When I was younger, my father would occasionally buy me books appropriate for my age. And for some reason, I was always disappointed.
“Why didn’t you bring me a Laura Ingalls Wilder book?” I asked over and over.
And he would invariably reply that I’d already read them. Not that he was against re-reading books, mind you, if his well thumbed copies of C. S. Lewis were anything to judge by.
Yes, it’s true. I checked those books out of the library over and over. One of my friends had a boxed set of the entire series, and I will admit to being jealous.
I grew older and moved on to other books. In fifth grade, I discovered fantasy through the Chronicles of Prydain series. In sixth and seventh grade, I went through a horsey phase and read as many of the Black Stallion books as I could get my hands on.
And then I discovered J.R.R. Tolkien. I went through a period in my life where I read the entirety of The Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion every year. I wanted to live in Middle-earth, darn it. I wanted to be an elf in Rivendell, reading these works as if they were history.
At some point, after I’d married and was in the library feeling nostalgic, I went to the children’s section and checked out the Little House series. I went on to read Anne of Green Gables, which I’d somehow missed as a child. I took out the Chronicles of Prydain. I looked the librarian straight in the eye and dared her to comment on the fact that a twenty-something was borrowing children’s books.
And darn it all, if they weren’t just as good rereading them as an adult. In fact, some of the parts I’d thought boring back in the day were more interesting now. I think my least favorite in the Little House series when I was a child was The Long Winter, but as an adult, I could feel the desperation and understood better what they went through to survive that winter. By then, I knew what true cold and blizzards were.
I do own the boxed set of the Little House books now, as well as the Chronicles of Prydain. Ostensibly, I bought them for my children. While my older daughter has read all the Little House books, I can’t get my younger one to read past the fourth one. And neither of them want anything to do with the fantasy stuff. I think Harry Potter–of which I am also a fan as an adult–has something to do with that.
I’m also starting to see the roots of my love of historical romance. Hey, the Chronicles of Prydain had the bickering lovers trope going on! It’s about escaping to another time period and wanting to immerse yourself. Those books do that for me, even if they’re written for a younger set.
Do you have some old favorites you’ve reread on a nostalgia kick? Are they still as good now as they were then?