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Old 09-02-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
VydorScope
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Revisiting Childhood favorites...

It was 1985 or 86, and I was a young reading prodigy. I would read anything I could get my hands on. At 10 I was already reading mature litature such as Dean Koontz, Steven King, Tom Clancy (not sure on dates on all of them, they are just examples of the level I was reading at) and I found a book... what a book I found. Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff. I read it to pieces! Scotch tap can only keep a paperback alive so long...

Well it was just re-release for its 25 year anniversary as a ebook! I fired up my nook the moment I saw this and bought it. Then I was scared... what if I start to read it and its not as good as I remember? What if it was great... for a 10 year old, but not so great for an adult? Well I took a chance and ummm forgot to sleep last night LOL. Dragging at work but was very entertaining read. Really enjoying getting acquainted with the hero...

But I wonder... am I odd... or is being worried about revisiting old favorites a valid fear? I would hate to tarnish a warm memory...
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:49 PM   #2
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There are some books that are wonderful for children, and still wonderful when you re-read them as an adult. Sometimes they're still wonderful because of a veneer of charm from childhood memories. But often they're still wonderful because they really are wonderful books that appeal to children and adults.

But there are some where a re-read reveals trite themes and condescending writing. And you realise that although they could still appeal to children, they just don't really have any lasting merit.

So if it's a fondly remembered childhood book, it's reasonable to have a worry or two that finding and re-reading it will tarnish its memory. But it is wonderful when the book turns out to still be a good read.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
But I wonder... am I odd... or is being worried about revisiting old favorites a valid fear? I would hate to tarnish a warm memory...
Not at all odd. I rarely reread books, for many, many reasons. But that is certainly one of them—valid or not. I know my tastes have changed drastically over the years.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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I think it depends on what might potentially be wrong with said old favourites.

For older books written in a different time when casual use of racial slurs, sexual stereotyping, and blatant bigotry were more societally acceptable and showed up in the book in question (I've heard that the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books had this problem), then unless one's personal attitudes haven't changed since then, those would probably be a pretty uncomfortable and definitely tarnishing re-read.

You could still do it, but you'd have to accept that your childhood memories are kind of retroactively tainted and be willing to move forward from there.

For books whose problem is probably that they just might not be very well written/plotline not as awesome as remembered, I say go for it and give at least a few chapters a try.

If it happens that those chapters aren't very good, then stop and leave it there and pretend that the story got exponentially more awesome in the back half and still lives up to your nostalgic memory.

And if it happens that those chapters are as good (or nearly so) as you remember, then keep going and you'll have the joy of reacquainting yourself with an old favourite which you can possibly introduce to new friends.

You never know until you try. And if there seems to be reasonably low risk to it, you might as well try (unless trying will cost you $$$, in which case I'd advise holding off until you're almost certain you really will enjoy it again at that price).
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:17 PM   #5
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The House with a Clock in it's Walls by John Bellairs was my favorite book as a kid. It was THE book that interested me in reading. A couple years ago I saw it in a local bookstore and immediately bought it. Sadly, I didn't have the same experience as the OP. Bellairs' book didn't quite live up to my memory from when I was a kid, but I still hold Mr. Bellairs in the highest regards for inspiring me to start reading just for fun. NOBODY could have given me a better gift in life.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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I don't remember if The Bear That Wasn't was my favourite book when I was a kid, but I sure snapped it up fast when I found a Dover reprint. The only disappointment was that they had cropped the pages to fit instead of reducing them. It's a great story, with really good pictures to fit.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:08 PM   #7
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I loved the Thornton W. Burgess animal books. I still have a lot of the old pseudo-hardcovers. I found most of them on Gutenberg. I'm going to have a re-read festival at some point. Maybe over the holidays at the end of the year.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
For older books written in a different time when casual use of racial slurs, sexual stereotyping, and blatant bigotry were more societally acceptable and showed up in the book in question (I've heard that the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books had this problem), then unless one's personal attitudes haven't changed since then, those would probably be a pretty uncomfortable and definitely tarnishing re-read.
That's the main problem with the Richard Allen books and the early James Herbert books for me, those are the books I grew up with. Sometimes it's best to leave the past where it belongs.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:17 PM   #9
Catlady
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I love to reread childhood favorites. The best thing about being online was being able to track down and repurchase so many of those wonderful books from eBay and other used book sources.

Sometimes I've wondered just why a particular book stuck in my memory, but I've never felt disappointment. Sometimes I've realized that the childhood books were probably an early source of ideas and beliefs I still hold.

Rereading a childhood favorite is like revisiting an old friend.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:25 PM   #10
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I've gone back and re-read some of the books I really enjoyed when I was younger. And, I've come to find that some of them do not hold up so well. Of course, maybe that is caused by already knowing what's going to happen and so the mystery is gone.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Rereading a childhood favorite is like revisiting an old friend.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Some of those stories stay with you forever!
I just wish that I could read some of them for the first time again.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:35 PM   #12
Andrew H.
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For older books written in a different time when casual use of racial slurs, sexual stereotyping, and blatant bigotry were more societally acceptable and showed up in the book in question (I've heard that the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books had this problem), then unless one's personal attitudes haven't changed since then, those would probably be a pretty uncomfortable and definitely tarnishing re-read.
I don't know about Nancy Drew, but that is definitely a problem with the older Hardy Boys books. (I only read the newer version as a kid, though). Unfortunately, when the books were rewritten in the late 50's, they also dumbed them down quite a bit - the originals written in the late 20's and 30's were more "literate." But did not have to compete with television.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:12 PM   #13
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I don't know about Nancy Drew, but that is definitely a problem with the older Hardy Boys books. (I only read the newer version as a kid, though). Unfortunately, when the books were rewritten in the late 50's, they also dumbed them down quite a bit - the originals written in the late 20's and 30's were more "literate." But did not have to compete with television.
Yes, Nancy was filled with stereotypes, and yes, Nancy was dumbed down. The original Nancys are fun and exciting. Original Nancy has a fine disregard for the Fourth Amendment and obeys the law only when it's convenient for her. She sneers at police, who won't arrest a suspect on her word alone, but are stupid enough to insist on evidence. When the racial stereotypes were removed, these other aspects were also sanitized, turning Nancy into a paragon of virtue and an annoying goody two-shoes.

In fact, some of the stories were completely redone; the title is (usually) the same, but nothing else (e.g., The Secret at Shadow Ranch, which was revised to The Secret OF Shadow Ranch, a completely different story). A few of the books were not rewritten in that great purge--The Clue in the Jewel Box is one; it's one of my favorites.
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:50 AM   #14
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Rereading a childhood favorite is like revisiting an old friend.
Beautifully put! This simile is true for me on many levels.
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Old 09-03-2011, 01:08 AM   #15
Joseph R
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Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) from Antoine de St-Exupéry is one to my earliest book I remember reading. Our Teacher would read a chapter every Friday afternoon if the class was well-behaved. It worked! It is only after a number of years did I discover that the book was a fable for adults, not for kids; But as kids, We all loved the imagery used in the book, even though we did not make a metaphoric connection to it.

Around the age of ten, I was plunged both into Tintin, Astérix, Spiro and other Hergé comics and "Choose your own adventure" books. LOVED those books. I did small chores in order to get money and buy a set of dices and paper. I managed to play ALL the ones in the public library and ended up buying a few from the bookstore. After hitting puberty, I was, drawn to D&D books and set sessions with my friends.


I would immediately purchase a "Choose your own adventure" book if it were to come to Kindle!
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