Interesting Bob image

2015-04-16

How Many Times Can You Read The Same Book?

I love reading. I read anything I can get my hands on. As a child I would read stuff printed on the back of cereal packets. I would probably still do so, but we now keep the porridge in plastic containers, with nothing printed on them, so there's nothing there to read. Sitting on the bus, in a doctor's surgery, or any other waiting room, I read all the notices, sometimes several times. About the only things I don't read are magazines waffling on about 'celebrities', and junk mail, which goes straight in the recycling bin.

I have hundreds of books by Terry Pratchett (Discworld), Agatha Christie (Miss Marple and Poirot), WE Johns (Biggles), JRR Tolkien (The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, etc), Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, EF Russell, EE 'Doc' Smith, and dozens more authors, writing on a huge range of subjects, and I always have at least one book 'on the go' at any given time, and often three or four. I read humerous, factual, fiction, science fiction and fantasy books, and probably some that don't fit any of those genres. I read anything and everything, except biographies, which just bore me to tears. I never, ever read biographies.

My wife, on the other hand, only ever reads biographies and nothing else, apart from knitting magazines and patterns, and the odd women's magazine, so we never argue about a book. It's a perfect arrangement - I know my books are always where I last left them, although I might not have a clue where that was, and I never get accused of borrowing her books and losing them. She is quite capable of losing her own books, with no help from me.

There is also another aspect of books that we totally disagree on. Once she has read a book, which as I said is invariably a biography or an autobiography, that's it. The book is put to one side to give to one or other of her friends, or the church coffee morning sale, or the local charity shop. She never, ever, reads a book twice. Ever.

I, on the other hand, tend to read books over and over again, assuming I was interested enough to read them in the first place. I have read the late Sir Terry Pratchett's brilliant Discworld series several times, and because new ones were published regularly, the series got longer every time I re-read it. Sadly, that will obviously no longer happen, but I will continue to re-read the ones I have. I have just finished The Lord Of The Rings - again, and at some point I will again work my way through the fifty or sixty Agatha Christie books I own, and all the Biggles books, the Just Williams, the Jennings and Darbishires, the Famous Fives (yes, I know they're meant for kids, so what?), the Sherlock Holmes, and all the rest, not forgetting Asimov's Foundation trilogy.

The one book I have read more than any other, though, is 'Rip Foster Rides The Grey Planet', an old 1950s science fiction book aimed at teenagers. I have owned that book, (and a couple of replacements because the original copy was literally worn out and no longer readable), since I was about twelve, and I always read it at least three or four times a year, and have done so for the last 55 or more years, so that's quite a lot of times I've read it. Can anyone out there top that?

image of Rip Foster Rides the Grey Planet book

No, I haven't misspelt the word 'grey' in the title.
This picture is of the American version of the book.
I have the British version.