Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sunday Salon: Nostalgia and reading

Now there's some old books...
Image copyright: Kath Liu 2011
I don't know if it's a result of coming face to face with my long-lost past during The Big Trip or if it's just one of those things that comes around once in a while but right now I have a serious case of nostalgia. I've been looking up all of my favourite tunes from the 90's and enjoying a good little bop down memory lane. I've been singing along with Eternal, dancing around my living room to En Vogue and re-living the best of Tupac Shakur. For a bookish British girl, you might think that I have a very unexpected taste in music, but I'll bet you didn't know that Tupac was, according to one of his biographies  Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur by M. Dyson, a huge reader.

In any case, this attack of the nostalgic got me thinking about the books I had read and loved as a younger person. More specifically, books I had read and loved 10 or more years ago that I hadn't re-read. Would I still love them? Is it possible for the books we loved in our youth to ever going to stand up to us reading them again as adults?

I mean, I'm only 28 years old but already my perspectives have shifted significantly in the single decade it took to get me from only-just-adult to only-just-figuring-out-life. Goodness only knows what changes, lessons and wisdom will come in the next decade or two! So I wonder - are the books I loved then bound to be a little tired now? Or is good literature just plain good no matter how old you are?

I guess it depends on the books and to be really sure I'd have to go back and road test a few old favourites... but with the mountainous To Be Read pile staring at me balefully from my bookshelf, I should probably spend my time on discovering new favourites rather than trying to re-spark something that I may have already outgrown. Sometimes it's kind of like your first love - you look back with fond memories and sometimes you allow yourself to wonder 'what if...' but going back is rarely a good idea. It's better to keep it on the treasured memories shelf rather than let is slide into the what was I thinking bin.

Have you lost any happy memory books by re-reading them at a later stage? Or have you found something fresh and new in old favourites?

Me? I'm just happy re-living the musical moments of years gone by. Good tunes never get old!


  1. There's nothing like a good nostalgic wallow - enjoy!

  2. Just wait until you are 54! I get swept up in lovely nostalgia when I smell the mowed yard or taste a snowcone! Which means it is pretty much 24-7. It's crazy.

    Here's my post: Sunday Salon: Is My Kid Stupid? I hope you will drop by.

  3. I've been rereading a lot of old favourites recently - like you, I do feel a bit guilty due to the absolute hugeness of the TBR stack, but decided I really needed to revist some, and so far they've been holding up really well! It's mostly stuff I loved as a kid/early teen at the moment. We were at a car boot sale today and I've found a copy of one of the Babysitter's Club Specials that I adored when I was around twelve or so, so I'm going to reread that later... and try to pretend like I'm not a grown up!!

  4. Ha, I wonder this every so often and like you it's a combination of mountainous TBR and fear of ruining the rosy nostalgia that prevents me doing anything about it. Maybe one day.

  5. You know, I thought I really loved A Wrinkle in Time when I was young, and then I re-read it recently, and one, couldn't actually remember reading it and, two, didn't really like it that much. Nostalgia is nice. Traveling often makes me nostalgic.

  6. Deborah - I'll say and I am! Thanks for stopping by! :)

    Deb - I can imagine! Ooh the smell of a mowed lawn is just delicious and reminds me of childhoods spent making grass castles. Good times. Will stop by your post in a tick!

    Bex - Car boot sales are awesome for that stuff! My maternal grandparents loved car boots and used to get me a new second hand book every week from there. Ah, more nostalgia - what is it with me tonight?! Let me know how a re-read of Babysitter's Club goes, I used to loooove them too when I was about 13!

    Nose in a book - Heh glad I'm not the only one who fears losing the rosy tint!

    Robyn - This is what I'm scared of!! Travelling is very good for a trip down memory lane even if you go somewhere you've never been before you can usually always find something that triggers a past memory. :)

  7. Oh, I love nostalgic reflections...I've been doing it lately by scanning old photos and showcasing them on Saturday Snapshot.

    As for books, I'm almost afraid to reread some of the ones I loved back in the day; first of all, because some of them were rather hefty, like War and Peace, and the Dostoevsky books!

    I did reread Little Women last year, and enjoyed it again!

    Little Men, not so much.

    Like you, I have huge TBR piles, so it might be awhile before I can trip down that reading memory lane.

    Fun to ponder, though.


  8. When I read a favorite book from my past, I get swept up in those old emotions--and I recapture a bittersweet sense of who I used to be. I don't know why, but this kind of nostalgia is very pleasing.

  9. I barely remember this song I don't think I ever saw the video before. Thanks for stopping my by my blog.
    Happy Reading!!

  10. It's so difficult for me to re-read when I have so many books that I want to read for the first time. I still do it for my favorites, though. The only book I've ending up liking less upon reading again a decade later was Wuthering Heights.

    I think it depends on the book. I think the perspective that we come to it with will change as we age and have different life experiences. Interesting food for thought.

    And who knew Tupac liked to read? Not something I would have imagined.

  11. Laurel-Rain - Thanks for coming by! I'd be a bit hesitant to revisit your old favourites too given the heft involved! Glad to hear Little Women stood up to the test of time, though. Have fun with the old snapshots :)

    Bibliophiliac - I so know what you mean, old music has the same effect on me too. I might have to see how an old book makes me feel - it is a lot of fun revisiting the 'old you' sometimes!

    Confuzzled - I'm not sure if Eternal made it to the USA but they were huge in the UK where I was at that stage. Thanks for coming by!

    Kristi - I LOOOOVED Wuthering Heights as a teenager and I don't want to lose that but fear I might now that I know I'm noticeably less tolerant of moony lovesick teenagers ;) I might just want to give Cathy a shake and tell her that broody is not sexy it's just irritating... Yeah, I think I'll leave that one for now! And yep - Tupac was apparently a huge reader! Quote from wikipedia: "He was inspired by a wide variety of writers, including William Shakespeare, Niccolò Machiavelli, Donald Goines, Sun Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Mikhail Bakunin, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Khalil Gibran." Not too shabby!