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Books and how they differ from your memory of them

Sacked Matt

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on: October 08, 2019, 12:29:29 PM
I was listening to an interview with Philip Pullman today and he discussed his disdain for CS Lewis, particularly in the way that he ended the Narnia series by killing all the children in a train crash. Apologies if that's a spoiler to anyone, although it almost felt like a that for me as I had absolutely no recollection of that happening. I was probably about eight when I read the books with a re-read in my early teens. The second readings at least made me reassess the later books that I had initially found boring although I couldn't say now where I rated them all in the end. I think The Last Battle was always quite hard going with quite a different tone compared to the others, but I wonder now if I ever finished it at all - if I can remember the end of Blakes Seven, surely killing off (apparently all but one of) the children in a seven book series should be at least as traumatic? Maybe I just thought the kids deserved it?

On a similar point, I just picked up a copy of Catcher in the Rye again after only previously reading it at school. If anyone asked me over the last thirty years, I would be highly likely to say it was my favourite book, but half way through at the moment I wonder if we had a tamed down school's edition or something. I recall being pleased with myself at having to read the word bastard out loud in class in one lesson, thinking that was a rare and subversive event - the term is used liberally in the book though, so maybe I was just pleased with my delivery of the word at the time. I also remembered Caulfield's not-quite-encounter with a call-girl in the hotel, but in my memory it had been quite a gentle moment when it really isn't at all. When we started the book in class, the obnoxious fourteen year old me hated it. I can still see why it would have annoyed me at the start as back then the culture of its setting would have meant almost nothing to me at all. I just wonder if it is going to win over the much older obnoxious me at the end this time too. The only conclusion at about half way is that I clearly didn't remember much of the book at all.


Wooster

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Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 04:23:50 PM
I've seen a few people say that reading Catcher in the Rye years later gives them the impression that he's just a whiny teen. (Never read it myself)

I don't think I could read any books I read as a kid again. I couldn't go the Narnia films either (loved the books and had forgotten they all died myself)

..still read Pratchett on a loop though, when I  can't think of, or find, something else.


Glamdring

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Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 06:42:48 PM
Lewis' competitor as it were, is Tolkien. They hated each other. Lewis didn't like the goblins and fairies and Tolkien couldn't do with the Christian allegorical nature of Narnia. Aslan as Christ.
I admit that I never read all the Narnia books, though have a boxed set. I grew tired of them after book three, but I've read Tolkien many times over the years.


Wooster

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Reply #3 on: October 08, 2019, 07:48:45 PM
I might only had read three myself.


Sacked Matt

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Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 10:30:02 AM
Tolkien is another good example for me. While I gave up on the Lord of the Rings half way through the second book, probably just before it got good, I really enjoyed The Hobbit as a kid. After sitting through three rather long films, though, it can only have been an abridged version that I read that only really covered the first film.  The trolls and escaping fron the goblin house was all as I remembered, but nothing in the next five hours of films  rang any bells at all for me - and the films did not make me want to pick up a proper copy really.

I tried Pratchett once from my cousin (who also lent me His Dark Materials) but I am sure she gave me the worst possible one to start with - the first chapter skipped from scene to scene about three times each page and wound me up so badly that I didn't make it to chapter two. I am confident that if I picked up almost any of his other books I would be converted - it could be time to push our eldest towards Pratchett soon and if that works I will pick them up after him.


Wooster

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Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 05:43:36 PM
LoTR did get really good and The Hobbit movie is not like the book. Jackson used it as a base to expand on the stories surrounding it and may have been closer to what Tolkien envisioned if his publisher hadn't convinced him to dramatically shorten it and release it as a childrens book (it was his first publication, so...)

Pratchett has so many books that people have split the reading order into arcs, not by date of publication, and it's a much better way to approach them. (I didn't like the first book I read either, but bear in mind he wrote The Colour of Magic as a bit of a pisstake of the Sword and Sorcery genre and I've since read some of them a dozen times and still laugh at bits I'd forgotten.)

In my opinion the jewels in the crown are the City Watch stories:
1.    Guards! Guards!
2.    Men At Arms
3.    Feet of Clay
4.    Jingo
5.    The Fifth Elephant
6.    Night Watch
7.    Thud!
8.    Snuff

They remind me of Tom Sharpe's stories about the South African Police at times, so you can't go wrong starting again with those.
After that I'd say the Industrial Revolution arc, then Death, the The Witches  then Rincewind (TCOM and TLF will feel a bit weird by that time, since they no longer feel like they really fit in his universe).
There's a list  of the main arcs here: https://discworldreadingorder.azurewebsites.net/TheWatch


Glamdring

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Reply #6 on: October 10, 2019, 11:02:17 AM
For me the Witches rule. Granny is magnificent and I don't regard it as insignificant that she featured in his final novel.
I do like the Vimes novels and I understand where he's coming from, but his dislike of magic and witches and so on is a mark against. There are some wonderful passages in his stories, however, such as when he says he prefers boots with the soles almost worn out because that way he gained a 'feeling' of the city more than he might had the boots been new.

TCOM was my first Pratchett 'read' and I was instantly hooked. I've read it a number of times.

I never bothered with story arcs since I didn't start reading him until he was a few books in so I never caught up. I read them when I found them. I even paid full price for the final novel. By then, even two books before, it was clear he'd lost a little of the magic of his writing, but Raising Steam was brilliant.

I wonder how Vetinari would have coped with Brexit.


Wooster

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Reply #7 on: October 10, 2019, 02:10:20 PM
I've taken to marking passages on my Kindle, the most recent from Reaper Man:
His harem of fat and rather elderly hens, who had been scratching up the dust, bounded unsteadily toward Miss Flitworth in the broken-knicker-elastic runs of hens everywhere.  :smiley:

He also describes the pendulum on Death's clock as: 'gently slicing thin rashers of interval from the bacon of eternity'  :cool:


Glamdring

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Reply #8 on: October 10, 2019, 10:35:26 PM
Both highly apt.