J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sun Feb 9 19:57:50 EST 2003

On Sun, 09 Feb 2003 14:23:51 +0000, Gili Bar-Hillel wrote:

>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.

It's not just adulthood that makes the difference, in my opinion; there are
adults who have never developed sufficient reading skills to be good
readers.  But ideally, children should develop their skills as they grow up
so that as adults, they *are* skilled readers.  In fact, my 14-year-old
sister shocked me recently for NOT exhibiting the kinds of traits I
associate with readers her age.  We were discussing a book by Jane Lindskold
which she hadn't liked, and I was surprised that she could actually
articulate *why* she didn't like it and what she thought would have made it
better.  It would have been far more likely for her to pass it off as just
too hard and not a good book.

>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.

This happened to me with _Name of the Rose_, where I tried reading it at 15
and couldn't get it, and read it two years later and loved it.  The
experience was great on another level, because it helped me get over my
feelings of inadequacy at not liking Dickens.  :)  Clearly I hadn't reached
that level of maturity yet.

>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.

I don't have this problem with Nesbit, though I do notice many more things
about her books and her assumptions than I did as a child.  But in general
I'm reluctant to read many of the books I loved when I was young, because
too often my illusions are shattered.  I would rather keep the fond memories
of books that had meaning to my young self.

Melissa Proffitt

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