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:
I 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:
I 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
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.
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.