On rereading your childhood favourites


For most of us who are avid readers, our love for literature stemmed from the beginning of our lives. I’ve seen and read lots of other bloggers in the book blogging community share how they grew up loving books and started reading from an early age. I myself also adored reading when I was young – my parents even said that I already loved books before I could even read, by asking them to reread my favourite picture books again and again.

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When I was a preteen, I would reread my books constantly. These were before the Goodreads days, and I remember I would spend weekend afternoons perusing my bookshelf, looking at the books I have not read in a while (and as in a while I mean, six months maximum), and pick them up and if I’m in the mood, reread them within a few days.

Now that I live abroad, whenever I’d come back home I would try and pick up old childhood novels in my bookshelf and reread them. That sense of nostalgia and the memories of great adventures and amazing experiences I had reading these childhood books really pulled me to read them again and experience these worlds again.

Some of my favourite books I read before I was the age of 12:

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In the past few years I would try and pick up the childhood favourites that I remember fondly.

77767I reread Little House on the Prairie two summers ago, a book that was part of one of my favourite series when I was in middle school. I adored Laura as a character, and the descriptions of making everything from scratch has a sense of wonder to me that I loved reading about.

After rereading Little House on the Prairie, I found myself falling back in love with the simple yet beautiful writing that takes me back in time. Laura and her family, her innocence and the summer heat, the dog and their journey across America were all the things I loved again. Even though later on I discovered the possibility that all the stories Ingalls wrote weren’t as lovely as they are in real life, and after finding out an available biography of the real life of Laura Ingalls, I still felt this childhood story was a wonderful reread.

3Another book that I similarly fell back in love with was of course the classic Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Yet another novel that I had often reread when I was in elementary school, I found myself not having read the entire series for over three years until I bought the audiobook for the first book, narrated by Stephen Fry. Rereading the book with a different medium, and exploring the wizarding world with one of my favourite main characters I’ve ever read, I was thoroughly bewitched and loved every second of my relisten. I picked up a lot of detail that I had forgotten after years of not reading the book, and it felt like a whole new experience because this time I was listening to it. Check out my full review of all the times I read this book in my Goodreads.

857639However I had a different experience with one of my favourite authors in my childhood: Cornelia Funke. In my teenage years I begged my mom to buy me all of Funke’s English novels: from the Inkheart series to her stand-alones, I used to devour them. I reread The Thief Lord, a novel by her about two brothers lost in Venice and found myself thinking that it wasn’t a very good book at all. It really ruined my view of myself as a child, loving this book. It made me wonder about the books I thought were amazing when I was little – were they really that good?

It was an AMAZING book! I asked my mom to buy it in Manila (Philippine), because I like Cornelia Funke and I hope this book is good. It was great (even though not as great as Inkheart), but it’s still good. The plot is great! My favorite character is definitely Scipio. Poor him, but I think he will be a great detective! 🙂

My review of the book when I first read it in 2009 – rated 5/5 stars

When I first read this book I was like 12 years old. I guess I was just young and easily impressed because I rated it 5/5 stars. When I reread this again, I thought that the book didn’t deserve that rating AT ALL.

I don’t know if it was just because of my young and inexperienced mind or because this was a translated book or because the story was actually meant for children, but I just didn’t like the book at all. For one thing, the characters weren’t very interesting or sophisticated. Apart from Prosper and maybe Scipio, the others were just bland and didn’t really make sense for me.

In addition to that, the story itself was just really weird. I just didn’t understand the sci-fi or fantasy part of the book that just suddenly appeared in the middle of the story and the overall plot, how everything turned out and how the writer didn’t really show or tell about the effects of what the plot did to the characters.

Overall I thought this was a very terrible book – I don’t even think it is a good children’s book, but I guess it just made a lot of money from the fact that it was able to be translated from its original language to English. But honestly, I don’t get why everyone (including me 5 years ago) was so pumped up about Cornelia Funke, and especially, this book.

My review of the book when I reread it in 2012 – rated 2/5 stars. Full review in my Goodreads here.

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Of course as a person grows up, they also mature in thoughts and experience, and certainly in reading taste. I personally have matured in my reading, and have become more critical when reviewing my books. However the fact remains that I did still love some of the childhood books that I reread. Is that a hit or miss situation? Or do I need to just stop rereading my childhood favourites altogether, just so I do not end up disliking them after rereading it as an adult?

It’s definitely a series of tough questions, and definitely food for thought. But now I’m bringing the questions back to you guys. Do you reread the books you used to love as a child, and do your opinions on those books change as you are now older? Have you ever considered, like me, to just let the past be the past, and leave my childhood favourites remain favourites by not revising them at all, therefore being immune to the possibility of them being not as good as I thought they were over ten years ago? Definitely let me know in the comments, and let us discuss this topic together!

