Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rereading is Fundamental

Over this past holiday weekend,I put most of my current reading material aside and got reacquainted with Different Seasons,one of Stephen King's best collections of novellas(long short stories).

Three of the four stories in Different Seasons have been the basis for some very good films-"Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption(better known as The Shawshank Redemption),"The Body"(Stand By Me)and Apt Pupil(which was allowed to keep it's original title).

The final story,"The Breathing Method" is well done but more suited to a TV anthology series like Nightmares and Dreamscapes,for example, than a full length feature film.

So,why did I feel the need to do that? Well,I'm not entirely sure. It's been several years since I read Different Seasons and since I recently worked on a short story myself,perhaps that might have triggered the urge to go back to such familiar country. Not that I have any shot in hell of being anywhere near as good as King is,but also,I don't read as many short story collections as many literary folks do.

Short stories are great,but to me,it's more like having a few snacks before getting to the main course,which to me is a novel. Granted,novellas are much meatier yet my preference is to soak in a mental bubble bath than take a quick brain shower . I did enjoy revisiting Different Seasons quite a bit,it really cleared my head and reminded me of the elegance of a tale well told.

One reread seems to have begotten another,as I decided to brush up on my classics reading pile and found myself turning to Jane Eyre,which I haven't read in over a decade.

Jane Eyre was one of those books that I read numerous times in my childhood,along with Heidi and Black Beauty,that made an early impact on my reading tastes but one that I thought I had outgrown,like liverwurst sandwiches and Bubble Yum(an odd combo,but trust me,I never had the two together).

I was tempted to pick it up again after reading Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair and then again after finally tackling Wuthering Heights(which is a damn depressing story and one I don't care to ever revisit). But,no,my intent to reread Jane Eyre was sparked up by hearing Rory Gilmore try to talk Dean into a "little Charlotte Bronte" and by the end of the night,I was over thirty pages into the story.

Right away,I can see what drew me to Eyre in the first place-her being picked on as a child and her later adult status as governess(which didn't lend itself to being a social butterfly in those times,it was highly discouraged)certainly made Jane very identifiable to those in the Freaks and Geeks crowd. It also gave one hope that you might find your own Mr. Rochester,sans the crazy wife in the attic of course(Orson Welles was the best on screen Rochester,in my humble opinion).

And will yet another reread follow this one? Perhaps. I did recently buy a copy of A Little Princess,which I loved as a kid. Everyone else always praises The Secret Garden when they talk about Frances Hodgson Burnett but I would rather hang out with Sara Crewe than Mary Lennox any time(never did read Little Lord Fauntleroy,wonder if that's still in print?).

Sara was genuinely sweet and good natured,which can put some people off, but her powers of imagination were her real strength. Part of the reason that the book holds up today is that it's a great lesson in how to cope with changing circumstances and tough times without losing the best part of yourself. That's what I got out of it,anyway.

I'm still reading my usual number of new books but will tuck into an old favorite every now and then to refresh my senses. An important component of book love is to
enjoy reading for it's own sake,and a good reread helps you to do just that. Balance in all things keeps the world going,especially when it comes to books.


Ladytink_534 said...

I love Stephen King’s books! My favorite re-read of his would have to be The Stand but Different Seasons would be a close second. I’ve read The Body at least 5 times over the years but of course I’ve seen Shawshank and Stand By Me much more. Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors. Now I want to watch them again lol! Apt Pupil was pretty good but not my favorite even though it did have Ian McKellen. Didn’t the kid in that movie die recently?

It’s been a long time since I read Jane Eyre, middle school I think but I remember really liking it. I recently read a book that reminded me of it, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. For me it was Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, and Where the Red Fern Grows when I was a kid. I’m not sure if I ever read A Little Princess but I liked the Shirley Temple movie. I’m not sure if Fauntleroy is still in print either but I know for a fact that you can read it online.

lady t said...

Yeah,LadyTink,Brad Renfro,who played Todd Bowden in the movie,died from an overdose(shame,the kid had talent). Apt Pupil is very creepy and Ian Mc Kellan was excellent(Bryan Singer directed AP,so he must love working with McKellan).

The Stand is one of my favorite King novels,too and out of his early work,I would have to pick 'Salem's Lot as my favorite re-read(which has never,in my opinion,been adapted well as a TV miniseries. Maybe if it had been made for HBO or Showtime...)

The Thirteenth Tale is a wonderful book and it does have a bit of a Jane Eyre vibe to it. Thanks for the heads-up on the online LLF;I'll have to check that out:)