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What Are Your Favorite Books To Reread? / How Many Times? / Why?

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Fading Fast, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Well, East of Eden was supposed to be inspired by the book of Genesis. Was A River Runs Through It also modeled on that, I wonder?
  2. I never read the book that "A River..." was based on - but your comment is smart. I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
  3. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon One of the Regulars

    Conrad, particularly his early and middle period, not his later novels which in his opinion were ‘second-hand Conrad’. His prose has a kind of concentrated intensity and he was a master of the English language even though it wasn’t his first. He found writing extremely difficult and I think this concentrated tension can be read in his best work.

    Also I tend to reread the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz a lot, especially ‘From the Rising of the Sun’, my favorite book of poetry of his.
  4. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    An excellent primer, Richard J. Teweles' The Futures Game; Who wins, Who loses, And Why? offers a pearl out of the golden mean
    discovered by Fibonacci and rolls it along Elliot's Wave Counts and Andrews' Pichfork while thoroughly discussing fundamental analysis as well.
    A marvelous exploration of Baruch's observation that "All of life is a speculation."
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  5. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Alas, I cannot read Conrad. Heart of Darkness is rightfully considered a classic, but he casts a pall, depressing. An inexplicable mercurial despondence.:confused:

    I came across a review of a recent Milosz bio; zeroxed it, cannot now recall author. Meant to order it on Amazon but haven't done so.:(
  6. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon One of the Regulars

    I was looking on Amazon for
    I was looking on Amazon for a biography of Milosz a while back and couldn't find anything, I just looked now and came across one which I will read as soon as I get through the three or four novels I have next on my reading list. I always thought he'd be difficult to write a biography of, for example he didn't write about the war years hardly at all, there are a few poems, 'Campo di Fiori' is a great one, but he didn't want to glorify those years, or perhaps he thought he couldn't adequately describe the suffering of the time. He lived in Warsaw during much of the Nazi occupation and worked in the national library, forging identification papers for Jews, he was honored afterwards by Israel, but he'd never written about it. I'm looking forward to reading his biography, I read Gerald Martin's monumental 'Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life' a few years back which set the bar high for biographies of (at the time) great living authors, even though Milosz passed away some years ago.

    Conrad casts a pall over everything, 'Heart of Darkness' is especially hard to decipher, I think the idea was that Kurtz turns the natives into savages but it is generally seen as the other way round. Conrad's heroes, like Decoud in 'Nostromo' seem to be oppressed by the immensity of nature, he portrays the modern view of the isolation of one man in an infinite empty universe.

    This would seem to be the biography of Milosz to read:

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  7. Reading for the 4th time...James Hollis..."Hauntings". A very good primer on Jungian shadow work
  8. The fiction I re-read most often seem to be works that I re-read because of outside influences. The day before Thanksgiving was a really rough day at work; I badly needed to not be a part of that world for a while. I re-read Haggard's King Solomon's Mines. The book has nothing to do with my reality but for a couple hours it let me step away from that reality, only to return rested and better-able to deal with it.

    The non-fiction I re-read may pertain to whatever I may be studying at the time, or histories or biographies. Most-often though, it is writing that makes me think or re-think my understanding of the world. I've been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance since 1981 (and still can't decide if it is fiction, non-fiction, or philosophy). Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery has been in reach for 20 years or more, along with Nietzsche's Ecce Homo. There's usually something by Paul Johnsgard on the same shelf, because I admire the beauty of his writing; I sometimes re-read Shiki's literary criticism for the same reason.

    The shelf of verse I re-read is filled with Service and Kipling for the stories, Issa for the images created by a few words, Basho for the images of a world I can never know, and Neruda to remind me of the world I should probably try more to be a part of.
    Fading Fast likes this.
  9. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

    This is really something. I was a student of Dr. Hollis when I was an undergraduate back in the Seventies and lost touch with him years ago. He was a wonderful professor, very patient and humane, who directed my senior thesis and had more to do with my becoming a professor than anyone alive. I had no idea what he'd been up to, but I just found his website and will email him tomorrow. Thank you for the reference!
  10. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

