Let’s Talk is a meme hosted by Melissa at I Swim For Oceans.
It’s guided discussion on anything and everything to do with books and more!
Please drop by I Swim for Oceans to find other participants in Let’s Talk!
This week’s topic:
Do you ever re-read books that didn’t work for you the first time around and have them work the next time? Has it ever worked the opposite for you?
I remember when I was a teenager we had a required reading book called Remembering Babylon by David Malouf. It was written in n1993 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It’s a literary novel about a white shipwrecked boy raised by Aborigines in Australia during the early settler years.
I’ll be honest: it was boring. There were some nice introverted moments, but most of my classmates didn’t ‘get’ anything. None of them even finished the book. I was the only one to finish – I was also the only one to re-read. I don’t even know why I re-read it. I guess I read it fast enough the first time that I could fit in a second reading by the time everyone finished – or gave up, as it was.
But no. it’s just boring. And I’m really really not into Colonial narratives. They don’t work for me in the least – except for a wonderful short story called The Drover’s Wife by Henry Lawson. That is an awesome short story.
I guess since my Remembering Babylon experience I don’t really re-read books that don’t work for me. They don’t work for a reason: I’m not ambiguous in what I don’t like. I absolutely hate books written without a strong grasp of the English language – if I’m mentally correcting things as I go, I can’t enjoy it. Similarly, if I find a book boring like Remembering Babylon, I just have to remind myself that I have shelves bursting with books I’m yet to read and I don’t have time in my life to read everything I want to, but I damn well want to attempt it. I shouldn’t have to finish nor re-read a book I don’t enjoy just because it’s not working for me. It’s not going to magically change in the time I take upon putting it down and picking it back up again.
As for the second question – no, I have never re-read a book I loved to find it lacking. My favourites are my favourites for a reason. They’re beautifully written and make me feel amazing. I re-read my favourites every few years and fall into a blissful kind of awareness: Black Beauty, The Silver Brumby, Wuthering Heights, Before I Fall, Entwined… they’re all amazing books that do amazing things to my brain.