Friday, July 3, 2009

"Everybody knows, it hurts to grow up."

Maggie was telling me about the new Gail Carson Levine book she was reading, and I was filled with the worst kind of nostalgia. When I was almost exactly her age, I was a Gail Carson Levine junkie. I read all her books our library stocked. I moved on to Margaret Peterson Haddix's princess books. (Also, shout out to the Shadow Children series - I gobbled those up.) Then E. D. Baker and Shannon Hale. (I . . . read some Meg Cabot, too.) Do you understand how much of a junkie I was? It started with Ella Enchanted and didn't stop. Somewhere along the way I got sucked into the vortex of historical fiction, and princesses were replaced with stories about the Salem witch trials and the Holocaust and Troy, but for a while I had remarkable working knowledge of fantasy novels aimed at preteen girls. It was an awesome genre, and I remember all those books fondly. 

So fondly, in fact, that I picked up one of these books recently to try for a nostalgic re-read. And I couldn't stomach the stuff. I was bored by the third page, even though this particular book I hadn't even read before. And this has been a growing trend in my "junk food" reading queue. The "recent additions" shelf of my library's young adult section has revealed not the glossy guilty pleasure coming of age books, but boring stupid books that I cannot justify wasting time on when I have brain bashing classics to plow through. (Speaking of which, I need a support system to get through some of these tomes on my reading list - we should totally have a book club.) I just don't like reading those books anymore, and the entire experience has been very sad.

Don't you hate it when you cease to enjoy the things you used to love?

Some things you just outgrow, like watching the lobsters in their tank at the supermarket. After we've been around on the earth for a few years, we're not as excited by the sight of lobsters (that aren't on our plate, or soon going to be) as we were when we were little. We mature, our likes and dislikes change, and experiences influence us. But sometimes, things lose their charm unexpectedly, and you don't realize it until you've been let down. And it's sad to realize you can't enjoy something like you once did. It never occurred to you that one day you would outgrow your love for princess fantasy novels, that you'd hate what you once loved. [And once again, by you I really mean me.] Did I really outgrow those books, or did my tastes just change? Either way, nostalgia, while one of my favorite things about being human, has an ironic and sadistic side. 

However, I still listen to ZOEgirl sometimes. That doesn't get old. 


Michael said...

"Some things you just outgrow, like watching the lobsters in their tank at the supermarket."

I...never grew out of that. I'm not sure what to say about this post, it happens to me I know....and it kind of stinks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, book club!! Do it.