On Aging Well

Whenever I look in the mirror, I’m always surprised to see all the silver in my hair. How did that happen? Last I checked, I was nineteen. Of course, with a twenty-year-old daughter, I can’t still be nineteen but I can pretend.

A few weeks ago, I started re-reading the Travis McGee mystery/suspense series by John D. MacDonald and realized I loved them as much as always. Some of the attitudes are a bit outdated but McGee was surprisingly ahead of his times. In contrast, a suspense novel written by Helen MacInnes (who was very popular around the time of WWII) didn’t hold up as well. I’d enjoyed it when I was younger but couldn’t even finish it now.

Have you ever re-read a beloved story only to find it hasn’t weathered the years well? Do tell!

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34 thoughts on “On Aging Well”

  1. All of the books I tend to reread have held up well: Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden. Reading them is like eating comfort food. I keep meaning to reread A Wrinkle in Time, the book I credit with making me a reader. I’m a little nervous about it because I don’t want it to fall short of my memory!

    1. I loved “A Wrinkle in Time” though not as much as an adult as I did when I was a child. There’s a movie adaptation coming out. The coming attractions have left me pretty doubtful . . . .

  2. I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea every summer. Whenever I see a used coies, somewhere, I pick them up and give them to friends on the island where I spend my summers.

  3. Have not re-read any stories that I recall. Well, except some children’s books to review for my new great-grandbabies! I’m the Book GramGram! Having fun with that! I’m with you on the how did all that silver get in my hair. The silver no doubt a mouse gray by now. Who would know? I’ve been hair salon dark haired for years!

  4. I’ve already picked out the silver plus highlights I wan,t and my stylist has assured me she can create that. Better the gray I want than whatever hand Mother Nature deals.

  5. Also, most of the romances from the 80s that I adored are pretty poorly written today. I also thought Forever Amber was a mess when I read it again as an adult.

  6. I revisit good books I have read. I read all of Agatha Christie’s books a long time ago. Now that the movie is out, I decided to refresh my memory and read Murder on The Orient Express again. I enjoyed it s much as I did when I fist read it.
    I grew up reading Louis L’Amour western books and every now and then I reread one of his.
    I will have to try the MacDonald books.
    Happy Thanksgiving

    1. Joy, I really enjoyed that movie and still enjoy reading Agatha Christie. I have read Louis L’Amour in a long time. I’ll have to track down a few of his! A Happy Thanksgiving to you, too (my favorite holiday).

  7. I have books that I read 40 years ago that I still love. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley is a book that never loses its age. There was a series of books that I read as a child and read to my own children that my daughter now reads to my granddaughter called The Boxcar Children. Also all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder never lose their appeal. Thanks for the giveaway, it’s lovely!

    1. I haven’t re-read the Black Stallion. It broke my heart and I guess I just couldn’t bear to read it again! I tried getting my daughter to read some of the Boxcar Children books but she wasn’t too interested. I think they’re still very good. I did re-read the Little House books as an adult and enjoyed them.

    2. Jonella, the random number generator picked your reply as the one that wins this month’s newsletter giveaway. If you’d get in touch with me at jennifer@jenniferlawler.com, I’ll send the blown glass vase to you ASAP! I’ll just need a mailing address. Thanks!

  8. Quite frankly, I try not to reread books that I have loved. I’m afraid that while I may have been enthralled with the story many years ago, I may find it doesn’t really suit my tastes today. So, why run the possibility of ruining a good memory and having your bubble pop?

    The same goes for the old boyfriend of long ago. Remember how dashing he was and what a dream dancer he was? Well, Honey, if you saw him today, he may be a balding, tub of lard, who desperately needs to have his teeth cleaned!

    Sometimes, it’s best to remember the good things as they were then. 🙂

    1. This is not a bad policy! I actually had a dream dancer boyfriend once . . . and you’re right, it’s probably best if I never run into him a the hardware store.

  9. I like to go back and read my Danielle Steele from my youngers years and they are always just as mesmerizing as the first time I read them.

  10. John D. MacDonald…yes. I’ve read many of his Travis McGee books. What I really like about MacD’s writing is the way he describes even the most insignificant character in such a way that they come to life. I recall one in particular…a woman hanging laundry, not important to the story in any way, yet with just a few words, he somehow fleshed her out and I could see her. His gift for quick characterizations is duplicated by contemporary mystery writer John Sandford. He’s written a staggering number of books, sometimes formulaic, but his characters are vividly drawn and interesting.

    1. Yes, MacDonald had a way with vivid imagery and Sandford does great quick characterizations. His plots aren’t ones I necessarily remember but the characters I do! I love Virgil Flowers (and Lucas Davenport is such a great example of a morally questionable character who is still heroic.)

  11. I have so many other things to do I barely have time to read books one time around. The only book I have read twice is Gone With The Wind and I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first time. I belong to two different book clubs one of which has us reading a book a week and so it keeps me busy reading books through once. There are however some I would enjoy a second time.

    1. I understand that feeling! A book a week is a lot for a book club but it keeps things moving, I imagine. I read Gone with the Wind years ago but not since. I wonder what I would think of it now.

  12. Loved reading this. Read the Travis McGee books because Mom loved them–I was in late middle school/jr. high–but had forgotten about them. Would reread the Black Stallion again if I had time, but haven’t really gone back and revisited many of my favorite books. But this conversation came at a great time–I made some important fixes to my wip because I’m not young at heart, I’m one of those “born old” souls. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Different world, wasn’t it? Although admittedly I couldn’t figure out what dungarees were for the longest time . . . .

  13. oh my god, i haven’t read travis mcgee books since the 70’s when i used to swipe them from my dad and try to race him to the end of the book. those were such fun books. now i’ll have to see if i still like them as much. i reread the secret garden (which was my favorite book in grade five) and cried over it again. anne of green gables i found a little too slow now. (and i’m sure they’ll take away my canadian citizenship for saying that…)

    1. I admit I’ve never actually read Anne of Green Gables and never had any interest in it. I know, I know, that’s sort of like saying you don’t like puppies.

  14. I am so happy that you are offering different classes on editing etc. After the holidays I would love to take these classes that you are offering . If you get the chance would you please sent me the classes that are being offered . Take your time . No rush ! Happy Holidays !

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