Thursday, May 21, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: A Second First Time?

Do-overs. This week's BTT question: "What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?"

At first glance, this seems like a simple question, but it's really a little problematic. I've thought about it before, and I always have trouble with it. I'm assuming we're not talking about time travel – so I wouldn't actually be returning to childhood or young adulthood or that original experience. And if I read any of my favorite books for the first time now, would I have the same reaction I had then? I'm a different person now – I've changed; maybe my feelings will have altered, too. In most cases, I wouldn't want to risk that. Not if it's a book I love.

However. Just to play the game – there have been some "first-reads" I wouldn't mind experiencing again. Mostly childhood books, of course. I suppose Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass would have to be on the list – I think they were probably the first "real" books I read on my own (as opposed to picture-books and easy readers), and they were absolutely magical.

And definitely Huckleberry Finn. I didn't actually read that one myself, the first time; my mother read it to me at nap-time everyday during the course of one summer. It was very effective at putting Mamma to sleep (she survived Tom Sawyer a little better), but I was fascinated and couldn't wait for the next afternoon's installment. I've re-read the book many times since then, and still love it. But none of my re-reads have come close to that first mind-altering experience.

And then, there are those books that served to help me get through trying times. Some of those are pleasant memories today – Little Women, the Nancy Drew mysteries, Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass – and some, like the novels of Barbara Pym, have become all-time favorites that I return to over and over. For those, while I'd love the experience of devouring them for the first time, I certainly wouldn't want to go through those rough patches of existence again.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Joy! Haven't seen you around in a while. How's it going?

    A Second First Time

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  2. Books that have surprise ending or a twist would be refreshing to me. I also read my favorite books, like Name of the Rose and The Master and Margarita.

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  3. Ah, I forgot Huckleberry Finn and the Nancy Drew series. Those were fun and enjoyable reads. Seems like childhood reads are the most impressionable of the lot. :]

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  4. Hmm ...I really hadn't thought about it that way -- I guess when you think about a reaction to a book as a younger person and how it would be if you were reading it for the first time now, the reaction would be completely different. It would be for my choice, anyway.

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  5. I never think about rereading children's classics, will sort some out.

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  6. You have a good point about the first experience being different depending on where you are in life at the time. I know I've changed a lot since I first read some of my favorite books. I wonder what my first reaction to them would be now.

    - Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

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  7. I like your thoughts here. And all are real great books to re-read.

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  8. I have to read Huckleberry Finn and Little Women.

    Nancy Drew brings back childhood memories :)


    Here is my BTT post.

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  9. I didn't post for this BTT, but my thoughts were similar to yours ... it would be something I read as a kid, when my sense of wonder was greater. Funny, because once I read those books as a kid, I'd read them again and again, it didn't matter that I knew what was going to happen!

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