I read quickly. I know this because once at a seminar I took the Evelyn Woods speed reading course “pre-test” for grins and giggles. Let’s just say even the instructor agreed that I didn’t need to read any faster than I already do. But no matter how fast I read them, there are books I love to read over and over again. Some I have read so many times that the physical books are falling apart, making the invention of the Kindle more than a convenience for me.
|My second copy of the Lord of the Rings. The first copy was a paperback set that finally disintegrated completely about 10 years. ago. My mom purchased this copy for me over 35 years ago as a Christmas present|
The two reigning champions in my re-reading library are Little Women and The Lord of the Rings (yes, all three books in the series). If I had to guess, I’d say I’d read each over 100 times. The physical copies I had of these books were so worn out that I’ve bought new copies from the “Folio” imprint, which uses high-end materials to make elegant books. Another classic I have read enough to qualify as a Folio candidate is Jane Eyre. I’m not quite into the hundreds with the number of readings, but I’m sure I’m into the mid-twenties at least.
|My latest copy of the Lord of the Rings, purchased last year.|
Not every book I have “read to pieces” qualifies as a classic. Two of my books now held together with rubber bands are paperbacks by Barbara Cartland, light romances I enjoyed but which I doubt appeal to serious literary critics. Others are science fiction or fantasy books I collected along the way, some from when I was in junior high or high school in the 1970s and early ‘80s. The Anne McCaffrey Pern series comes to mind. The physical paperbacks I have are falling apart, but the series comes in a Kindle version I’ve bought as well.
|Part of my Nero Wolfe collection.|
The best-loved, most-read mysteries in my personal library are the Nero Wolfe books. My goal is to own at least one physical copy of every Nero Wolfe book Rex Stout wrote. I’m not picky about the type or condition of the copy—most are paperbacks and a couple of the hardback versions are falling apart—but I want to own one of each. I have a good start on my physical collection, and since the books arrived on Kindle, I own a fair number of them electronically too. Agatha Christie should be represented, but she isn’t. We were a military family and moved often. The military based the amount you were allowed to move on weight, and you had to pay so much for every pound overweight. Books weigh a lot, so we kept a limited number of books (still what most people would consider a large collection) and what I read and re-read depended upon the books present in the local library.
|The oldest Nero Wolfe book in my collection. As you can see, condition was not an issue.|
Another favorite is a set of four hardback books you can’t find anywhere but on a used book site. They probably won’t show up on Kindle anytime soon, unfortunately. The entire set is called “An Apology for the Life of Jean Robertson.” They were written in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s by an author called Janet Sandison. I first discovered them over 30 years ago when my husband and I lived in Rockingham, North Carolina and the local library carried them. We moved back to Alabama in 1991, and I couldn’t find them anymore—until the Internet gave the used book market a global reach, and I finally found them again. I read them often, especially the last book, but given how hard they were to find, I have to treat them tenderly as I do so.
|"An Apology for the Life of Jean Robertson" - I still have the dust jackets intact!|
With my Kindle, I own entire “canons” of books I re-read frequently, including the Harry Potter canon, the Hunger Games Trilogy and a fantasy trilogy by Patricia McKillip called “The Riddle-Master of Hed.” Of those three sets, the only one not present on both my shelves and my Kindle is the Hunger Games Trilogy, because it came out late enough in the Kindle era that an electronic copy was the only version I bought.
Do you have favorite books you love to re-read? How many are hardback or paperback versions, and how many are electronic? I'd love to hear about them!