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General Chat - anything Goes > Reading a book again thirty years later

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message 1: by David (last edited May 29, 2017 03:13AM) (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments I've just finished re-reading Bearing an Hourglass, a book that I read thirty years ago. Back then it blew me away, and was a clear 5* read. Not now; it's more like 3.5*. The narrative is dated, in attitude to socially accepted norms, but I could get past that, as I did when re-reading book one of the series, but my reason for rating lower is more to do with my desire for better writing, and an ability to recognise poor writing that I did not possess thirty years ago.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I wonder, has anyone else re-read a book many years later and had a similar reaction? Or, has anyone re-read a book and found it better than they thought it was years ago?


message 2: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25061 comments It's an interesting thought, David, but no - I haven't re-read anything from so far back. To be honest, I'm running as fast as I can to read all the new stuff I want to read. With self publishing, there's so much else to tempt me.


message 3: by DebsD (new)

DebsD | 13 comments I read The Handmaid's Tale soon after its release in the mid-80s, and recently read it again. My reaction to it this time was stronger and more complex - I think mainly because of how the world has changed and my own life experiences. I think if GR had been around for my first reading, I'd probably have given it 4* - now it's a solid 5* for me.


Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 2997 comments I read Pet Semetary back when I was about 16 and was astonished at how real everything and everyone felt.

I re-read it a couple of years ago and didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much.


message 5: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Kath wrote: "It's an interesting thought, David, but no - I haven't re-read anything from so far back. To be honest, I'm running as fast as I can to read all the new stuff I want to read. With self publishing, ..."

I know what you mean, Kath. I took book 1 from my shelf, as I didn't have a book to hand, and now feel a need to re-read the whole series.


message 6: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Debstr wrote: "I read The Handmaid's Tale soon after its release in the mid-80s, and recently read it again. My reaction to it this time was stronger and more complex - I think mainly because of how the world has..."

Interesting, Debster. I knew there'd be opposites. I'm also certain that there will be particular books I would rate higher than previous, because I probably understand the perspective more.


message 7: by David (new)

David Hadley | 4873 comments I've been rereading loads of books I first read many years ago and I've found very few of them match up to the memories I have of them.

Just like Heraclitus and his river, it seems we cannot ever read the same book twice because although the book does not change, both we and the times do.


message 8: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Michael Cargill wrote: "I read Pet Semetary back when I was about 16 and was astonished at how real everything and everyone felt.

I re-read it a couple of years ago and didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much."


Probably a good demonstration of how young people can be more easily influenced.


message 9: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments David wrote: "I've been rereading loads of books I first read many years ago and I've found very few of them match up to the memories I have of them.

Just like Heraclitus and his river, it seems we cannot ever ..."


Good to visit, though, to see how much we've changed, in attitude as much as anything.


T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) David wrote: "I've just finished re-reading Bearing an Hourglass, a book that I read thirty years ago. Back then it blew me away, and was a clear 5* read. Not now; it's more like 3.5*. The narrative..."

Good to know that writing has moved forward. Your reasons for downrating - seem to agree with mine for finding the "Classics" so difficult to get to grips with.


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim | 21828 comments I wonder if reading it in-between as well has an impact. For example I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was sixteen, but I've read it several times in the intervening years so I still rate it highly, so it might be I've 'evolved' with it
With Jack Vance, because I do re-read his stuff, it may be a similar effect.


message 12: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) | 4153 comments We've gotten into a bad habit of watching something on Netflix or Amazon because we're too tired to do anything else in the evening, but reading takes so much extra energy.

But when I want to read, I reach for one of the old ones on my shelves. The familiarity - and the new things I discover on each reading - are soothing.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments The Stand. I only wish I could read it for the first time again.


message 14: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "The Stand. I only wish I could read it for the first time again."

Yes that is a book I've found satisfying on a reread.


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments Read it in a foreign language, I did and it was like another book.
I seldom reread fiction. I know I'm very different from husband and daughter in that respect, they both treasure and re read their books. The only ones I keep in hardback now are gardening, cookery and reference books.


Desley (Cat fosterer) (booktigger) | 11031 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "The Stand. I only wish I could read it for the first time again."

Not one of my favourites - I own the uncut version


T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) I'd never heard of it - so google told me it was Stephen King - so, not for me!


message 18: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25061 comments I've read it - years ago, when I had the flu! Never tempted to re-read.


Jay-me (Janet)  | 4325 comments I agree with Jim about Lord of the Rings -I have regularly re-read it

Also agree with Flo that S King is not for me (I have tried to read books by him and couldn't stand them)

I have a lot of books that I regularly re-read, comfort reading.


I recently re-read To Serve Them All My Days which I first read before the TV adaptation was made. I enjoyed reading it again, the only disappointment was that it ended too soon.


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9069 comments I don't generally reread anything, apart from Lord of the Rings. I wonder what it is about that world in particular that demands repeat visits?

Recently I did reread The Red Knight and its sequel before I read the third in the series as there had been rather a gap and I wanted to refresh. I seem much worse at remembering books now than I was when a youngster. Rather than failing memory I blame a full one!


Desley (Cat fosterer) (booktigger) | 11031 comments I used to re-read, but too much choice now, can't read what I want.


message 22: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 2880 comments I've re-read a number of books over the past year or so as part of decluttering and they were nearly all quite a disappointment from how I remembered them. I didn't have any problem parting with most of them. I guess that's maturing or something!


message 23: by Kady (new)

Kady Monroe | 226 comments There are a number of books I would like to go back and read again, but with a growing number of new books still to get to, I doubt I will be opening up an old novel anytime soon :)


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments I might re-read the Handmaiden's Tale before I watch the new series. Not sure.


message 25: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth White | 2067 comments Just not going to watch the series - hard to see how the element of suspense at the conclusion can be maintained on screen.


message 26: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Just not going to watch the series - hard to see how the element of suspense at the conclusion can be maintained on screen."

A lot of that book's strength lies in the use of language too, with implication and multiple meaning through careful word choices. I will still be watching the series, though, in hope that it has been well translated.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments I've heard the new series is very hard watching.


message 28: by David (new)

David Hadley | 4873 comments David wrote: "David wrote: Just like Heraclitus and his river, it seems we cannot ever ..."

Good to visit, though, to see how much we've changed, in attitude as much as anything. "


Its like going back to some place not visited for a while, some things have changed, but even the familiar looks different somehow.


message 29: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1674 comments I've listened to the audio of Watership Down. I read that maybe not 30 years ago but 20+. I still love the book, and I still cried.


message 30: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9478 comments I'm going to wait until I'm sat in front of the TV at a sensible hour and not likely to fall asleep in the middle of it.

So, next year then.


message 31: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Clayton | 1039 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "The Stand. I only wish I could read it for the first time again."

Ahhhh now that is how you know it's a great book. That feeling when you reach the end and you love that you've read it but also wish you never had - just to experience it for the first time all over again. Haven't read that in years so will go and have a look and see if I can dig it out.


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