A Good Thriller discussion

148 views
General > Reading a book again thirty years later

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 1242 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 Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments Wonderful review, David, and this happens to me all the time, but the most precise and memorable book, Joyce's Dubliners, I read it three times in various points of my college education, with years in between each reading. My initial response was pure ecstasy; I adored each of the stories and found "The Dead" to be inspirational, as well as "Araby.' In fact, I was obsessed by the book and James Joyce; my second reading was also years later and I liked it less and had a grave discussion with my professor about the meaning of 'epiphany' which was never resolved; the third I read it was in grad school and I nearly hated the book and the idea of Joyce being an ex-patriot from Ireland; I also felt he was exceedingly self-indulgent, as well. David, we bring ourselves to each book we read and because over time, we evolve in our personal ideologies and philosophies, so I think you make plenty of sense. I am currently 'revisiting' novels I once read and enjoyed, and yes, my attitudes have altered, as well.


message 3: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 1242 comments I only discovered Joyce at university, but I never managed to read any of his works to the end. I do have favourites that I've reread a few times and still enjoy on each visit.


message 4: by Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments I am incorporating old time favorites from gothic/suspense to contemporary novels by Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, Rosamunde Pilcher, Nora Roberts, etc.


message 5: by W (new)

W | 39 comments I read Dick Francis and Arthur Hailey thirty years ago.I still enjoy them.On the other hand,books by James Hadley Chase and P.G.Wodehouse are no longer as appealing as they once were.


message 6: by W (new)

W | 39 comments Skye Skye,what is your opinion of Harold Robbins ?


message 7: by Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments One of the best writers I've ever encouteredA Stone for Danny Fisher Never Love a Stranger
79 Park Avenue, and his famous book The Carpetbaggers began the current trend of naming people after cities, states and countries.


message 8: by Karl (new)

Karl Øen | 19 comments Listened to Len Deighton's 'Bomber' on StoryTel and it was just as gripping as I thought I remembered it to be. I found I remembered it quite vividly, although I hadn't read it since the mid-80s. In this novel Deighton manages to convey the sights and sounds, smells and temperatures of a lot of different and complex environments, in an all together terrifying way, seemingly without trying, just focusing on the human drama.
I believe there are more than a hundred characters in the novel, some heroic, some petty, some compassionate and some downright disgusting - and a lot of them all of these at the same time, often due to what they are put through in the circumstanses of Total War.

As the human drama no longer held any big surprises for me, the main theme of man/machine-relationships became clearer to me. Deighton's vast knowledge of all things technical really shines here, and the novel brings an insight in how complex the systems if waging war were, and how small the possibilities for the single man (or woman) were to influence it's outcome - and finally how easily the single person gets chrushed by forces greater than themselves.


message 9: by W (new)

W | 39 comments Harold Robbins could write very well and he could also be trashy.I enjoyed the Pirate in particular.Liked the Dream Merchants and A Stone for Danny Fisher.
I threw away Good Bye Janette and Dreams Die First,both were so bad.


message 10: by Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments I also liked The Dream Merchants, but you are right, he did write some trash.


message 11: by P. (new)

P. Lundburg | 63 comments I discovered Anne Tyler while a Lit major at Fresno State in 1984. The book of hers that had a profound impact on me as a reader and as a writer was Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant:

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

I recently read this one again, and it had an even stronger effect. This might be one of perhaps 5 books I would want to give a higher score than a 5-star. The characters are rich, the story engaging, and it seems to me the novel where Tyler really formulated her recurring theme of family as both trap and sanctuary. Such a rich narrative.... and now, with 30 more years of life experience, the book is far more than what it was to me back then.


message 12: by Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments I have been revisiting books I loved from my past, lately.


message 13: by Gary (new)

Gary Guinn | 43 comments P. wrote: "I discovered Anne Tyler while a Lit major at Fresno State in 1984. The book of hers that had a profound impact on me as a reader and as a writer was Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant:

[bookcover:D..."