    W.B. Yeats once described the joy of entering into an epic or other long work with a wonderful metaphor: he said that he liked to go across Dublin Bay to the Hill of Howth, where, at the very top, there was a circular bush with an opening in the center. He would crawl in there and lie down and stare up at the sky, letting his imagination roam freely. I was thinking of this while I was recently rereading Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain for the third time. It's a long work, some 800 or 900 pages (Everyman's Library), about a young Homburg man who visits his cousin in a Swiss sanitorium for a few weeks and winds up staying for seven years. Each day the patients wrap themselves in blankets for several hours and lie out on their balconies, looking out toward the mountains and the valley. It really struck me on this reading that the novel itself is very much like the experience Yeats was describing:i.e., that of reading a long and fascinating novel. And it truly is. Mann is such a great writer that I couldn't wait to get home every day and go back to my sanitorium, which is where I obviously belong, and wrap myself up in the pages of the book.
    dubpynchon likes this.
  11. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    I found the zerox. Milosz, A biography, by A. Franarzek. I have yet to read M's autobiography or The Captive Mind.
  12. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon One of the Regulars

    That's the biography thanks. 'Native Realm' and 'Captive Mind' are both great, both very heavy.
  13. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon One of the Regulars

    ‘A rough sea!
    Stretched out over Sado
    The Milky Way.’

    Just Jim likes this.
  14. I have read all his books, heard him speak twice now and his work has made a hugely positive impact on my (and wife's) life.
    tropicalbob likes this.
  15. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon One of the Regulars

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez describes in his memoir ‘Living to Tell the Tale’ how he and the other kids in the boarding school he attended in Columbia would strangely listen enthralled every night as ‘The Magic Mountain’ was read to them, despite being very far away from a Swiss sanatorium.

    I like Brendan Behan's description in 'Borstal Boy' of reading 'The Forsythe Saga': '...Galsworthy. When I was in Walton (prison) I got a bloody great book of his, The Forsythe Saga. When I was starving with hunger, and perished with the cold in the old flowery dell all alone, it was like having a feed of plum pudding and port wine'.
  16. apba1166

    apba1166 A-List Customer

    Invisible Man, Ellison.
    The Last Gentleman.
    The Sound and the Fury.
    Monsieur Monde Vanishes.
    All re reads, or re re reads in the last decade. All hold up.
    M Hatman likes this.
  17. Just looked up "The Last Gentleman" as I was not familiar with it. Looks interesting, might give it a try.
  18. apba1166

    apba1166 A-List Customer

    I am at the point in life where I sometimes reread by accident. And The Last Gentleman was one of those. Somewhere around page 93 I was having this dreamy sense of dislocation. And it wasn't until the end that I realized I read it years, maybe decades before. Which brings me to why reread. Because while book does not change, you do. And so after I was divorced Herzog was not an intellectual novel anymore but a bitter divorce novel. I find books that are evocative make for good re reading. Hawkes. Bellow. Kundera. Cather. And Hem-Faulk-Fitz.
  19. Celine's "Death on the Installment Plan". A writer who's work stands the test of time.
  20. Bugguy

    Bugguy One of the Regulars

    Boss - Mike Royko
    Slats Grobnik and some other friends - Mike Royko
    Deathworld (Vol. 1) - Harry Harrison
    Snakes Alive: And How They Live - Clifford Pope

    If I took all the books I have left over to Half-Price Books, these would be the four I kept.

    1st - There will only be one Boss, and not that guy from New Jersey. You'd need to grow up in Chicago and read Royko's columns in the Tribune to fully understand the Machine. The Dems today wish the had the clout... mere pretenders of the Great One. Fast Eddie and his buddies were never cut a break.

    2nd - Royko never lived long enough to see the Cubs win the series. He - like my father - lived under the curse of the billy goat. Read this and you'll gain an appreciation for his completely non-PC sarcasm, wit and unwavering loyalty to the Cubs (and Bears, and Da Coach); as well as the politicians, reporters and off-duty cops that have long moved on from the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Wacker.

    3rd - Harry Harrison passed on several years ago. Although he was know for Soylent Green (Make Room, Make Room), he was a prolific S-F writer. At one time I collected him and owned all but a few of his novels, short stories, and anthologies. I eventually sold them all as a batch to a collector in Georgia. The Deathworld Triology was one of his earliest and in my opinion, best series of books. Of those, the first Deathworld was the best. I own it in its original 3 volumes serialized in the pulp Astounding Science Fiction (1960).

    4th - As a kid, I loved snakes. If I was to reinvent myself, I'd be a herpetologist. This book turned me on - it was originally published in 1937. It is dog-eared and still loaded with dreams, fantasy, and happy memories... mine growing up. I own a first edition.

    Perhaps not the classics we read in high school, but they are my keepers.

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