Others can say whatever they like about these survey results; I'm going to say this: it is fantastic that three of the top ten re-read books in the survey of readers in Britain are Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. Let's hear it for Jane and the Brontës, authors of some of the greatest novels ever written. Admittedly, I re-read Jane regularly, but I hope to get to Wuthering Heights again sometime soon (which I have read at least twice), and someday I will re-read Jane Eyre as well.
Right now, though, I am re-reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, a book I was hugely impressed by when I first read it a few years ago. Here's what I wrote back then in an email recommending the book to friends:
"A book for Deadheads, hermaphrodites, runaways, people born in Detroit, people of Greek descent, San Franciscans, hitchhikers, lovers of silk, owners of Cadillacs, people who went to private schools, smugglers of bootleg liquor, sexologists, anyone who has ever declared bankruptcy, directors of horror movies, Ted Kennedy, future actresses, owners of topless bars, clarinetists, Stanford grads, Berliners, installation artists, career diplomats, anyone nervous about second dates, signalmen, people who were finally able to beat their Dads at ping pong, would-be kidnappers, obscure objects of desire, and everyone who has ever used a thermometer to try to influence the sex of a baby."
It's still all true, but it's not a great second read: the plot is not rich enough to drive the book on a second read (that is, JE's plotting does not stand up to Rowling's), and the proliferating details, so hugely entertaining on a first read, just seem like distractions on a second read. On a second read, in other words, JE's project of combining mainstream fiction with sophisticated post-modern fiction does not seem to come off as well as it did the first time around.
That said, I will finish it, since I have to mark a thesis on it that a student is handing in at the beginning of next month!