I loved Homesick Restaurant, P. It pops into my mind at unexpected moments.


message 14: by P. (new)

P. Lundburg | 63 comments Nice, Gary! You're not alone. I love all her books, actually. I think The Clock Winder is still my all time favorite, although Saint Maybe is still way up there. All of these characters keep resurfacing for me -- Tyler has been quite an influence on my own writing, particularly how I develop characters. Always glad to find another Anne Tyler fan!


message 15: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 7903 comments I've had the reverse experience. I read both Great Expectations and The Grapes of Wrath in high school in the 1980s and hated them.

I've since re-read them recently and seriously loved them. So, maybe high school me was just a bad judge of literature.


message 16: by Skye (new)

Skye | 814 comments This happens frequently, Kristen; our lives are on a journey, and we bring ourselves into our reading. I have had the same experiences; sometimes books I adored no longer hold my interest, or the ones I struggled through become a beloved beloved read.


message 17: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments This is a great topic. I rarely reread books, but some are worth the effort. Huckleberry Finn was even better the second time around, and I laughed out loud in parts. I reread 1984 a couple of years ago, and I found it even more insightful. On the other hand, I tried Tolkien's trilogy again, and it wasn't nearly as enchanting the second time around. Neither was The Catcher in the Rye. I'm sure it depends on the individual reader. What books would you read again? I'm thinking about Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.


message 18: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 21 comments I've reread a few over the years, but not many. Salem's Lot was the first King I ever read, way back in high school. I dug it out and read it again two years ago, and found it quite enjoyable. I reread It a year ago, and found that it hadn't stood the test of time quite as well.
Now, about a year ago I dug Lonesome Dove off the shelf, about 25 years after first reading it. It was a far more powerful read the second time around. I had to put it down for a while right about where McMurtry introduces Clara Allan, just because it drove home all that was going to happen from that point on.
I think I'll always believe that casting Robert Duvall as Gus, and Anjelica Huston (at that point in her life she was remarkably beautiful) as Clara Allan-in the miniseries- was a stroke of genius.


message 19: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments I think Lonesome Dove is a classic novel, and when I watched the series, I cried when Gus died. I think you're right about the casting. Spot on. What would you read again now?


message 20: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 21 comments Scout wrote: "I think Lonesome Dove is a classic novel, and when I watched the series, I cried when Gus died. I think you're right about the casting. Spot on. What would you read again now?"

I might take a hook back through James Michener's "Centennial" this year. I first read it back at a time when my province was being deeply mistreated by our federal government, and there was a growing feeling here that we had a greater kinship with Americans from Montana to New Mexico than our fellow Canadians. Other than the migratory experience of those who settled the plains east of the Rockies (there are no wagon trains in the story of the Canadian West), the book left me feeling even closer to my American cousins, as there is a great deal of shared history there.
The problem is that I'd be reading it again, during a time of federally-induced suffering in the Canadian West.


Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'? (whatchatreadin) | 2099 comments Mod
I've thought about going back and rereading some of my required reading from High school and see if I like it better now that I'm reading it for pleasure and have a greater understanding on the world.


message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments Bill, it's serendipitous that you mention Centennial, since I recently recorded the series on tv and watched it again. Pasquinel is my favorite character, even though he finally succumbed to greed. I read the book many years ago, and it stays in my mind as a great read.


message 23: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 21 comments Scout wrote: "Bill, it's serendipitous that you mention Centennial, since I recently recorded the series on tv and watched it again. Pasquinel is my favorite character, even though he finally succumbed to greed...."
You know, there was a period where I read a string of Michener's books. Loved 'em. But, eventually I just drifted away from him. There's a lot of good history in a lot of them, though. He was a master at creating fictional characters swept up in real events. In turn, it gave the reader a lot of insight into historical events and places.
Something that just occurred to me. There's a scene near the end of Centennial, where David Janssen is talking to a younger couple on the street. It's night time, and the sound of a train horn echoes from a distance, and he says something profound about the loneliness and the hardship of the prairies. It was the only scene I saw of the original airing of the mini-series, but it stuck with me enough that I knew I had to read the book. The scene itself seems to be an amalgam of a number of scenes in the book. But, it hooked me.


message 24: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments That was a moving scene. It was about a feeling of loss, of what America meant to him and how that was slipping away. It's applicable today for me. How the real feeling that founded this country is slipping away.


