Book Talk: Too Old (or Too Young) For That Stuff

18:00 Cilla P 4 Comments


No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond. - C.S. Lewis.

I first read the Princess Diaries series when I was eleven. Now at twenty four, I'm revisiting the series to prepare myself for its latest installment, Royal Wedding. The further I get in the series, the more aware I am of how different my feelings are about them to the way my eleven-year-old self responded to Mia's adventures. For instance, I grew impatient with her obsession about whether her boyfriend is in love with her or loves her as a friend, whereas before it had never bothered me. You can read my thoughts of each book so far here+, but basically I now struggle to fully connect with Mia. I don't want to say it now since there's the new book where she's about my age, but it is entirely possible - at this stage of my re-read - that I've outgrown this series.

The opposite happened with my re-read of Animorphs. When I read it the first time, it was just a fun, big adventure with aliens and cool powers. The second time around, I noticed the psychological issues the heroes were battling with. Here, my being older actually makes the reading experience better.

These got me wondering if Mr. Lewis is right with what he said above. I suppose it depends on what he meant by 'worth reading'. For me, a book is worth reading when it can make me feel something (other than boredom, that is). If it makes me cry, laugh, or think about something, it's not a waste of my time. In that sense, Princess Diaries is still worth reading, for it makes me reflect on my own teenage years. I still root for Mia to reach this level of confidence:



Also, just because I love a book less when I'm older, does it mean it wasn't that good of a book to begin with? I'm not sure. I have had friends whom I loved while we were close, but we parted ways anyway as life takes us in different directions. Sure, in hindsight, one or two of those friends might have been less-than-stellar people and I am better off without them, but most of them were perfectly nice. We just don't fit together anymore. Books are kind of like that. I change as a person, so my interests and tastes change too. I'm a Psychology graduate, of course I notice the morality and emotional aspects of Animorphs now. I no longer agonise over boys and my body the way I did at fourteen (thank goodness), so I don't share Mia's angst any more. It's not them, it's me.

I can only think of a handful of books I read at ten years old that I'm sure will always strike a chord with me, no matter how old I get. Harry Potter is not a story I'd ever outgrow, nor is Little House. For everything else, ask me again when I'm fifty.

Have you ever felt like you've outgrown a book? Or, have you ever grown into a book and loved it more upon a re-read?

4 comments:

  1. I think a book is worth reading quite simply if you liked the book. Some times you just need to escape and books are good for that. Anyway, I love ya but some characters are a pain to read and some times it's because I can't relate to impatient-i-know-it-all teen attitude I know I use to have.

    http://worthreadingit.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-discussion-challenge-happy-ending.html

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    1. I agree - sometimes you just need an escape. Lol, I know what you mean about that attitude. On one hand I can remind myself that they're teenagers, on the other hand, it's so exasperating.

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  2. I agree with you that a book is still worth reading, even if it won't be as stellar to you at a different point in your life. If you got something out of that series when you were younger, that's fantastic! Your feelings now don't alter the fact that you loved it then. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)