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As always, don’t forget to follow me on Goodreads and Instagram for more bookish updates. And I’ll see you all in my next post, coming up every Monday morning! Hope you have a lovely day 🙂

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33 thoughts on “On rereading your childhood favourites

  1. I rarely reread books. I suppose I’m worried I won’t love them as much years later, but it’s also because of how many new books I’m always excited to get to. I love the idea of rereading though, and I wish I did it a little more often.

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  2. This is such a great post! I totally understand the hesitation to rereading childhood favourites. I reread the Little House books a couple of years ago when my sister was reading them, and I still enjoyed them but the racism was so blatant and I had to remember that they were written in a very different time. That’s too bad about the Thief Lord! I actually just reread it this summer, and remember how much I loved it the first time around. But there are definitely some books I know I won’t like if I reread them, so I’ve been avoiding them

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  3. Such an interesting post! I like to reread books but admittedly, I don’t tend to pick up childhood favourites very often. I think I’m scared of ruining the fond memories I have! I’ve actually wanted to reread Harry Potter as I haven’t read it in 10 years – but I’m terrified I’ll be more critical of it these days!

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    1. Thanks Alex ❤ I tend to feel the same thing now that I've had some mixed results of rereading childhood favs. Rereading Harry Potter did not change my opinions of it, though 🙂

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  4. I can’t remember the last time that I reread a book. But it must have been more than a decade ago. There are so many books that I want to read for the first time that rereading almost feels like a waste time (although it isn’t).
    I’ve been thinking about the possibility of rereading some old favourites in the future, though. But not ones that I read as a child. I don’t remember most of them to be honest. Harry Potter only became massive on my early teens, so I never think about them as children’s books.

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  5. Don’t be hard on your younger self. As you said, people mature and change and so do their reading taste. Plus the more you read the better you’re able to distinguish between a well-written or good book and a bad one.
    I often reread my childhood favorites and am currently rereading one now, though I guess I can count it as a first read since I’ve forgotten everything about it except the illustrations. I can tell it’s not a great book, but I loved it so much as a kid that the memory of the feelings I had while reading (happy, fuzzy feelings) have stayed with me all these years and drove me to search for this book until I finally found it. It’s Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood. This book, the Narnia books, and the Neverending Story are what hooked me to the fantasy genre at an early age and I appreciate that.

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    1. Yes, I’ve also always wanted to reread my Enid Blyton favourites again… especially the Famous Five series! 🙂 I also have forgotten so much of it that I know it’ll be like the first time reading it.

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  6. I love rereading! I find rereading favourites to be akin to comfort food on a rainy day. For example I used to reread Heidi every time I was bedridden with the flu or something. I haven’t done that in nearly 10 years though… Another time I was at yard sale and saw someone selling Baby Sitter Club books. I got so excited it was embarrassing! As for the little house series I tried rereading them once but found them so racist I stopped before I completely spoiled the wholesome memories I had of it. When my niece was born a few years ago I was super excited and couldn’t wait for her to grow enough for me to share my books with her so we could read them together…

    And its not just childhood favourites I reread. I’ve reread “A hundred years of solitude” countless times and I just finished rereading “The Goldfinch”. To be honest at times I wonder where I find time to read new novels if I’m always rereading something!

    The way I see it if the book is good it will stand the test of time. You might notice things you didn’t as a child and perhaps need to remind yourself of the era it was written in but ultimately I believe great books were meant to be reread and you should always be able to find joy in them. 🙂

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  7. Oh! I just realized one big exception to the above for me is Balzac’s “Old Goriot”. I was so mesmerized by it when I read it that I haven’t even read anything else by Balzac for fear of spoiling the perfect image I have of his writing style.

    But perhaps its time I did….

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  8. I’ve always wondered if I’d like the same books as I did when I was younger. Especially the Twilight series but, I just can never get myself to reread any books. There are so many out there– I don’t wanna waste my time rereading the same stuff, y’know?

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  9. Usually I left old books, staying old. Sometimes my memory, despite not remembering everything, is still ticked off by some details, so I tend to remember what is going to happen (no fun to me). But also I definitely changed my taste, so unless the book wasn’t a really particular one, I cannot enjoy it that much.

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  10. This is a really interesting post! I feel the opposite to you regarding Harry Potter, I’m rereading the series and I’m starting to realise how problematic it is. Constant fat shaming (JKR was 30, she was already a grown woman), especially by Hagrid (and his prejudice against muggles), Hagrid attacking Dudley because he’s angry at Vernon. Really, it’s all very fucked up. After I finish I know I’m going to say that it deserves to be thrown away in the garbage.

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  11. I’m always apprehensive revisiting old favorites, because I don’t want my feelings about the book to be changed like yours was with The Thief Lord! It makes sense that we react differently at different ages, but it is a little sad when something you used to love loses that magic. There are definitely a few old favorites that I don’t want to revisit because I’m scared of that happening! Luckily, there are still a few (Harry Potter!) that I can read again and again without getting tired of them 🙂

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    1. Thanks Margaret. I absolutely feel the same way with Harry Potter ❤ I am looking forward to rereading the series with audiobooks to get a whole different feeling 🙂

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