Posts filed under ‘Rereadings’
I first read Stardust by Neil Gaiman when I was eighteen. I was a first year at college and, what with adjusting to everything from the new rigors of college academics to living in a tiny room in an old house with a gaggle of other equally stressed, but fiercely competent and intelligent young women, I was perhaps more keen than usual for fantastical escape. (more…)
For many years, I held a deeply-rooted resentment towards books I was, at one point or another, required to read for class during middle and high school. I felt the forced nature of the reads and the ensuing painful discussion of them in class ruined pretty much everything about them. The very aspects that made them “classics” and “required reading” were undone by the nature of the read. Could a classic really be appreciated when it was being shoved down your throat and teachers are going on endlessly about imagery? I decided not, resented the imposition on my reading time, and snubbed a large bulk of the literary canon, largely out of teenage pique. (more…)
As we have often discussed, commiserated about, and listed, every reader has his or her reading list. It’s most likely longer than is feasible in a human lifetime, constantly being edited to change as you do, and, despite the editing, forever expanding. I love a good reading list, so today I wanted to ask you what’s on your rereading list.
I spend a lot of my time (too much perhaps!) bemoaning the precedence my reading list takes over my rereading list. In a world where I only get 80 or so years to read everything on my reading list (baring the possible existence of some afterlife where I get to spend all my ghostly time in a well-stocked library), I sprint ahead with it, much to the detriment of ever rereading anything. (more…)
After reading The Prisoner of Zenda and being a little disappointed, I decided it was high time to go back and read the book that started my love of pulpy, historic adventure novels: Johnston McCulley’s The Mark of Zorro. If you’re ever looking for a quick, wholly satisfying, and righteous adventure story, Zorro has it all.
Many have commented on its similarities to The Scarlet Pimpernel (which came out some years earlier), but Zorro is in many ways far better. McCulley skips the sentimentality and often Radcliffe-like romance of The Scarlet Pimpernel in favor of more adventure and danger. (more…)
At some point in high school, long after I should have enjoyed The Hobbit on some childhood summer’s day, I picked up J.R.R. Tolkien’s first novel of hobbits and Tookish adventures. It was in the heat of Peter Jackson mania and many of my friends, while heretofore displaying no signs of Tolkien fangirlishness, had suddenly transformed into the sort of people who dressed up as elves to attend midnight film screenings. And I with them! It seemed only fair that I should read some Tolkien before braving the plastic-elf-ear-wearing hoards, so thus I went into The Hobbit, determined to do the reading properly and from the very beginning.
As it turned out, I only managed to read the series through to the middle of The Two Towers before losing all interest and deciding that Tolkien not being my cup of tea was just as all right as loving him to the point of wearing fake ears. So I walked away from the series and never thought twice of my decision. Whenever asked about my thoughts on Tolkien (which was quite often in that atmosphere!), I loyally stated my affection for The Hobbit and, to a slightly lesser extent, The Fellowship of the Ring while maintaining my inability to care for The Lord of the Rings much beyond Helm’s Deep. I found more commiseration than expected, but also some scoffing and at least one teacher memorably telling me that that was all to be expected since I was girl and The Lord of the Rings was more of a guy thing anyway.
And while that may well be, I came through the whole experience never separating The Hobbit from The Lord of the Rings nor ever considering it as its own piece of literature. My first reading of The Hobbit had occurred in the context of Tolkien everything, where it could not be separated from The Lord of the Rings and thus not really examined or appreciated as its own novel. It was perceived merely a prelude to The Lord of the Rings and, by many, as a less serious and more childish prelude at that. Unfortunately, I bought into this shoving of the books all together (perpetuated by rereleased editions of the books with matching covers and taglines pasted on The Hobbit reading things like “The Enchanting Prelude to ‘The Lord of the Rings’!”) and did not turn to The Hobbit again.
Some years later, my cousin’s six-year-old daughter informed me in a solemn whisper that she was reading “There and Back Again.” I smirked at her, amused by her use of the subtitle, and asked, “You mean The Hobbit?” She nodded equally solemnly and then tripped off to some other activity (apparently describing her reading habits to her twenty-something cousin did not rank high up on her list of interesting things to do with her time), leaving me to reconsider The Hobbit, this time for the first time by itself. I fondly remembered it. It was my favorite part of the series, for I still thought of it thus, and I resolved to give it another try.
Rereading The Hobbit was like reading it for the first time. I remembered so little of it that every plot twist was made new again and I became happily reacquainted with each character and place. Best of all, Tolkien’s prose, which seemed overly descriptive to me once upon a time, now proved quite beautiful. The Hobbit may well be written more simply than the rest of his books, but I think it shines for it. It is a book made to be read aloud; the prose becomes even better when given audible voice. It was by turns exciting, academic, and Morgensternish (particularly his asides, of course). I almost couldn’t believe how much more I loved The Hobbit when I separated it from The Lord of the Rings!
But most of all, in rereading The Hobbit I realized how much I would have loved it when I was little! (more…)
As our loyal readers probably know, we here at Literary Transgressions are definitely Jane Austen fans. So after seeing PBS’ latest version of Emma (and loving it!), I decided it was high time I gave reading this book a second shot.
The first time I read it, I was in middle school and trapped at a family reunion. I tucked myself away in a small corner and read Emma as if I could escape into it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. (more…)
Welcome back to “Rereadings,” an LT series where we discuss rereading some of our favorite books. This week, we are joined by Britney of B: The Challenge who is here to guest blog about her recent rereading of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. If you are interested in guest blogging with us about rereading one of your favorites, please drop us a line!
The fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series was released earlier this year, and I promised myself I’d reread the three prior books first. After a few months, I finally picked up my copy of The Thief and even with the knowledge I gained from my first read, it was still an engaging, extremely well-crafted book. (more…)
Okay, I finally finished my rereading of all the Harry Potter books last week (*weep!*). This means I’m suffering a little bit from PABD. Since I never experienced the whole series in order, I never really felt a loss reading-wise after finishing any of them. After completing Deathly Hallows, however, I put the book down and immediately didn’t know what to do with myself.
So today I turn to our readers in hopes of coping: What do you recommend to read after Harry Potter? Is there really anything comparable? (more…)
This is part of our on-going Rereadings series wherein we take a trip down memory lane to reread some of our favorite books. We are looking for guest bloggers for this series, so if you’re interested in taking a second look at one of your favorites, e-mail us! I look forward to hearing from you!
This week I decided to reread one of my newer favorites, The Professor’s Daughter. This wonderful little book is actual a French graphic novel and, unlike my lovely co-blogger, I am actually typically pretty bad at reading graphic novels. I am so word-oriented that I too often let the beauty and additional meaning of the illustrations slip by me as I hurry to read the words. In short, I focus too much on the “novel” part to the detriment of the “graphic” part. But no more, I vowed this time around! (more…)
My latest rereading starting innocently enough with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This somewhat inevitably led to rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. By the time I finished that, I had to go on to my favorite of the series: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I think you can probably guess what happened when I finished that one. (Yes, it involves the Triwizard Tournament.)
While these rereadings in general were basically as I expected them to be (excellent!), I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they actually got better now that the series has ended and I know where everything is leading. There was something completely addictive about reading them in “real time” as they came out, but there is another enticing quality altogether in reading them again after everything is said and done. (more…)