Re-reading the series - how many times? :)


This looks like the proper social forum to post this, so hopefully this isn't out of bounds.

I'm sure the Tolkien die-hards here have re-read LOTR a crazy amount of times just like myself. When I get into a discussion about Tolkien with friends or family, the issue usually comes up, and I'll mention that I have read the series (defined: The Hobbit and the LOTR, all 4 books as "the series") over 50 times (sadly, a couple years ago I lost the exact count).

This usually ends up in some puzzled looks and questions regarding my sanity. :D But I know the folks here understand.

I'm wondering how that number compares. Something tells me it's not really all that high, and the really dedicated readers have far surpassed my number.

So the question is - how many times have you read it?

I discovered The Hobbit sometime around 6th grade. I'm 52 now, so obviously more than 1 reading per year. There were years when it was 2-3x for sure.

While I have read the Silmarillion and the History books (not all of them actually), Children of Hurin, etc multiple times as well, it's the LOTR that of course holds the key interest. Since I don't have any close friends who share my love of the work, I've never been able to really ask anyone else.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
I used to read TLotR at least once a year, but eventually that slowed down. I never read The Hobbit as often as that. Lost count of everything long ago, but roughly I would guess I've read
TLotR 40 times
The Hobbit 15
Silmarillion 7
Unfinished Tales 7
Smith, Giles, Niggle 20
HOME 0, but I'm loving the podcasts: that might be the easiest way to digest them (though of course I'll miss a lot of the full experience)

I think I can confidently say that there is no other book that I have read more than ten times. Well, fifteen, maybe. And yes; people think I'm crazy too.


It's funny because the last couple times I've thought, this might be the last time I read it, at least for awhile. Then a year goes by, or Christmas approaches, and I get the itch to pick them up again. :)

I do remember getting Unfinished Tales from my book club in high school - around 1982. It was so exciting to get something "new." I read that many times as well.

I found the history books tough going. I may give them another try at some point.

Other series that I've re-read:
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams - I think 4 times? A really wonderful series.
The first two Thomas Covenant trilogies, again around 4-5 times.

I'm often torn between picking up something new and picking up an old favorite.

I will say I am reading The Three Body Problem right now, which just got picked up via Netflix for $1 billion. Very good book.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
I read The Three Body Problem and liked it. I had just read an autobiography of the Cultural Revolution period, so I had a connection already to the early parts of the book. I bogged down in the re-read, though, and haven't bought the rest of the trilogy.

The list of books that I've read more than five times would be an excellent set to nominate for Mythgard classes, but it's probably way too long. And some of them are in the category "loved it when I was young: can't stand reading it again now".


Hestia of the Hearth
A couple of dozen for "the whole series", certainly.
I did a big project on The Hobbit, so, um, a hundred-plus on that one?


I'm at around 5-10? Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales and most of his other stuff just once...I bow down to you all!

And Tad Williams! Hey, I love those books, and I recently saw there's a new one at the library.


I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was a Freshman in college, in 1968. I'd guess I've read those books an average of once a year for the ensuing 50 years; don't know for sure.

Each time I read these stories, I discovered new details that I had previously overlooked. Then, much to my surprise, Prof. Olsen's class developed a whole new depth of appreciation for the stories (and for LOTRO) that I had not previously experienced.

There are a few other writers whose work I enjoy rereading.

I've read most of Heinlein's science fiction novels several times; Time Enough for Love and Number of the Beast being at the top of the reread list.

Edgar Rice Burroughs's series about Tarzan and John Carter of Mars were my go-to reads for years.

Some of Larry Niven's Tales of Known Space have grown dog-eared in service to my imagination.

I've read just about every book published by John Ringo several times.​

Among the 10,000-some books that I have stored away, those are among the few that I really consider Worth Owning. The rest I could have checked out the public library.


Well-Known Member
I've probably read The Silmarillion more times than The Lord of the Rings, and I think I've only read The Hobbit 2 times. I haven't ever bothered to count, though.