Iím cleaning out my basement, I see some old boxes containing old books, I start reading said books, and this idea for a thread pops into my head. Hereís the thing: which novelist, dramatist, poet or perhaps a specific work did you initially dislike or undervalue but, upon repeated or close readings, started to like or love? And vice versa? In other words, what did you grow into/out of over the years?
Hereís my list, going from what appreciated to what depreciated in my eyes-
1) Austen: I first read P&P in grade 6. And since sheís always been a comfortable old friend, I surprised myself when, several years and many, many readings later, I started unconsciously revising my opinion of her from being this paleolithic but loveable doyenne of romance to someone much more amibivalent and complex. Her novels reflect nothing less.
2) Emily Dickinson: Because she can so kick Sylvia Plathís ass. Seriously, the only reason why Plath is as famous as she is is because of her near-martyrdom at the womanizing hands of Ted Hughes. Anything she has done Dickinson did better. It just, um, takes time to get past her eccentricities of punctuation and the strangeness of her images and metaphors (but thatís what make them good!)
3) A lot of the modernists. A lot. Woolf and Yeats come to mind. Makes sense because at first youíre like ďew!Ē at the elitization and obfuscation of all form and meaning, but then youíre like ďohhhÖI get it(sort of)Ē.
1) Catcher in the Rye: I hate to say it. Salinger is one of my pet authors, but there ya go. Itís always going to be one of those iconic novels, but Iím afraid its charm diminishes as the reader ages (and for some readers the charm never existed at all, but thatís a different story, one which I conclude with ďIf you hated that book when you were really young, you were probably either a) extremely well-adjusted, or b) not someone Iíd have liked to know anyway.Ē)
2) Dickens: applies especially to Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Bleak House. (Does not apply to Great Expectations.) What can I say? The rampant sentimentalism and the lack of an editorís hand get tiring after a while (not that Great Expectations doesnít contain both of those things, but in less measure and alone in other virtues.) At least Dickenís saved from my eternal wrath on account of his being a genius.
Thatís all for now. Thereís many more, but Iím tired of typing out my half-assed explanations. Letís hear your contributions, Ďkay?