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Old 07-27-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
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Which Book Have You Read/Re-Read All Your Life?

I'm curious to see if anyone else has that one specific special book that they keep going back to re-read -- and never tire of or replace.

I'll share mine: The Annotated Sherlock Holmes set edited by W. S. Baring-Gould - a monstrous 2 volume set in a green slip-case.

http://www.amazon.com/ANNOTATED-SHER...8703201&sr=1-3

Now long out of print, I still have the original set I began reading in the 70's. I received this set as a gift when I was in college, living in tiny apartments on a tiny income - so I couldn't afford to buy - or have room to store - a lot of books. I used to start at the beginning, read straight through, and then start again. This set has the marvelous Paget drawings from the Strand Magazine publications and marvelous annotations (by folk dedicated to proving that Holmes & Watson were real people with real lives).

I recently purchased the new edition of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes - a 3 volume set edited by Leslie S. Klinger, but it just wasn't the same reading experience.

http://www.amazon.com/New-Annotated-...8703295&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/New-Annotated-...8703295&sr=1-1


My most memorable reading anecdote connected with the Baring-Gould volumes included the participation of my pet mouse. At the time, I had a black mouse (rescued from a lab facility) named Eldon who lived on my kitchen table (didn't have a desk). I used to read while I ate, and Eldon had the run of the table and used to share my meals (visualize a tiny black mouse perched on the edge of a soup bowl full of chicken noodle soup eating one noodle like a strand of spahgetti). One night I closed the volume and heard shrill squeeking! You guessed it! Eldon had been reading too (or at least sitting on the open page - kind of like Desperaux if you've seen the movie) and was now an unhappy bookmark! Fortunately both the book and Eldon survived.

So give - what book have you lugged around and read over a lifetime of reading?

Last edited by poohbear_nc; 07-27-2009 at 11:03 AM. Reason: fixed links
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:55 AM   #2
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Actually, I just finishing re-re-re-reading my favorite scifi book, the one that introduced me to scifi at about age 10 or 11. It is Nova by Samuel R. Delaney. I've been a big fan of his ever since. I probably read this book 20 times, would finish and start right back at the beginning. Then I lost it, meaning my mom tossed it or something, and just recently found it again. It happened to be a long car weekend - Bham to Chicago and back - so I pulled it out of the TBR list. OMG!!!! It is even more amazing than I remember! You guys have got to read it, and keep in mind that it 40 yrs old, and Delaney was able to imagine technology and physics that are future tech today!

http://www.amazon.com/Nova-Samuel-R-...8702434&sr=1-6
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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I know which ones you meant. I bought them too and I haven't read them yet, but I had to have them.

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayspooled View Post
Those 2 links to the new annotated Sherlock Holmes aren't working, but I know which ones you meant. I bought them too and I haven't read them yet, but I had to have them.
Thanks - think I've got the links working now!
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:18 AM   #5
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Actually, I've got several books. They do have the author in common though.

* Kruistocht in spijkerbroek (Crusade in Jeans, original book from 1973, movie in 2006)
* Geef me de ruimte! (1976), Triomf van de verschroeide aarde (1977) and Het rad van fortuin (1978) - (Give me space!, Triumph of the scorched earth and The Wheel of fortune, about the 100-year war between France and England)
* Hasse Simonsdochter (1983) - about the wife of Jan van Schaffelaar
* Kinderen van Moeder Aarde (1985), Het helse paradijs (1987) and Het Gulden Vlies van Thule (1989) - Children of Mother Earth, The hellish paradise and The golden Fleece of Thule, a series taking place 10 centuries in the future, after several nuclear devices in WWIII have tilted the axis of the earth, making Greenland (Thule) truly a green land.

All titles are by Thea Beckman, one of the Netherland's best children and young adult books writer (or at least I think so!)
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:20 AM   #6
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Another Sherlock Holmes fan here Sentimental reasons, my dad used to read them to me. My other childhood favourite which I keep re-reading is Alice in Wonderland, I still have the illustrated version my grandmother gave me.

Two non-kid books which hold a special place for me are Wuthering Heights (the first 'classic' I ever really enjoyed) and The Chrysalids (first sci-fi I ever enjoyed). I have read both of them multiple times.

Also, I am not sure this is a 'favourite' but I had to read Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women about 4 times in university. They like to pick a Canadian book for the first year course for the people who won't take English again, and then it came up again in Canadian Literature, Post-Colonial Literature and Women in Literature. It was a fine book, but I am not sure I would choose it four times if I didn't have to

The funny thing is, every lit major I have ever known had a book like this. My dad swears he had to read Great Expectations about 6 times.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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"The funny thing is, every lit major I have ever known had a book like this. My dad swears he had to read Great Expectations about 6 times."

Too true! During my college career I had to read Moby Dick 6 times! Still have my very-underlined paperback!
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:35 PM   #9
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My degree was in lit, so I read a lot of Shakespeare again and again, always the same bundle of "major" plays. But the one that sticks in my head is The Wasteland. Started out as my least favorite poem, but by graduation, it was my most favorite. It ended up being part of almost every semester, not merely every year, and occasionally more than 1 class per semester. I practically memorized it!

Actually, it worked out well for me that it was used so often. I could basically make it fit into whatever paper I happened to be writing, so that I could often just cut-n-paste my own words of wisdom and commentary on this poem! (Ssssh, don't tell the teachers!)

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Old 07-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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I have the Barring-Gould edition, as well! What i like about it is that it presents the "Canon" in the most generally accepted order in which the stories took place, with loads of info on how the order was arrived at.

The books I re-read the most are The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein) and the Pern novels (McCaffrey).
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:03 PM   #11
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My most re-read books are Sherlock Holmes and LOTR. I re-read both probably about once a year on average.
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:11 PM   #12
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If I had to point to one text that I read the most (aside from the Oxford English Dictionary) it would likely be Shakespeare's Hamlet, followed by his other plays. Most fiction is a read-once proposition to me.
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:12 PM   #13
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Stranger in a Strange Land is probably my all-time favorite book. I read it at least once a year, and every time I get something a little different from it...it's at the point where I've practically got the damn thing memorized, but it's so wonderful to immerse myself in it all over again...
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:50 PM   #14
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OK, I just finished Nova, and will now re-read Stranger in a Strange Land. You guys flung a craving on me!
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:43 PM   #15
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The one book that I seem to return to every few years is If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. I think I'm on either my fourth or fifth copy of it because I always loan it out and never get it back.
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