I’m suffering from a serious bout of nostalgia at the moment. It’s so bad that I’m really struggling to read anything new because all I want to do is revisit my old favourites.

The Hunger GamesI’ve just finished rereading The Hunger Games trilogy and I think I enjoyed it even more this time. Last time I read it I was fed up of Katniss’ wining and ‘woe is me’ attitude by the end of Mockingjay but this time I was more tolerant, she does go through a hell of a lot in those books!

So having finished them I was casting around for what to read next and plenty of names suggested themselves to me; The Clan of the Cave Bear, Brave New World, The Book Thief and so on but the thing is, I’ve read all of them before. So I was stern with myself and started Gulliver’s Travels (which I thought was on The List and have since discovered it isn’t L). But I’m really struggling to get into it and I think one of the main reasons is that I still have all those other titles in my head and I want to be reading them instead.

ChocolatSo what is it that drives us to revisit old favourites? For instance, I’ve read Chocolat at least a dozen times but I still keep going back. The same with the Harry Potter series. Often it’s just that a story is so well written that it bears reading again and again. Well-constructed characters, especially those who we follow for a long time, can become like real friends and the thought of never hearing from them again can lead you to go back and read their stories another time. And a story that grips you once is more likely than not going to keep you hooked when you reread it.

Which brings me to another point – no nasty surprises. I hate knowing what happens in a book the first time I read it, spoilers are bad, but the second time round it can be comforting to know that the bad things you envision happening won’t. Your favourite character won’t fall down that cliff or get offed by the bad guy and the bad guy will get his comeuppance eventually. It leaves you free to enjoy the story in peace and, importantly, at a slower pace than the first time. There’s none (or maybe that should be less) of that racing through and skipping out all the descriptive details to find out who perished in the landslide or who was holding the murder weapon. I often find that I get more out of a book the second time round.

But having said all that I should probably confess that I am just a hopeless nostalgic. I’m one of those people that clings onto every train ticket, every holiday receipt, newspapers with reports on events I was at, everything. You know those old women who end up in a house full of clutter because everything has too many memories to throw away? That’s me, just without the ‘old’.

CasualtyTo prove this my favourite occupation at the moment is to watch old episodes of Casualty (for non-BBC viewers, Casualty is a drama set in a hospital emergency department and has been a fixture of Saturday night TV here in England since 1986). The episodes are all available on YouTube in 10 minute segments (it’s a 50 minute programme) and while I can get through 1 or 2 a night, I have lost whole weekends this way. One of the best things is that whenever they have music in an episode I get a double hit of TV and music nostalgia – last night’s episode contained tracks for S Club 7 and Steps, I was overjoyed!

I don’t think there’s much hope of a cure for me and what’s more, I don’t want one. I’m perfectly happy wallowing in my nostalgia the only downside is when it gets so bad I can’t enjoy new things but I’m halfway through Gulliver now and I’m reading The Clan of the Cave Bear in a morning so I get both old and new in one day.





13 responses to “Nostalgia

  1. I love The Clan of the Cave Bear! It’s definitely one of my favourite re-reads. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with re-reading books. As you said, it’s very comforting and and great for those lazy days when you don’t want your brain to have to do any work.

    Great post!

    • It’s actually the first time I’ve reread it so I’m a little nervous – what if I don’t like it as much as I did last time?? So far I’m not loving it but I think I remember it being a bit slow to get going. Have you read the rest of the series? What did you make of it if you have?

      You’re right, not needing your brain to do any work should definitely have been one of my reasons!!

      • I haven’t read the whole series yet. I first got them from the library a couple of years ago and then forgot which ones I’d already read (I think I’ve read 4 of them, but they all have unremarkable names, except for the first one) so I’ve bought the first two. A lot of people think that they are too slow, but I quite like the pacing. I feel like I really get a sense of the landscape and the life she leads. The second one kind of frustrates me because we have to pov of two different people and I kept wondering when they were going to meet. I’ve only read that one once, so I’m curious to find out what I’ll think about it the second time around. Maybe I won’t get so frustrated since I know that they won’t meet until the end of the book.

        Have you read the entire series?

      • I have read them all but the first was by far the best. I HATED the sixth one, it’s almost not worth reading and I sent my copy to the charity shop and i’m not going to read it again.

        I was definitely the same abotu the second one, I knew from teh blurb that they were going to meet but it took so long for it to happen! You’re right though I quite like the pace as well, I especially like reading about the plants they eat or use as medicine and I love the descriptions of tools, it’s just when the description runs away with her a bit that I start skipping bits.

      • Oh no! I was definitely looking forward to reading the later ones. I wonder if it’s a case of the series going on too long. I’m really curious to read them now. It’s so bad that I want to read things that other people think are bad. But I guess, I just want to be able to have an informed opinion. It’s a bit sadistic, though… 😀

      • It could be, I haven’t read any good reviews of the last one and they all seem to complain about the same things I hated which is nice! I agree about wanting to have an informed opinion and I don’t want to tell you why I hated it in case I prejudice you! I enjoyed all the others though, it’s just the very last one…

  2. As glad as I am to discover new books and authors, I definitely go through certain times when I want to revisit my favorites. People who never re-read are missing out.

    • Absolutely! I remember my Dad asking me why I was watching a film for the umpteenth time because he couldn’t understand what I was getting out of it but there’s so much you miss the first/second/third time whether it’s a film or a book.

      • And even even if you don’t get anything *new* out of it, that doesn’t mean you’re not getting *anything* out of it! It’s not necessarily about the story, or knowing what happens, it’s about the reaction it brings out in you. People listen to favorite songs again and again and no one questions it… why is music so different from other art/entertainment in that regard?

      • Interesting point, maybe it’s because listening to a song only takes 3-4 minutes whereas a film is 2-3 hours and a book could be weeks? So maybe people think it’s a lot of effort when you know what’s going to happen? I definitely get a lot out of rereading/watching whether it’s new or not.

  3. I am exactly the same, it’s terrible! Battling the want to reread something amazing or potentially discover something newly amazing is always hard. But sometimes, I think it is good to just give in, after all, there’s no point reading a book if your mind can’t stop thinking about another because them you don’t win either way. 🙂

    • That’s true and I think Gulliver is suffering because my heart isn’t in it 😦 Usually I don’t have as much of a problem with reading something new it’s just at the moment I really don’t want to stray from what I know!

  4. Pingback: The Hunger Games Trilogy | Books on the Tube

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