Have you ever revisited an old familiar favorite book, or a classic that you read years ago as a school assignment? Were your reactions similar to when you first read it, or has the wisdom of the years made you view it differently? For example, this summer’s LICL book group read Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth. One of the group members had read this in high school, 50 years ago, and when she attended her 50th high school reunion, talked to her classmates about the book. I had read this book several years ago as part of another LICL book group (an offshoot of Bo Burke’s classics book group, where some of us decided that women writers weren’t being represented). All I remembered is that the ending wasn’t happy, and rereading it brought the same confirmation. Watching the movie version, though, made for a more visual imprint of the story on my mind.
I also recently reread “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which I had read in my late teenage years. I had loved the first book so much that I ended up reading the entire series (26 books), as all the books were such rip-roaring yarns. Re-reading the first in the series reminded me of how much of a rip-roaring yarn it was, but I also found it to be very melodramatic and somewhat racist. Still, it was fun to read, and we may continue reading more of the series at some point, as the first book is kind of a cliff-hanger (will Tarzan and Jane stay together? Well, we know what happens, but the how makes it intriguing).
It’s not often that I re-read a book, but there are some that stay in my memory, so they are worth reading again. I have searched out books that I read as a child, and if they are well-written, they still bring a thrill to my soul, even if I remember the basic plot.