Does age change the reading experience?

Have you ever reread a favorite book from your childhood?

Well, I recently reread one of mine, C.S. Lewis’s Narnia novel, The Horse and His Boy, and I discovered something startling.

Time has changed.

No, I don’t mean times have changed (no doubt they have–they always do), but I’m referring to my perception of time–scenes that were clear and detailed in my memory virtually flew past on the page. It was almost like reading an abbreviated version from what I once did.

Or what I remember reading, anyway. Undoubtedly, the text itself hasn’t changed. 🙂

Perhaps the main difference is that I read so much faster now. 2-3 pages were a lot for my six-year-old self, and I don’t think I read much more than that per day. Maybe with more time between words and sentences, my mind was more at leisure to conjure up details? Fill in more blanks, as it were.  Or maybe it was the small amount per day that gave the mind time to elaborate, have the story grow in my subconscious?

Create, in other words. (I have talked before about how reading is creative.)

Regardless, it’s kind of sad in a way, the idea that reading was once a more creative experience than it is today. Is that why I enjoy writing so much, perhaps?

In either case, I’d go nuts now if I had to parcel out a book to only a few pages a day. One of the things I like best about reading is sinking into the experience, the so-called “fictional dream”, and a snippet here and there just doesn’t give the same feeling.

What about you? Have you reread any childhood favorites? How did the experience measure up?

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2 Responses to Does age change the reading experience?

  1. Regina says:

    There’s a book I haven’t touched since I read it as a teenager. I don’t think I want to re-read it because it had such an impact on me and I want to have that memory. I wouldn’t want to read it now and be…disappointed? But maybe it still holds emotional impact? I don’t know, but it is enough that it once held importance in my life. [Not going to say what book it is!]

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