Books you loved... until you read them again

Pancake

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I spent hours down a rabbit hole in this Reddit thread

Where the OP shared his experience rereading a series he loved years ago. What followed were so many great stories of people identifying with certain books only to realize later they no longer do. Sometimes it’s the writing itself that isn’t nearly as good as your more mature tastes remember, or the content hasn’t stood the test of time, sometimes even becoming problematic as society changes, and sometimes it’s because once learning more about the author some just couldn’t enjoy their work anymore.

Do you have any experiences like that? Or a favourite book you won’t read again for fear it won’t be as good a second time?

I couldn’t believe how many of the books people named as their long time favourites, the books that made them love reading, were the same as mine. I’m curious if that’s the case in this community as well.

How about the reverse? Books that seem to get better with a second read?
 
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Shiloh Lyric

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I haven't had that experience lately, but I remember years and years ago, my mom and I used to like to read books by Robin Cook. I think the first one I read was Coma. Then several years passed where I didn't read anything by him, went on to other authors like Nora Roberts/JD Robb, etc. Until one day I picked up an old Robin cook book to reread, and realized how very BAD he is at dialogue. It's stilted and always much more formal than even conversation with a casual acquaintance. Even doctors don't talk that way in everyday encounters outside the operating room.

So while the plots are good, characters are mostly developed...I could never again get past the awful dialogue. I don't know if it ever got better because I haven't read one of his books since. :(
 
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Beebo Brink

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The Lord of the Rings is top of my list. I must have read this 3 or 4 times as a teenager, but when I tried to re-read the first volume as an adult (probably somewhere in my 30s), I was horrified by the writing style. It was just block after block of short sentences, a plodding repetitious sentence structure that was serviceable in delivering plot but devoid of any subtlety or elegance.

I was also terribly disappointed in the Dragonriders of Pern, for much the same reason. Anne McCaffrey built this wonderful magical world, such a creative vision, but it was delivered with marginally readable prose and a lack of depth for the human characters. She was one of my favorite writers when I was a teenager, but an adult perspective (especially once I was writing myself) changed my reaction.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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I once read all of the Thomas Covenant series [well, whatever had been out when I was younger], and I just never liked the main character, and I think I only read them to see if he ever redeemed himself, but he never really did. But, I guess that's not the topic.

A book I really loved that I didn't like so much when I was older. Water Babies; as a child, I didn't really notice the ethnicism and racism for all the magical elements, but while I still enjoyed the magical elements when I read it a few years ago, and could accept that historical backdrop of the problematic parts, it still was just not as enjoyable.
 

Fionalein

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Lord of the Rings looses much upon reading the Simarillion. I now know what those obscure historical references refer to. Much of the wonder is lost now.
 
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Fionalein

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I thought long and I might toss Sun Tzu's Art of War in here... when reading it again I wonder what his message is. There is this whole book that just boils down to "think before you act"... Maybe I'm stupid but I miss spotting it's brilliance.
 
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Kamilah Hauptmann

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I thought long and I might toss Sun Tzu's Art of War in here... when reading it again I wonder what his message is. There is whole book that just boils down to "think before you act"... Maybe I'm stupid but I miss spotting it's brilliance.
Don Quixote was a madcap romp back in it's day, a regular comical Fast and Furious.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Anything by Piers Anthony. Prolific pulp that was fun as a teen but I can't get through more than a few pages as an adult without eyeroll eyestrain.
 
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Arilynn

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Read The Fault in Our Stars in one day and was so captivated I immediately went from the last page to the first and reread it that night. And hated it with as much passion as I initially loved it. A few weeks later, I reread it and still hated it. After nearly a year, I reread it yet again and could find the charm and artistry in it.


...This belongs in a confessions thread as it makes me sound bonkers. :ashamed:
 

Ashiri

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I really don't know where to begin but The Hitchhiker's series would be one. There's a lot I have read and on thinking back ...
 
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Kara Spengler

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Various YA books I remembered as being much more complex. Some fave authors [Heinlein anyone] who now I can see things in the book I did not see as a kid.
 

Book_Thief

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L. J. Smith books like The Night World series:D as a teen I really liked the secrecy of supernatural societies residing in human communities, masking their identities and nature while having conflicts of their own kinds. But the love stories are the main aspect of these books, so the second time I attempted to read them, I was bit like, ugh no. Appealing to the young mind, but nothing really enjoyable for older ones, I suppose
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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I'm sure if I thought long enough I could think of a book or series that I don't like anymore for some literary reason like you all are describing. But right now, I will say that when I read the thread title the first book I think of right away is called A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which is by Madeleine L'Engle and is the third book in her "A Wrinkle In Time" series.

