Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shelf Discovery Mini Challenge

I am so grateful to Nicole from Linus's Blanket for hosting this Shelf Discovery Mini-Challenge!

Here are the details straight from Nicole's post:

One of the things that I have been really curious about in reading these books is how I am interacting with re-reads in comparison to my response to books that I am reading for the very first time. Do I like them more if I had read them in the past, and do they seem to be as realistic or does nostalgia give them a bit of a boost in that department? Am I harder on books that I am just now reading for the first time? More critical? Less accepting of the reality that is presented to me? How are you finding that the reading experiences of books that you have read for the first time as opposed to re-reads compare to each other?

To enter this mini-challenge you have to be a registered participant of The Shelf Discovery Challenge, so if this sounds like fun and you’re not registered, head on over to Julie’s blog to sign up. You can either leave a comment here exploring some of the questions that I have posed or you can write a post on your own blog exploring some of these questions about the books that you have read and leave a link in the comments.

Each entry is in the running to win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble or any other bookseller that will allow me to send you a gift certificate online. You have until Tax Day, April 15th, to enter. I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say!

As part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge, I have read and re-read some of the classic books from my childhood. It has been a wonderful experience for me, so I especially love Nicole's questions about re-reads versus first time reads. Here is a list of what I've read so far:

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET (re-read) - review
THE CAT ATE MY GYMSUIT (1st time) - review
FIFTEEN (1st time) - review
DEENIE (re-read) - review
BLUBBER (re-read) - review
IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (1st time) - review
THEN AGAIN, MAYBE I WON'T (re-read) - review
TIGER EYES (1st time) - review
FOREVER (not sure) - review
THE WESTING GAME (re-read) - review
SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER (1st time) - review

As you can see, I've read (or re-read) a great deal of Judy Blume books as part of this challenge. Besides participating in the mini challenge that Kathy (aka Bermuda Onion) hosted, I also wanted to read her books again as an adult for the exact reasons that Nicole mentions above. I was extremely curious to see how they would "hold up" to me as an adult (and a mother.) And, I have to say that I thought almost all of the books were as wonderful as I remembered. Judy Blume is definitely still one of my favorite authors -- I think I'd go so far as to say she's a genuis! What I found absolutely fascinating though were the number of things that I didn't comprehend from the books as a child. Whether it was because they were references to the changes in our bodies or even references to faith and religion that just went over my head, I feel as if I appreciated these books on an entirely new level. I won't go so far as to say that they were wasted on my youth because I absolutely loved them when I was a kid. I just think that I understood the books on an entirely different level as an adult.

Another book that was one of my favorites as a kid was THE WESTING GAME. I still enjoyed this one a great deal, and I can definitely see why it won the Newbery Award in 1979. I think it has a universal appeal to boy and girls as well as young and old alike! Though it's hard for me to judge it against the excitement of the first time I read it because I did remember the twists and turns and the endings.

As far as my first time reads go, I have thoroughly enjoyed them as well. I definitely think I appreciated SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER more as an adult that I would have as a child. I don't know that I would have picked up on the beautiful writing as well as many of the social commentaries on war, prejudice and abuse. I also enjoyed THE CAT WHO ATE MY GYMSUIT, but I did wonder if today's kids wouldn't think the book was very out-dated. In fact, I asked my 10 year old daughter to read it to get her impression; and she absolutely loved it! But keep in mind, she also loves all the Babysitter Club books which seem a little out-dated to me too.

Overall, I have to say that my re-reads were as good if not better than when I read then the first time. However, I think I have one exception. One of my favorite books as a kid was THE GROUNDING OF GROUP SIX. I was so looking forward to reading this one again (and I actually didn't even remember the book until I saw it again in SHELF DISCOVERY.) I started it a few weeks ago, and I just can't get into it. I can't put my finger on why I don't like it as much, but I'm thinking the almost 30 years difference in my age might be one of the reasons. Or, my expectations could have just been too high!

What a great mini challenge -- thanks so much, Nicole. There are still a few days left to participate. I'd love to read what you think about the books you've read and re-read so far!


bermudaonion said...

I can definitely see where some of the topics hit on in Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and Summer of My German Soldier would be lost on younger readers. I'm glad the re-reads worked out so well for you.

Mystica said...

I've read reviews of Summer of my German Soldier and all have been very good. I'm glad its working out for you.