Have you ever read a book that people say is so great, or meaningful, or whatever – and when you read it you just don’t get it? And I don’t mean don’t get the book. You understand the concept, it’s deeper meaning, whatever, it’s more that you just don’t know what all the buzz and excitement is about. I think I can hear you all out in the internet universe collectively saying, “of course.” And yes, I may be new to book blogging, but I am not naïve to reading, so I know that not everyone will agree all the time.
But what did you do about it?
I would not put myself in the re-reader camp. I love to read and like the idea of checking off books from my TBR list, so I really don’t want to waste reading time on books I have already read (whether I love them or not). But, when the topic of re-reading comes up, I can’t help but think of The Catcher in the Rye (and not just because it has been in the new so much recently with the court battle for the U.S. publication to the “sequel”, here is a recent New York Times article if you haven’t been following the issue).
So why am I bringing up these two random topics that could each be their own post?
Back in high school Catcher was on my either Honors or AP reading list (I forget which because I can’t remember what year I read it). Both during class and even years after, when that book came up in conversation people would say how much they loved that book, how influential it was, etc., etc. But me … I HATED that book. And really, I am not someone who generally would say I hated a book, I can almost always find something in there, even if it’s not a book I enjoyed. But not in this case. I just wanted to smack Holden and tell him to get over himself. I just couldn’t understand why he made things so hard for himself and everyone around him.
Years passed, and being a bookish person and having bookish friends – that book continued to come up. I really felt like maybe it was me, so I usually refrained from offering my thoughts about it.
Then, I’m not sure what happened, since I am not a re-reader, but I was in a bookstore, saw the book and by some inspiration decided I needed to give Holden another chance. Maybe it was the time that had passed, my realizing that not everyone loves high school, or fits in right, or just that I had a more worldly view, but on reading it the second time, I loved it – so much so that if I had to do a top ten classics list, you might find Holden holding court with the likes of Scout, Stella and Miss Scarlett.
I really don’t have much insight into why I had the change of heart, but for this case, I really was glad I went back to this book, and remember this lesson when I get to those “I don’t get it” books. Not that I think if you hated a book the first go around but everyone says it’s so wonderful, that on the second read you will think so too. But for me, it was a good lesson in my own reading practice.
So, here’s a little challenge for me, and I welcome you to join me on this.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Is there a book that you hated the first time you read it, but decided to give it another go a few (or many) years later and discovered that you now really like the book?
Chose a book you read, or tried to read, and hated and give it another go. Maybe time has passed and you can relate better to the book, or maybe your dislike of the book or characters will grow worse. Post your personal challenge and thoughts on doing the re-read on your blog (if you have one) and include the link in the comments. Be sure to come back to this post and let me know how it goes the second time. I will post all responses in a future post, hopefully planned for September, so use the summer to get that book re-read
MY BOOK FOR THIS CHALLENGE:
I am going to read The Hobbit before the end of the summer. For me, this was totally another, uggh book from HS, maybe I will find something more there the second time around.