message 25: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 21 comments Scout wrote: "That was a moving scene. It was about a feeling of loss, of what America meant to him and how that was slipping away. It's applicable today for me. How the real feeling that founded this country is..."
Now you've got me wanting to watch the entire mini-series. :)


message 26: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments I would highly recommend it. I first watched it in my twenties, and watching it again, I can see how it colored my view of the treatment of Native Americans, the disregard for nature, and the corruption of the political system. It also gave me a feeling for the people who went west as settlers. The ones who made it were tough and respected others who were the same, regardless of religion or race. Toughness being the common denominator.


message 27: by Val (last edited Feb 09, 2019 07:38AM) (new)

Val | 565 comments Wow. You guys have given me a lot of reading ideas! I can't believe Centennial was on TV again and I missed it! (I rather swooned over Gregory Harrison when it was first released, ha!) Oh, yay. My library has the DVD. 😁)

How I loved Lonesome Dove! I, too, cried when Gus, Scout.

I haven't read 1984 since high school. I absolutely must read it again. (I loved the song by Spirit, too!)


message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 108 comments Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Any suggestions from you?


message 29: by Yasmin (new)

Yasmin I've re-read The Great Gatsby, and also the picture of dorian grey recently.
Remember both as amazing, but in second reading there was lots that annoyed me about both!
I found myself thinking about gatsby- what is the big deal about this!!


message 30: by Tober (new)

Tober Charles | 10 comments 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..."

Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - when I was 16 it was my bible. Now? Meh.
There's a time and a place I guess.


message 31: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 21 comments Tober wrote: "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*...."
I'll be the blasphemer, here. I hated Catcher In The Rye. I thought it was a pointless piece of drivel, and the writer a grossly overrated hack. Still do.


message 32: by Tober (new)

Tober Charles | 10 comments Bill wrote: "Tober wrote: "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 m..."

Now there's a thread in itself! On that subject - Albert Camus is actually quite dull!

There, I said it.


message 33: by Sean, Moderator (new)

Sean Peters | 9130 comments Mod
I am sure I could read ALL

The Alistair MacLean books again, and still love them....


message 34: by W (new)

W | 39 comments I like the movie adaptations of Alistair MacLean's books.The books themselves,not so much.


message 35: by Woman Reading (new)

Woman Reading | 376 comments I know the feeling. I just finished Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) by Agatha Christie , which I initially expected to rate as a 5 star. It's been 10+ years since I last read it. I gave it 4 stars, but was toying temporarily with giving it 3.5 stars.

Here's my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 36: by Barbara K (new)

Barbara K A couple of years ago I re-read Smilla's Sense of Snow after about 20 years. Although some books don’t hold up that well, this one did.


message 37: by Kandice (new)

Kandice | 797 comments I am an obsessive rereader. I change so much over the years that when I reread a favorite, I usually discover new things, or see things differently. The book never changes, but I do. There are books I've read over and over and over. I've read Shōgun 13 times, and many others well over 10 times each. It's like slipping into a broken in pair of slippers when your feet are chilly.


message 38: by W (new)

W | 39 comments Wow,13 times !


message 39: by Kandice (new)

Kandice | 797 comments Wsm wrote: "Wow,13 times !"

It's a very good, very long, detailed book, so it's easy to reread.

I remember reading Smilla, your recent reread, and I really liked it.


message 40: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 7903 comments I have discovered that books I had to read in high school mean something completely different later in life.

Also, I re-read The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper after a much longer break and was impressed at how well it stood up after all these years.


message 41: by W (new)

W | 39 comments Kandice wrote: "Wsm wrote: "Wow,13 times !"

It's a very good, very long, detailed book, so it's easy to reread.

I remember reading Smilla, your recent reread, and I really liked it."


I tried to read Shogun many years ago,not sure if I managed to finish it,it was very very lengthy.

The one James Clavell book I liked back then was King Rat,would like to read it again after thirty plus years.


message 42: by W (last edited Dec 01, 2020 05:51AM) (new)

W | 39 comments When I look at the books I've kept for thirty plus years,they make me so conscious of the relentless march of time,growing older and mortality.


back to top