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    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    I'm making my way through Michael Chabon's fantastic Maps and Legends - the first essay alone, and the amazing three part dust jacket, is worth the price of admission.

    This got me thinking about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the literary giant of a friend to all comic readers. I loved the book. It is epic in all the right ways and champions all the right ideas and should have won every single award worth winning that year.

    And I haven't read it again since. Part of it is surely its size (although the equally-sized Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has been read at least five times). Part of it is the whole "so many books, so little time" thing we all face, even with comics. But again, I've read other books again, books I might have even liked less than Kavalier and Clay.

    So a book that I love and find vitally important and entertaining etc. has not, and I think will never, be read again.

    Do you have any books like that? Not the War and Peaces that you physically can't read again, but the books you adore but only visit once.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    I have a friend who refuses to even finish Kavalier and Clay, because she doesn't want to be done with it.

    I think the only books that really fit that description for me are Stranger in a Strange Land and Frankenstein. Both of them were a long, but worthy, struggle to get through. Not unpleasant, but difficult - like climbing a cliff face.
    • CommentAuthorWakefield
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    This phenomenon occurs to me more with movies than with books. With books, if I love it, I'll have no problem reading it again. Even books that are incredibly violent or intense.

    Movies are different. I can never watch Requiem for a Dream or Breaking the Waves again, though they were both extraordinary. I think this might be because movies bombard more senses than books and watching them can be so much more immersive. I love Paul Bowles's short story The Delicate Prey, but if I saw a movie version, I'd get a little queasy.
    • CommentAuthorWakefield
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    Oh you know, now that I think about it: Dostoevsky. Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, Brothers K. All great.

    All really tough and almost a chore to get through. I can't read them simply for pleasure. Also, the dude was a really sloppy writer. Hey, he had deadlines.
  1.  (2670.5)
    I liked the first Dune book, but I can't imagine reading that again.
    • CommentAuthorBMTMTC
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    Jared Diamond's " Guns, Germs, and Steel"
  2.  (2670.7)
    Stranger In A Strange Land is the only book I've loved and never plan to read again. Well, that and the complete Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. There are a fuckton of books I've already read once and will never read again, but that's out of not wanting to trudge through boring literature.
    • CommentAuthormbakunin
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    Dune. Tolkien. Edgar Rice Burroughs. All of which I loved as a kid but can't conceive of revisiting now; all brilliant works, but also a scaling-Everest-with-toothpicks type of slog, on best done with the strength and stamina of youth...
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    I love David Foster Wallace, and can reread his nonfiction (e.g. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again) ad infinitum. Making it a fun thing I do again, I suppose
    But I will never have the time or energy to reread Infinite Jest, or Broom of the System.
    See also: Gravity's Rainbow. Love Pynchon, but it's definitely got that mountain-climbing thing going for it.
    On the other hand, I've read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay twice so far, and I'm sure I'll read it again. Best long fiction I've read in the past five years.
  3.  (2670.10)
    I almost never re-read anything, no matter how much I love the book. The exceptions are usually very strong collections of short stories that I buzz right through. I read Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son every time I fly, Salinger's Nine Stories, some George Saunders stuff.

    But mostly my problem is with the "too many books, too little time" thing. I always feel like I should be broadening or progressing or something.
  4.  (2670.11)
    I don't think I'll make my way through the Baroque Cycle again.
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    Stranger In A Strange Land was a great book, one I'd love to read again. The reeeally epic Heinlein though was Time Enough For Love. I believe I've read that twice so far, and I could potentially manage a third sitting, purely because I find it does what fiction is meant to do, in that it is an accessible, engaging medium through which to present a theme. Its an absolute masterpiece, that I get different and more thorough perspectives from with each revisit.
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    I've read Time Enough for Love at least four times - great book. The moving parts get me every time, even though it's all lifted from old myths. Lazarus Long is a fantastic character.
    I have a vague recollection of our esteemed host expressing a dislike of Heinlein. Didn't Mr. Ellis claim to have taken a Starship Troopers comic assignment in order to "piss on the old fascist's grave"? Or was that someone else? Apologies if I'm misremembering...
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    I put Stephen King's DUMA KEY down right before the final act, because I cared about the characters too much and didn't want anything bad to happen to them.

    Man, I'm a total pussy...
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2008
    Mircea Eliade's Myth of Eternal Return... Dense, tiny, and packed with goodness about world religions. Took me two years to finish it, and I'm never touching it again.
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2008
    Most of the books I would like to read again and never will really boil down to the size of them and the effort involved in re-reading them. I'd like to re-read Stephen King's Dark Tower series, for the simple fact that it took me almost as long to read them as it did him to write them and I'd like to read them again as a cohesive whole. Then there are Julian May's Saga of the Exiles and Stephen Donaldson's (many) Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, which I read as a teenager and would like to get an adult perspective on, but again can't see myself investing the time required.

    I expect I will re-read Tolkien and The Baroque Cycle (looking at my bookshelf I notice the Quicksilver hardback is missing). I have already read all of Stephenson's other books at least twice (yes, even the early ones and the ones as Stephen Bury). I re-read William Gibson often too.
    • CommentAuthorDragone
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2008
    The only thing I imagine never reading again are Steven King or any of my old Fantasy series like the Wheel of Time. My memory was never able to keep up with it so I just gave up after re-reading the first book. But I never have a problem re-reading things. If I want to read it I'll read it till I get bored of it. Seems simpler that way.

    The other type of book are the fluff one's I read inbetween the harder one's like my Michael Chrichton fixation (nothing else really comes to mind other than him). Everything else mentioned on this list I have yet to really read, and want to read. And the stuff I've read, that have been mentioned I want to re-read.
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2008
    I tend not to read many books more than once, unless I really, really loved it. Mostly because there are so many other books out there, I need time to read those ones too. Certain things (Lord of the Rings, which I've read 20 times at least) I'll read over and over again, but besides those Once I read a book, unless it forced it's way into my top 10 favorites... I probably wont read it again.

    Movies on the other hand, I watch far too many of, far too many times. Don't get yourself in a room with Bschory and myself when we're watching... Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Beerfest, Clerks 2... and many more. We tend to quote entire movies... seen them far too many times...
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2008
    I rarely re-read books but when I do I wish I did it more often, it's like re-watching films, I always think it will be boring but actually sometimes it's a lot more enjoyable, and in the case of reading it often doesn't take as long as the first time.

    I read Foucault's Pendulum recently, it was very good but I doubt I could read it again, far too dense. My girlfriend is reading it and keeps talking to me about where she's got to, which reminds me of what happens in it, which in a way is as good as re-reading it, without having to go through the long academic stuff again.

    Also I would like to read Anna Karenina again sometime but doubt I ever will. I am, however, thinking of finally starting on War and Peace. I do know of people who have read it several times in fact.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2008
    I rarely re-read or re-watch anything these days, but there are some really good books and films I don't think I could take again.

    Children of Men. Sweet Jesus, what a bummer.

    I don't think I'll read Stephenson's Cryptonomicon again, because the trapped-in-a-flooding-cave sequence is nightmare stuff I just don't want to revisit.