A Week in the Books: Links I Loved the Week of 8/17/18
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Happy Friday! Many of this week’s links are thematic; I’m working on a post about childhood classics (probably up in a week or two), so Anne and Laura and Jo have been on my mind. I seem to be plumbing the darker depths of my childhood favorites this year–and loving it. (Not sure what that says about me.)
More on this soon, but in the meantime, these articles were apt:
Revisiting Childhood Favorites
Anne with an E Is the Anti-Nostalgia Adaptation – The Mary Sue
I’ve enjoyed the new Netflix series Anne with an E, but I know that many Anne devotees do not like it. It’s darker, it’s more diverse, and it brings 21st sensibilities to early 20th century Prince Edward Island.I’m suspicious of nostalgia for supposed “better times,” so I appreciate that the series explores aspects that are only hinted at in the books.
…Anne with an E is entirely its own thing. An adaptation of the books, but also an exploration of the world of Avonlea without a nostalgia interpretation of the past. As Anne would say, it provides scope for the imagination.
The Books That Change Lives: Why the Books We Read When We’re Young Stick With Us Forever – Writer Unboxed
I have a real love of excellent middle-grade books for this very reason: they are the books that shape us and never leave us.
And, unlike real life, where we know the pain of losing someone we love, we never have to lose Stuart Little or Pippi Longstocking. They’re there, waiting for us, forever and ever.
The Lie of Little Women – The Atlantic
Louisa May Alcott is another fascinating author (along with Laura Ingalls Wilder) whose most famous books are not entirely what they seem. Alcott herself did not enjoy the world of Little Women, and her own world and sensibilities strayed far from the idyllic scenes that many readers hold dear.
Jo’s creativity, her nonconformism, and especially her anger—that energy constantly undercuts the sanctimony Alcott dreaded in a genre that she, without blood and thunder, found ways to sabotage in Little Women. Her ambivalence emboldened her to unsettle conventions as she explored women’s place in the home and in the world—wrestling with the claims of realism and sentimentality, the appeal of tradition and reform, the pull of nostalgia and ambition.
I somehow managed to be first on the hold list at my library for Where the Crawdads Sing, a book that fellow bloggers have been raving about. It was released this week, and I’m already loving it.
If you need to be convinced to put it on your TBR, check out Sarah’s, Susie’s, and Catherine’s rave reviews. These three are some of my go-to recommendation sources, so when all three of them are raving, I pay attention.
On the Blog:
Mini-Reviews of Recent Reads — including a new one on my all-time favorite list!
Last year: The 10 Best Books I Read in School (K-College) – speaking of favorite childhood books!
How are you feeling about this trend of exploring the darker depths of childhood classics? Are you along for the ride, or keeping your happy memories of the classics? (No judgment either way!) And, have you read Where the Crawdads Sing?
Yes @ the piece on Little Women! I, for one, am so glad I came to Little Women later in life. Had I read it when I was young, I might have written it off as sentimental guff (as so many readers, very unfortunately, seem to do). Understanding Little Women, its mastery and its subversiveness and it brilliance, only comes through understanding the “darker” side, Alcott’s life circumstances and politics in particular. So, I wholeheartedly support the trend in that particular instance 😉
That said, I’m perhaps a bit of a hypocrite – I was devastated to realise how problematic Enid Blyton’s work was as an older reader. I *loved* her books, collected them and re-read them until their pages fell out, and there’s kind of a shadow over those happy memories now… 🙁
Huh, I’ve never read Enid Blyton. But it is sad when you feel like you shouldn’t read something you loved as a kid. I’ve been wrestling with some of that as well.
I think the sentimentality that so many people dismiss is also what a lot of readers cling to–with Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, etc., and darkening the story with greater context or backstory ruins it for them. I think I loved the coziness of many of those books as a kid, but as an adult I appreciate understanding the context and broader interpretations that make the stories so much more interesting.