Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Trying to reread books you loved when you were younger


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#16 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,466 posts

Posted 21 August 2007 - 03:16 PM

This might be a bit TOO young (but I'm only a first year in college :) ) but I recently got a copy of Heidi, one of my favorite books when I was younger. I thought it would be childish and boring, but, somehow, I fell in love with it all over again!


Hello. Thanks for chiming in! Going back to books you loved as a child can be tricky. Some of them still make wonderful reading, but other times you may wish you’d just preserved your beautiful memory – I wish I had done the latter with “Little Women.”

#17 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,269 posts

Posted 21 August 2007 - 03:57 PM

Some of them still make wonderful reading,


Like when i recently went back to my all time adolescence favorite: Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights". It was as delightful and tasteful as i had remembered it, so i fell in love all over again... :)

#18 Anthony_NYC

Anthony_NYC

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts

Posted 21 August 2007 - 05:23 PM

I have to agree about Vonnegut! I used to love him long ago, and remember once sitting up all night reading Slaughterhouse Five cover to cover. I re-read that book last year and--well, I just don't get it anymore. On the other hand, a sadistic eight-grade teacher gave us Moby Dick as summer reading, believe it or not. Probably shut down any interest in literature in hundreds of young minds. Many years later I gave it another try, and of course as an adult it's a completely different experience, overwhelming in the good way.

When it comes to books translated into English, I still find myself re-reading the version I know already rather than try a new, probably better, one, especially if it's a book I remember from when I was very young. Pure sentimentality, of course, but that's part of the pleasure for me.

#19 Anthony_NYC

Anthony_NYC

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts

Posted 21 August 2007 - 05:28 PM

I meant to add--comparing Lowe-Porter and Woods as translators of Mann, they both have their good and bad points. Woods had a much better overall style and is more readable, and his Buddenbrooks in particular is superb; Lowe-Porter, less literal, is however sometimes better at translating dialects (a tricky business), for instance. (The Woods translation of Dr. Faustus, on the other hand, is a disaster.)

#20 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,901 posts

Posted 22 August 2007 - 01:28 PM

I think the most eye-opening were the Little House on the Prairie books. I loved them when I was a kid but now the isolationist, anti-Native American tone bothers me. I still appreciate the books as a nice window into frontier life, but I'm more disturbed by the other aspects of the book, and I find Ma Ingalls narrow-minded.

The Jane Austen books remain as fresh, witty, and lovable as I remember them, but now I appreciate the humor and humanity even more. Ditto Great Expectations. I'm not nearly as hard on Pip as I was when I was a teenager.

As for Jane Eyre, I loved it as a kid, because I thought it was so romantic, but now I find the book tedious. A very very long romance novel, with a large dose of self-righteous religious fervor.

#21 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 22 August 2007 - 01:41 PM

I think the most eye-opening were the Little House on the Prairie books.


That made me think of something else that is not exactly on this re-reading topic--or rather, it is not only on that, but also--but is not far off and does include. I read several of the Little House books, but started with 'On the Banks of Plum Creek'. I had no idea these were celebrated children's books. And although 'On the Banks of Plum Creek' is the only one I didn't finish, it's also the only one that transported me into a singular world which exists nowhere else. And this leads to not wanting to re-read things or re-see certain things if you can't get that same exact feeling again. This by no means always applies, but sometimes I feel that if I re-experience a work a second time, it will ruin my memory of it, because that has indeed happened. It's just like going back to some places that transformed your whole worldview, and when you return they aren't the same place, and you're disappointed.

Other oddities are having read 'kidnapped' and 'treasure island' when I was 7, but just reading them straight through and paying no attention to what they were about, just to show off I could read 'hard books' for my age (I found out later this was no great feat.) These I think I will reread to see if I remember even a single image from them.

Another phenomenon was trying to read 'Vanity Fair' several times and never finishing it as a teen-ager. I still haven't finished it. I got rid of all this feebleness as an adult and took 3 1/2 years to get through 'Tristram Shandy', which I found maddening, but thrilling.

#22 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,466 posts

Posted 22 August 2007 - 02:06 PM

As for Jane Eyre, I loved it as a kid, because I thought it was so romantic, but now I find the book tedious. A very very long romance novel, with a large dose of self-righteous religious fervor.


As a kid I found it romantic, too, but returning to it many years later I was struck by the S&M overtones of the affair between Jane and Rochester, although I guess it’s tidied up by having Jane marry him when he’s a blinded, burnt-out wreck......

