Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Second Time Around

I've noticed a trend in my reading habits: I am re-reading books I read as a child. Do you do this?

"Youth is wasted on the young." I actually said that today, heaven help me. Is children's literature wasted on the young? Of course not. And yet (how do I articulate this?) as children we haven't experienced so much of what gives a good writer his voice.

While an author may not write a children's book about death (though some do), their writing is colored by their own passage through grief. As adults we can share in this thoughtful coloring, but as children, most of us haven't grieved deeply. Our fragile world alternates between the solid ground of need and want and the eternal reach of our imaginations.

Put another way, we haven't experienced life in a way that gives rise to a true appreciation of metaphor, nuance and wit.

So paradoxically, the writers that shape our young mind and form our earliest impressions of good literature are expressing ideas, thoughts and feelings that are, in fact, still forming. How strange!

Children should be reading the classics, and as soon as they're able (with some exceptions). They may not understand them, but reading them will help them understand.

As adults, oughtn't we to give those books a second look?

I conclude that reading through the lense of life experience is a recovery of missed joys.

What have you been re-reading?

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Blogger Lois E. Lane said...

"Peter Pan" -- a perfectly wonderful book!

It's so great to have girlfriday back in blogging action...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blogger girlfriday said...

We want to read Peter Pan. We got the latest version of it on Netflix and it is so good. Because it was so politically incorrect, we assume it is a pretty faithful adaptation.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blogger Susan a.k.a Lucy said...

Dorothy and the Emerald city of Oz...about 5 books past the Wizard. Wanted to read the second in serious but the bookstore was out. Dover edition. Nothing beats the Dover people for cheap and faithful reprints of such. Can't say I recommend the book yet but it is a quick read.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is one thing I have enjoyed about being a parent I can read all of the books I didn't read as a kid. I have enjoyed many... all of E.B. White, Rascal and many more I had never heard of until I had children.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogger Everyday Anne said...

I know it isn't a novel. But I have discovered the very simple children's book, "Goodnight Moon."
I love reading and re-reading it to my nephew.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blogger Snarky said...

Well. One of my favorite books, ever, is "Where the Red Fern Grows." I read it as a kid, have read it to my kids, and continue to read it every so often when I find myself overwhelmed by life. It is a beautifully written book with a message of simple humanity, and faith in God is evidenced throughout.

I defy anyone to read the last chapters without tears.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


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