I don’t feel like taking on anything super-heavy today, so let’s see if I can start some kind of meme. Name three fiction books you’ve read more than three times, and why.
The book I’ve read the most is the Bible, due to my Christian past. I lost count of how many times I read it through cover to cover, but it was at least 8, and of course that’s only the times I was counting how many times I read the whole thing. It’s pretty poor fiction, though, so maybe we shouldn’t count this one.
I also read The Chronicles of Narnia any number of times, even as an adult. As a Christian, I enjoyed Narnia a lot more than the Bible even, because Aslan in Narnia seemed so much more like the kind of loving God Jesus should have been. I didn’t really realize it until after I stopped believing the Bible, but in a way the Bible created the kind of hunger a childish fantasy could best satisfy, by promising so much on behalf of a God Who could deliver so little. I can’t read it any more, though, because now it just reminds me of how badly my faith let me down. Fortunately, I’ve also got some secular favorites as well.
One of my early favorites when I was a jr. high student was Robert Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky. It’s thoroughly dated, awkwardly sexist, and pretty clearly aimed at the 10-14 year old reader, but when I was a kid I really loved it. The plot was about a high school class in the far future, offering a survival course that involved surviving on an unknown planet for a week, as the final exam. Through an unexpected technology failure, the portal back home fails to materialize at the end of the week, and the kids suddenly find themselves marooned on an otherwise uninhabited planet. Their progress from isolated nomads to a rather impressive civilization made a first class tale.
I’m not sure what to pick for my third book. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy any number of times just for its sheer grandeur and epic sweep. The Piers Anthony Xanth series is good light reading, so I’ve been through the first dozen books at least three times each. I only recently started reading Discworld, so I’m up to about my third trip through that series and I’ll be able to add that to my list shortly.
Honorable mentions to some of my oldies-but-goodies: The Werewolf Principle by Clifford Simak (about a man who returns from a lost exploratory mission, completely unable to remember anything about his past, but when he starts transforming into different alien species, it’s kind of a clue…), Sherlock Holmes (yes I know, but re-reading them still evokes the enjoyment I originally felt when I first read them), and Moon of Three Rings by Andre Norton (which I read a second time immediately after the first just because the first time through I couldn’t figure out what the heck was even going on).
How about you guys? Anybody got any real favorite books they’ve read repeatedly? What was it about the book that made it worth reading again?