Let’s try this again…

If you know me, you’ll know I don’t really reread anything. There are a few reasons for this and it’s not really about not having the time… Since deciding to tackle the Harry Potter series for a second time (with an aim to actually finishing it this time!), I started thinking even more about books I would be interested in giving a second shot and most of them are not to relive any previous enjoyment. Quite the opposite actually.


The Bloody Chamber

I read this a month or so after finishing uni and I really disliked it. It didn’t look like feminism to me ad the language was frustrating to wade through. My review was as follows:

49011I was actually very disappointed with this book. I expected so much more from the characters of a feminist writer. (And perhaps that expectation in itself is sexist for me to say?) I just found ALL of her female characters (save for maybe one minor character at the end of Bluebeard) seemed so silly and stupid and superficial. They seemed to be living up to the stereotype set for them rather than proving it wrong. I’m not saying they all needed to be strong, independent women but they ALL seemed to be twits.
My relationship with this book: It’s not you, it’s me. I’m probably going to have to try this one again some time…

And that’s exactly what I plan on doing: trying it again. It is so beloved and I can’t count how many times it has been mentioned as a feminist work to read. I know the flowery language and run-on (for 10 lines) sentences got on my nerves, but I’m willing to set a fresh pair of eyes and an open heart to it. It’s not as if my opinion on disliked works hasn’t changed in the past after all…


Heart of Darkness

Now this…! Hmm, well. My thoughts at the time were:

9410307I was reeeeally slow getting through this one. Despite it being such a tiny book, it was a bit of an uphill battle for me. The writing is beautiful and poetic to be sure, but I found myself drifting or just getting lost in all the enigmatic descriptions. There were times when reading I had to go back and reread carefully and pay close attention to what I was reading but I still don’t know if I could tell you exactly what happened in the middle… And I feel like I missed something when the narrator goes from being curious about and indifferent towards Kurtz but not understanding him to being one of his most loyal admirers with some shared special bond with him… But I enjoyed the imagery and quite liked the ending.
Still, analogous to the narrator: I feel as though, despite the confusion and struggles I went through in the middle, I may not have got everything but somehow I came out of it with a new understanding and a satisfaction about getting to the end of this journey (…probably).

I am ready to concede that this was a quietly powerful book and several things from it have stuck with me, but I don’t think I was able to fully appreciate it. The main reason I want to re-read this is to see if I can gain some added clarity. If I remember correctly, there is some controversy surrounding racial issues though…


Le Petit Prince

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I really enjoyed this book when I read it in English. However, when I started reading it in French, my French wasn’t good enough for it not to just be a bit of an annoying task. My French is a little better now and, though I imagine finishing this in French will still be a bit of a task, hopefully it will be an enjoyable one! Surprisingly, I actually found two (of the exact same) French editions in my house when I went home for Christmas so I brought one back to the UK with me.

 

 


The Hobbit

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This is a major maybe. I bought the book intending to reread it…but then never got past the first page because the rereading is difficult for this one. I loved the book the first time I read it and I’m sure I will enjoy it again but, of all my planned rereads, I’m not sure I’ll get around to it this year… We’ll see.

 

 

 


 

Do you ever give a second chance to books you weren’t really impressed with the first time around?

How often does your opinion on them change?

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7 Responses to Let’s try this again…

  1. Pingback: Review :: A Room of One’s Own | Bitches With Books

  2. Pingback: Claire x Nikki Review January 2016 | Bitches With Books

  3. Lisa says:

    I do re-read a lot, but mostly books that I loved and want to enjoy again, or possibly childhood favorites for classics from school that I want to check out as an adult. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t enjoy the first time that I’d want to try again! It’s an interesting idea, though. I would maybe think about revisiting required reading books to see if reading them just for myself and not for a syllabus would change my viewpoint. Interesting topic!

    • Nicole says:

      To be honest, I don’t plan on rereading /every/ book I didn’t like(!), but if I feel I didn’t/wasn’t able to give the book a fair shot (like with The Bloody Chamber and Heart of Darkness), it sometimes starts to nag at me and I thought I should re-evaluate these in particular haha
      Ooh! That’s a good idea! I actually enjoyed about 90% of all the books I read in school :’D hahah (#dork!) but there were one or two I wasn’t fussed about. I’m…not entirely sure I’d want to revisit them, but…maybe!

  4. The only book I’ve re-read in the last few years was Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” It actually aged really well – I caught lots of references as a 25-year-old that I hadn’t caught at age 9 (e.g. the whole Shakespeare theme; religion; American patriotism & anti-Communist sentiment).

    I’d consider re-reading The Hobbit, too – though I’d be a smidgen afraid that it wouldn’t hold up to my childhood love for it!

    As for books I dislike on first read… I only give it a second chance if it’s a highly-acclaimed “classic” or the like. There are too many books out there to dwell on ones I don’t love!

    • Nicole says:

      Yeah there’s always that possibility that a re-read will take something away.. But that whole extra understanding gained with maturity is also pretty exciting?? haha I don’t know if it’s because of a TED Talk I watched once about how an experience can’t be ruined, only the memory of that experience (which then, you can just choose to think about differently), but I’ve realised since starting my Harry Potter re-read that I’m able to look at the stories a little more broadly and, while I might rate the books (a little!) lower now than when I first read them (and usually only one star lower so far), I still look back on the books super fondly and the rereading doesn’t actually colour my view of the books really. Maybe we can do a Hobbit read-a-long some time. I’m sure Claire would be up for it too… 😉 haha

      Yeah, definitely!!

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I’m the same on The Hobbit but I’m a big rereader, you never get that same pleasure as reading it for the first time but sometimes it’s nice to revisit the lovely places you call home.

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