This by no means always applies, but sometimes I feel that if I re-experience a work a second time, it will ruin my memory of it, because that has indeed happened. It's just like going back to some places that transformed your whole worldview, and when you return they aren't the same place, and you're disappointed.

Exactly.

When it comes to books translated into English, I still find myself re-reading the version I know already rather than try a new, probably better, one, especially if it's a book I remember from when I was very young. Pure sentimentality, of course, but that's part of the pleasure for me.


That’s also true for me. I love my old Constance Garnett translations of the Russians.

#23 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 22 August 2007 - 02:15 PM

The Jane Austen books remain as fresh, witty, and lovable as I remember them, but now I appreciate the humor and humanity even more.

Yes. The so-called "small" world she writes about -- but observes so acutely -- seems to reveal new insights each time I return to it. It must be the tiny, precise brush-strokes. How is it possible for novels of manners written 200 years ago to be so psychologically acute in our own time?

And this leads to not wanting to re-read things or re-see certain things if you can't get that same exact feeling again.

I know the feeling. Over the past decade I've acquired several of books that once meant a great deal to me. I've sought out the same editions I read before. I love having them on my shelves. But I have to admit that I haven't read a couple of them all the way through. And one or two have been sitting there for years, waiting that perfect summer afternoon. :tiphat:

#24 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,466 posts

Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:46 AM

Reading this obituary for Madeleine L’Engle reminded me that I had occasion a few years ago to re-read “A Wrinkle in Time” and it held up remarkably well.

#25 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,637 posts

Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:53 PM

It took me a bit to get to this thread -- I was re-re-reading something...

I am a monster re-reader, of significant works and trivial ones. One of the pleasures of being a parent is reading the stuff you loved as a child to your own child. This summer it was Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley," which held up better than I thought it might, and "To Kill a Mockingbird" which was even better than the last couple times I read it. Part of the thrill was reading it aloud -- it sounds dead on.

#26 diane

diane

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 371 posts

Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:48 PM

Most of my re-reading has been in the role of parent. Starting at the very beginning, with "Winnie the Pooh", which I remember of course from very young, but really appreciate the humor much more now. ;-) (it was one of the childrens' books which I could read aloud to my kids and I enjoyed it at least as much as they did!)
My girls loooved the rhymes and poems, so we got really into those, too; they became favorite "songs" when getting dressed, walking to school, etc.

Tolkien's books were a huuuuge favorite with my kids from when they were about six and four. I started with the "Hobbit" and then soon they wanted the "Lord of the Rings", too, which we read three times (all of them) throughout the next years, finishing with the "Silmarilion".... I enjoyed them again, but for different reasons, mostly to do with language. (:-))
(as an aside, I found those books to be the best for my daughters' English skills, as they only hear it from me)
Books which I loved as a teen and now cannot seem to get into are the Hesse favorites: Steppenwolf and co. I suppose I could now try to read them in German, as I am pretty fluent in that by now, but something about those kilometer-long sentences scares me. :-O

-d-

#27 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,466 posts

Posted 18 September 2007 - 09:41 AM

It never occurred to me before that re-reading is part of a parent's job description, in a sense. :angel_not:

I haven't read Steinbeck since I was in high school and it would be interesting to go back and take another look; I've been thinking about it ever since visiting the Steinbeck museum in Salinas last year.

#28 GWTW

GWTW

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts

Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:28 AM

It never occurred to me before that re-reading is part of a parent's job description, in a sense.


It's one of the perks, actually. I'm currently re-reading/reading aloud to my son D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. :angel_not:

#29 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,637 posts

Posted 18 September 2007 - 09:42 PM

It never occurred to me before that re-reading is part of a parent's job description, in a sense.


It's one of the perks, actually. I'm currently re-reading/reading aloud to my son D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. :icon8:


Oh, I love that one! There's a companion book on Norse mythology as well, if you're interested.

And I totally agree about reading as a perk!

#30 cargill

cargill

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 07 October 2007 - 07:47 AM

I just loved Jane Eyre when I was younger. I first read it at about 10, and about once a year after that for years. Then I reread it many years later, and don't think it holds up too well, as a grown up book. I didn't mind the comment about the French (!), but the self pity got to me. I think it is the ultimate teen-age book, right up there with Catcher in the Rye. Wuthering Heights on the other hand is just staggering.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):