admire anyone who can speak more then one language. Learning another language is one of the hardest things to do I think. Were you raised with both languages, or did you learn English after you were an adult? No, I have never read a book again right away, but I have re-read books again later.

  3. We start early with English in Sweden. Even more so nowadays, with cable TV, and the internet. Back in my childhood we started in 4th grade at school (age 10). I guess I picked up a few words before that - we had American relatives visiting when I was 6. My mum sometimes read books in English and she encouraged me to do so as well, from around the age of 13 I think. We went on holiday trips to England in my teens, I also spent a month with an English family in Yorkshire when I was 16. I also had penfriends in England and the US from early on. Later I studied English at university. We get all English and American TV shows and movies in the original language with Swedish subtexts here. (Only some movies and programs for young children get dubbed.) Even people who do not actively use English much get to hear it daily.

  4. I never did this, I am lucky to get through it once, I guess it's a matter of time.

  5. Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of my husband's favorite books. Connie Willis, an American science fiction writer, has written a take on this book, it's called To Say Nothing of the Dog.

  6. I've read Tolstoy's War and Peace three times in three different translations. It was a truly awesome book. I always left a year or more between readings though.

    I'm ashamed to say I don't think I've never read Three Men in a Boat (though I've an odd feeling I may be wrong). Anyway I've just downloaded it to the Kindle so that should be remedied.


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