Monday, November 1, 2010

Going back to old favorites

I regularly return to books and TV shows that are part of my past. There are familiar friends and faces. Books that I have memorized passages to, TV shows where I hear the dialogue and visualize every move the actors make. I sometimes feel silly returning to these, especially children's books. I don't tend to carry around Anne of Green Gables to read on the bus or at the doctor's office. But recently I went back to several books I hadn't read in over a decade.

Now some of you have probably never read the Anne of Green Gables series, and for that I feel sorry for you. I reread several of the books in the series every few years, but the first book was one I never particularly liked. Unlike millions around the world, the childish, rambling, daydreaming Anne was not as interesting to me as the Anne in book three. While Anne of the Island will forever be my favorite, it was nice to the back to the whole series; to read the books in context. Similarly I just read three of Madeleine L'Engle's Austin books. these are books that I normally read one at a time spread throughout the year. I know every twist and turn, but watching the family grow up instead of reading the books individually makes a difference. if I had copies of all that the Betsy-Tacy books, I'm guessing I would be reading those too.

My TV series of choice is, of course, The West Wing. watching new shows is interesting and amusing and something I do often (perhaps too often), but most shows don't have the gravitas of The West Wing. I started a self-imposed ban on West Wing marathons last November. A one-year ban. Partly to see if I could do it, and partly to stop myself from enduring the teasing from my non-West Wing obsessed boyfriend. I did it. But in the meantime I got addicted to several more new shows so I don't know if that was a net gain.

Escape into the familiar past is nothing new, for me or most others. Recently, I've probably been delving in because the worlds in these books are so very different from my own, i.e. no one is working on a PhD in computer science in any of them. So, I've 'fessed up to some weaknesses, what are yours?


Anonymous said...

Watching Dr. Who.

Any time it is available.

Simon said...

Somewhat embarrassingly, I didn't read any Anne of Green Gables books until right before I went to Prince Edward Island with Lindsey. My love for the story was based entirely on the PBS miniseries (which you've seen... RIGHT?) When I was younger I tried repeatedly to get into the first book and I never got past that huge speech she does when Matthew is driving her to Green Gables for the first time. I was all SHUT UP, ANNE! But when I read it as an adult I was much more amused by it. I think Anne of Windy Poplars was my favorite. I liked her cosy tower room. I need to go back and finish the rest of the series.

My friend Otto refers to movies we go back to time and again as "comfort movies." (Or "comfort tv" as the case may be.) I return to The West Wing fairly often, and second to that, the Ruth Wilson version of Jane Eyre and the fantastic BBC adaptation of Bleak House. And I usually find myself reading one or more of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles each year -- they just never get old. I love going back to old things. It's just like home.

Katie said...

Michael - Why am I not surprised? They're in my queue, but I haven't seen them yet.

Simon - Really? That's amazing. I think I've seen the mini series, the one with Megan Follows. I first read the book when I was little, so I assume it was read aloud to me, hence why I could handle the monologues. Anne of Windy Populars is probably my second favorite. She is so cute. Especially when her pen quill is just right :) Also, I haven't read any Dunnett and haven't seen Jane Eyre or Bleak House. I'll have to do that.