In A Swiftly Tilting Planet there's a terrorist who intends to destroy the world with nuclear weapons, and the book's protagonist, an adult Charles Wallace, has to go back in time and interact with the terrorist's ancestors, changing the past in just the right way that the terrorist ends up not becoming a terrorist in the present. So, you know, basically it's an episode of Quantum Leap. Except written in 1978.

The book - well the whole series really - is YA. Like very YA. So I won't criticize the writing or plot or dialogue or anything like that; I suppose they're fine enough. But I cannot engage with this book anymore, because one of the super-major characters in the book - one of the terrorist's ancestors - is "Madoc", a Welsh prince who started out as a fictional character in medieval literature but ended up becoming an important figure in a major real-world fake-history claim that says he and several followers left Wales in the 12th century and landed in America, where they taught Indians how to speak Welsh and built several earthworks that white Europeans refused to believe Native Americans could have built. In the Colonial Age the story became popular in Britain because it was used to argue that Madoc's supposed settlement in the 12th century gave the British a stronger claim to the Americas than the Spanish had since they had only "discovered" it in the 15th century. But the myth has persisted since then; in fact, even Thomas Jefferson believed it enough that one of the things the Lewis and Clark Expedition was tasked with finding were the descendants of Madoc's Welsh-speaking Indians (and that was far from the only dubious thing that Jefferson ordered Lewis and Clark to keep an eye out for; but I digress).

So yeah, L'Engle strongly believed in this bit of phony history and made Madoc a central character of this book, and it bothers me enough that I can't enjoy it anymore since I've learned about all that background. It's funny because L'Engle is very much like C.S. Lewis in that her books contain a fair amount of explicit Judeo-Christian themes and references - I mean, they literally meet angels...and (in the next book) Noah (yeah THAT one), and I'm perfectly okay with ALL of that despite not being religious. But the fake real-world history, I can't abide. Boooo phony history. Luckily the events of this book aren't referenced in a crucial way in later books - the next one (Many Waters) is chronologically earlier, and the ones after that happen a generation later, so I'm easily able to just pretend Planet doesn't exist and still enjoy the rest of the series just fine.

P.S. Lewis and Clark never found the Welsh-speaking Indians by the way, because they weren't real.
 
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Rose Karuna

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When I was a kid, if I had a Heinlein book in my hand, chance are I was not going to put it down until I'd finished it. I started with "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls" and pretty much have read every other book he's written. I recently tried to re-read "Stranger in a Strange Land" and meh, could not get into it and also realized that Heinlein was a bit of a misogynist. :rolleyes:

The other book series that absolutely changed my life as a kid was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. Up until that time I honestly didn't know that other kids might have an alcoholic parent or were poor or had to work to help the family or take care of their siblings. These were things that people were very tight lipped about back in the 50's and 60's. One did not talk about alcoholism, but they did mock you behind your back and look down on your entire family if one of your parents suffered from it (even adults and teachers).

Reading this gave me hope and truly, gave me a focus to find a way out of my situation for myself and my brothers. However, reading the books again as an adult, was way, way, way too painful and I could not get past the middle of the first book.
 

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When I was a kid, if I had a Heinlein book in my hand, chance are I was not going to put it down until I'd finished it. I started with "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls" and pretty much have read every other book he's written. I recently tried to re-read "Stranger in a Strange Land" and meh, could not get into it and also realized that Heinlein was a bit of a misogynist. :rolleyes:
Pick nearly any SF novel from the 40-70s. Almost all of them are difficult to get through if not unreadable to me as an adult.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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Anything by Piers Anthony. Prolific pulp that was fun as a teen but I can't get through more than a few pages as an adult without eyeroll eyestrain.
Mostly agree, with the sole exception of Macroscope. Which seems to have been his attempt to write a serious novel and it's still kind of interesting, at least as of the last time I read it around 2010.
 
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Jopsy Pendragon

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I gave up on fantasy and a lot of sci-fi for a long time because of so many bad or lackluster first experiences with titles other's enjoyed, at least once.

But after slogging through the first book and a third, I have to say few turned me off more than the Thomas Covenant books. I find myself overcome with the compulsion to mock them every time they're brought to my attention...

"And painfully he lifted his tragic foot and placed it slightly further along the endless perfect rolling green hills. Rolling hills so precise, unvaried, and endless that they extended in all directions as far as the mind could imagine. He whined, ever so slightly under the weight of supreme futility as it rested on him like a lover's absence. Resentfully resigned, he took another step into the oblivion shaped by the stark contrast between his profoundly flawed self and the trite pristine expanse of this and many other similarly one-note demesnes to come. Cursing his fate, he dragged us along with him as his imperfect foot took yet another step leaving his mark of corruption upon the innocent perfectly green grass beneath his foot."​
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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Frank Herbert is pretty unreadable to me, to be honest. I got through Dune but I couldn't handle the sequels.