"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Books that have improved in my memory over time

I keep annotated journal entries of all the books I read. I've been doing this since 1997 when I realized that I wanted to remember all the books I was reading for book club. Without the journal the books would get all tangled up in my memory. Sometimes, not often, I read through the journals and reflect on the comments that I made on certain books. Frequently my estimation of the book at the time doesn't match what I currently think of the book after it has had the benefit of simmering in my memory for a while. In fact, I was rereading the diaries in this blog not long ago and my evaluation of some of the books I have reviewed no longer match...and this blog isn't even a year old.

Here are the titles of a few YA books that have improved in my memory over time:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray--- I think about this book and even quote from it frequently. Kelsey, a student at my school who is a huge fan of this book, told me that she was going to reread it for the third time over Spring Break. She wanted to because she had missed so much the first two times through the book. (Original review: Jan. 2010)

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork--- though I reported on this blog how much I like this book I was actually pretty lukewarm about it in the beginning. By the time the Printz committee met in early January I was tremendously disappointed that it didn't win any of the Printz honors for the year. (August 2009)

Liar by Justine Larbalestier--- I am still trapped in my thinking about this book...is the main character telling the truth at the end of the story or is she telling another lie? I think if a book has that much power to captivate and intrigue that it deserves an upgrade. (January 2010)

The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart--- this novel won a Printz Honor two years ago and many reviewers, like myself, think it should have been the winner. The more I think about this book the more I like Frankie. She is such a strong confident, self-assured female character. I wish all girls could channel her karma. (April 2009)

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak--- I was shocked to look back on the review I wrote for this book. How could I have not absolutely adored this book the first time I read it? Granted there is a lot of foul-language in the book and I only recommend it to mature readers, but many of those readers, especially boys, have reported that this is the best book they've ever read. (September 2006)

Paper Towns by John Green--- I am not sure why, but I seem to have a compulsive need to rank order books. Since I have read all of Green's books I am constantly shuffling them around in my brain trying to determine which one I like best. One of the things that has caused my estimation of this book to improve is how much my daughter likes it. Plus the funny parts, and there were lots of them, keep replaying in my head. (January 2009)

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going--- Granted, I have been high on this book for a long time but it has nearly reached cult status in my mind since I originally read it in 2007. Could it possibly be as good as I remember it now? Perhaps that is the sign that I should reread this novel. Of course, if I do and don't like it that will be fodder for a blog post of books of which my opinion has worsened. Ha! (October 2007)

What are the books that have improved in your memory over time?

P.S. I no longer rate books here on my blog. I decided to stop my rating system because my opinion seems to evolve over time and I don't want to feel "stuck" with a certain rating.


  1. Several of our BC reads that I really liked and others didn't got a bit downgraded in my mind; I think that maybe I must have been wrong.(lose confidence in my own judgment) Reading reviews on amazon I try to read the opposite opinions of how I feel about the book and often find myself liking the book more or less.

  2. Obviously our opinions will change over time as we read more books, our circumstances in life change, or as the details of the book fade. Have you ever reread a book to find that you don't like it at all anymore or like it better? I had that experience with Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I read it when I was young, adored it, and told everyone how good it was. I reread it this past fall and could barely stand it. Guess I was truly in a very different space than I was the first time.

    I, too, am influenced by the reviews of others, as much as I hate to admit it. Another thing I find is that our book discussions can really help me form my opinion on a work. I might come in feeling ambivalent and leave with a fairly well-formed opinion. That's what I love about discussing the books, even when my opinion is different than everyone else (Persuasion) or almost everyone (Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.)


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