Thursday 15 May 2014

Thursday Thoughts (1)


Welcome to my new Weekly post - Thursday Thoughts.

This is going to be a weekly discussion post that I hope will get all my blog readers commenting and giving their opinion. I will pick a topic and write how my thoughts and feelings about it and then hopefully all you lovely readers will leave a comment below with your own opinions.

The only rule I have is that everyone is respectful of each other's opinions, there is no real right or wrong here, this is a chance to experience a topic from someone else's perspective. Please listen to each other and be nice.

If you wish to take a more active part in this discussion and make your own blog post about the topic, I will create a Linky list below that you can link your post to. If more and more people take part - the bigger and better it will become.

Some discussions will be light and silly, others will be more serious but they will all be about books and book related things.

So come on everyone, pull up a chair and lets hear your voice.

The first topic I am going to start with is:

 'Should we re-read the books we loved as children'.

I'm starting with this one as it is currently in my mind, I had to re-read a book for my children's group at work and it was my all time favourite book when I was a child. I was nervous about picking it up again now in case I didn't like it as much.

Have you ever felt that? When you pick up a book you have loved for years and you worry it won't give you that same feeling.
When you read books as a child I believe you are more open and innocent, literally anything is possible and books are a magic gateway into another world (if we're lucky this feeling remains in adulthood). Even if you read a lot there is a limit to the number of books you can absorb at that age and of course you just don't have the life experiences behind you that can change your perceptions.

The book I had to re-read was 'Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh' by Robert C O'Brien, this was the book I always said was my 'all-time favourite'.
I first read this book when I was in middle school and fell in love with it. I even drew some fan art (before I even knew what fan art was) for it, and spent weeks telling all my friends how incredible this book was.
The imagery and wonder of this book swept me away, I remember even then, being able to visualise the story as i read it and wanting to absorb as much off the pages as possible. I must have read it at least a dozen times but it never lost that wonder for me. Mrs Frisby and the Rats seemed like friends I could turn to again and again.

And then I moved on to other books and whilst I would occasionally revisit this one as you do with favourites, it happened less and less often. As I was introduced to books about dragons and fairies and magic and Harry Potter my reading tastes changed, I still loved animal stories - in fact one of my other all time favourites is 'The Animals of Farthing Wood' by Colin Dann. But the more I read, the more I wanted to read and soon I had so many books I didn't have time to revisit those favourites as much. And I started to grow up, my views, tastes, time and reading habits all adjusted and changed opening up hundreds of different worlds and experiences.

It must have been at least 5 years since I last read Mrs Frisby if not closer to 10, but even so it remained in my mind as a favourite. So when I chose to re-read it, I really was nervous. I had picked it for my Children's Book Group at the library as I thought it would be something different, and I wanted to see if the next generation with all their magic, monsters, diaries and technology could also love a classic like Mrs Frisby, but in order to lead a proper discussion about it I knew I would have to read it again.

When I picked up that book I had a moment of pure fear - what if this book disappointed me now? My reading tastes have changed so much over the years, especially since doing this blog - what if I didn't like it anymore. Could I really throw away over 10 years of love for a book, could I risk ruining my memory of it.

I started to read and the fear didn't go away, I wasn't instantly hooked and I thought this meant I didn't like it as much, but then I realized that if I stopped thinking about it so much and just let myself read without the pressure maybe I would enjoy it, and I am happy to say I did. I wrote a review for it which you can check out here if you want.

Luckily this turned out in my favour, I read it and still loved it. I wouldn't say I thought it was as incredible as i did as a child but it still struck me as an excellent book so I am pleased. But what if I had ended up hating it?

It has happened before, I used to love, and I mean absolutely adore a book I had about a dragon. I think it was called something like 'A Dragon in Spring Term'. In fact I think it was a series, and i was obsessed. I re-read it a few years ago and just couldn't get on with it at all. I ended up giving away my treasured childhood copies to make space for other books. But I was really upset. What made me love them so much as a child and dislike them so much as an adult? I'm sure timing and mood has a lot to do with it, but some books just last the test of time better than others.

I think in the grand scheme I would have to judge each book as it comes, I mean I would love to re-read the Farthing Wood series, but those books meant a lot to me as a child, they really set up my love of animals and I used to always re-read them when I was down or needed something familiar to go back to. So if I didn't enjoy them now, it would be really hard and feel like I had lost a friend.
I guess it depends just how much we loved those books.

I am pleased to say that my book group did enjoy the book, they said it was like 'nothing they had read before' but that it was 'pretty good'. High praise from them I can tell you.

So tell me - would you revisit old favourites and read them again or would you rather just cherish the memory?

Do any of you not get that feeling? Am I just mad?

Talk to me Book Lovers - do you re-visit childhood favourites and why?

Got your own post? Link it here:

Next Weeks topic will be 'Books into Films - Is it always a good thing?'


Annette Mills said...

I'm more interested in re-reading books I read when I was a teen (I'm way far away from that!) I've re-read books like Ender's Game, The Hobbit, Gone With the Wind, and some others, just to see the different perspective you get as an adult. It's always interesting. Great thoughts!

barmybex said...

Thanks Annette.
I still haven't ever read the Hobbit, I really need to get it on my list.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, enjoying a different perspective is a good way to look at it. :)