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  1. edamame

    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books you wish you had read earlier

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by edamame, Apr 11, 2013.

    Have you ever wished you had read a book earlier on in life? Maybe a classic you neglected to read in school? I didn't read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince" until I was an adult and I always wondered how I would have reacted to it as a child.
     
  2. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's a hard question to answer, because there's a TON of stuff I wish I'd read earlier, but who was I earlier? When I was a kid, I wouldn't have understood a lot of the stuff I value highly now. When I was going through the throes of maturing intellectually (I mean, like a lot of people, I thought I knew everything when I was in university and now that I've learned more, I think I know almost nothing), I would have reacted differently to some things than I do now.

    I haven't stopped growing and learning. Maybe the books come along when I need them. Maybe if certain books had come along earlier, I would be a different person now.

    I do know that I wish I'd encountered Vladimir Nabokov a decade or two earlier than I did. I wish I'd read William Blake before I did. Also Walt Whitman. I'm still waiting to tackle a verse translation of the Divine Comedy - I tried it as a teen, but I wasn't ready. I think I read Hemingway and Steinbeck at the right time, as well as Robinson Jeffers and Anthony Burgess and William Butler Yeats.

    There's a lot to this question, and I'll have to think about it more.
     
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't think of any off the top of my head, but occasionally I've had books that I wish I'd read later in life. I think there are a lot of books that teens read in high school that they aren't really ready for, and as a result, think they're boring. I've had a much better appreciation of some of the classics that I've re-read with "wiser eyes."

    So reading something earlier doesn't necessarily mean you would have gotten out of it what you see now. And it might have even created a negative impression for whatever reason that could make you reluctant to read it later.

    Maybe you read them when you're ready. Just be glad you finally did.
     
  4. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The thing is, I appreciate literature a lot more now than I did back even a few years ago. So there aren't any books I wish I'd read earlier. It's the opposite really. I'd like to revisit some of the books I read during my high school years because I know for a fact I didn't fully appreciate/understand them at the time.
     
  5. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's the same for me. There are books I wish I'd read earlier, but there are also books I was forced to read in school that I wasn't ready for. I wish I'd encountered them later.
     
  6. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    To Kill a Mockingbird. If only my English teacher was better at encouraging our interest.
     
  7. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm actually surprised you guys read that in school. I thought To Kill a Mockingbird wasn't taught outside of the US (and some places in Canada).
     
  8. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    In my state at least, New South Wales, we seemed to use a fair bit of American literature. There was some Aussie stuff, naturally, but we also covered Huck Finn and the British Lord of the Flies. I guess the themes of racism, inequity and injustice are universal.
     
  9. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The first book I consciously thought 'I wish I had read this earlier' was with Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I read it at the end of last year and I just know that my younger self would have liked it. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck too, I really really liked that book. There are, though, a lot more books I'm glad I waited for.

    If you want, PM me and I can suggest a few translations or editions. I know The Comedy is really hard first time around.
     
  10. Caramello Koala

    Caramello Koala Member

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    Not really, I can't think of any book that has had such an impact on my life that I wish I wish I'd read it earlier, but then again I'm still quite young (22). I'm sure this answer will change when I'm an old man.
     
  11. IronPalm

    IronPalm Banned

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    Really wish that I had read The Lord of the Flies when I was 12 years old, instead of 22, and having already read Heart of Darkness when I was 16.

    It was still a very good book, but I couldn't help looking at it as a diminished version of Conrad's classic, intended for a younger audience.
     
  12. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    We study it here in the UK. At least I did. :)
     
  13. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The very opposite happened to me with these two. :( I had them pushed on me too early and by inept hands. Steinbeck in particular. I had a phobia-like abhorrence for his work for too long because of it.
     

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