J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 9 09:23:51 EST 2003

Lizzie wrote:

>I think that there are a lot of books that I read repeatedly when I was
>younger that I wouldn't have the tolerance or the patience to read
>now--especially books in older styles.

I agree with this observation, and I've often wondered about it. My thoughts 
are that children are more tolerant readers because in a sense, they are 
unskilled readers. All reading is more of an effort to them than it is to 
adults, because they are not accustomed to it. Later in life we develop 
habits and "shortcuts" for reading genres we are accustomed to, which has 
many advantages, but also makes reading in genres we are not accustomed too 
seem like too much of an effort.

I remember how difficult it was for me to read Jane Austen for the first 
time. The subtle differences in language and conventions from what I was 
more accustomed to reading made it really difficult for me to get into the 
spirit of "Pride and Prejudice" - but I had to read it for a class. And then 
at some point, I must have mentally "cracked" it. All of the sudden I 
started enjoying the book tremendously. I think this same "cracked it" 
effect happens to child readers all the time, and we forget it as we grow 
old and lazy.

I could not bring myself to reread any E. Nesbitt books, and I used to love 
them. I don't think this is a result of my becoming a more sophisticated and 
discerning reader over the years (though there are definitely authors I 
would now reject on those grounds as well, such as Enid Blyton); I think 
I've just distanced myself too much from her style.

Gili Bar-Hillel
Tel-Aviv, tel.(03)5250014


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