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Thinking about a book, long after you have finished reading it.......

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Doglover, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    One the deciding factors for me, on whether I have really enjoyed a book, is how long I think about it after I have finished reading it.
    Frustrating as it can be, I do love it when a book ends in such a way that the outcome is open to your own interpretation.
    I often find myself thinking about it while I am doing some other kind of mundane task, and trying to figure out what exactly happened.
    I have just finished reading "The Greatcoat" by Helen Dunmore, and although it was a little far fetched in places, as it was supposed to be, I can't help trying to figure out if somethng suggested by the author could actually have happened.
    The obvious answer is that of course it couldn't, but I am still wondering.
    Do other people find themselves wondering the same things about books?
  2. Oh yes!
    We Need to Talk About Kevin
    Nature versus nurture... was Kevin mad or bad?
    Was it his mother's fault...? etc, etc, etc... as been widely debated elsewhere.
    I read it the year that OH and I spent overseas, and of all the books that we read it was the one we discussed most!
    Also... PD James The Children of Men ? (I think!)
    I borrowed it after two friends had read it... and we all disagreed on the (ambiguous) ending!
  3. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I would agree that this is a sign of a good book.
    Anything by Lionel Shriver has always raised lots of questions. To Kill a Mockingbird was the first book that really had an impact on me in this way.
    It can go too far for me though. The Quincunx by Charles Palliser is a huge book to read through to have no clear conclusion at the end. There are pages of debate about it. I really enjoyed the book but at the end of a mystery I do like to know the answer!
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was one of these. I read it slowly and had spent so long with Thomas Cromwell I missed him when it was finished. OH felt the same.
  5. Yes, that stayed with me too. Thought about it a lot, even though I didn't think I really liked it at the time.

    Recently, 'Gillespie and I' by Jane Morris (who wrote The Observations) has been haunting me. I found the ending unspeakably sad, but also very ambiguous.
  6. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Never. Humans are stupid and life is complicated and unfathomable. I do sometimes wonder about Authors though, and why they wrote what they did.
  7. I'm a massive re-reader. My mother dislikes re-reading books- usually, once is enough; or she has to leave enough time to forget plot details. She also hates reading the back of books- these days, I tend to pick out most of her books for her! I'm the other way around- I'm a huge fan of re-reading and hate books that I can't get something new out of in each read. I wanted to do my dissertation on theories of re-reading but wasn't allowed- I settled for historical fiction instead (many of the same issues).

    Possibly because of my background (raised with Oscar Wilde playing in the car, instead of nursery rhymes, seeing Shakespeare from aged 4, English degree, etc), anything which doesn't get me thinking in circles bores me to tears.
  8. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    I don't tend to re-read books. except from a few more classical novels I read as a teenager.
    I don't like to re-read a book I have enjoyed, because I worry that the second reading may take away whatever it was that made the book appeal to me so much in the first place.
  9. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    Oh I agree entirely. Just as with films, the best ones are the ones that leave you thinking. Sometimes that means wondering about whys and what-ifs but sometimes it's just an emotion or feeling that stays with you.

    I do re-read some books, I have a couple of favourites I re-read regularly. It's true though that some aren't the same second time around - I think it depends on my mood or state of mind at the time of reading.
  10. Yes. Lots of books have me thinking about them ages after!
    The Book Thief - even just thinking about it a couple of years later brings a tear to my eye.
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - had me wishing I could pop in and rescue him.
    The Boudica books by Manda Scott - 4 books I have reread and reread (very dog-eared now!) have me wanting to rewrite history and for Boudica not to die (daft, I know).
    Lots of historical novels have me daydreaming for ages afterwards - recently Philippa Gregory's The Red Queen.
    I have lost count of the number of times I have reread To Kill a Mockingbird (although it tends to get me reminiscing more about 5th year at school and what we were up to whilst not revising for O levels).
    Some books I enjoy but they leave me very frustrated at the end - One Day and The Time Traveler's Wife both had me reeling with shock, which I found thoroughly annoying and I was actually very annoyed with the authors! (totally irrational, I know).
    Others that have left me thinking for a long time: Sebastian Faulks' Bird Song, Simon Fry - a book involving Hitler, I can't remember the title, Matt Ruff Fool on the Hill (which is finally available again, it was out of print for ages!), Melvin Bragg Credo.
  11. Sometimes it's good to read a book and not think about it afterwards. I've been gripped by lots of books, read the last page, moved on to the next book and never thought about it again.
  12. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    I don't tend to read many books these days, but I was once an avid reader. I found re-reading books I liked brought another dimension to them. I knew how the story panned out and could concentrate more on the cleverness of the prose. Consequently, I never disposed of any book I'd bought although I've given some particularly good ones to friends at times.
    My wife has a different perspective about books and now spends most of her time reading, however she doesn't stockpile her books in the same way I have. Just this week I saw her about to leave the house with a shopping bag full of books. When I asked where she was going with them she said she was going to give them to the village library because she'd read them.
    She was getting frustrated over the late delivery of a book she'd ordered. I asked her which one it was and she told me it was the latest Robin Cook book but wasn't amused when I asked if this meant she was going to rekindle her interest in cooking to give me a break from the task.
  13. I very rarely buy books because I read so quickly, however I find I can re-read Terry Pratchett's disc-world novels again and again and find something new! (Hoping I'm not lowering the tone too much!)

  14. Don't be daft! The couple of Pratchett novels I've read have been charming. I hate literary (or even TV) snobbery. Unless it's Jeremy Kyle. Then I get really snobby.
  15. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    MM, I never discard them either, even though I don't re-read them. My husband, who is not a reader, complains a lot, lol!
    Dancetiludrop, don't be silly you are not lowering the tone. Sometimes the things I think over after reading a book are quite simple - it doesn't have to be a literary classic.
  16. Celtic Queen, you and I obviously share the same taste in books.
    Me too.
    My favourite book of all time, I can still remember some of the quotes I learned for my O level.
    Incredibly moving book.
    On a slightly different note, my book group got together last night to watch We need to talk about Kevin. I found it very disturbing in places and it provoked a lot of discussion - nature vs nurture? Why on earth didn't she just move away? Why was he punishing her?. I was still thinking about it this morning.
  17. I'd suggest two things: watch the interviews on the DVD extras and read the book. Kevin is one of those books I can never read in the same way twice but it goes into so much more detail about her guilt and resentment and Kevin's childhood.
  18. I am a great re-reader. Once to get the story and subsequent readings to 'get' the characters. I don't hang on to books the way I used to. If the story didn't grip me and I have no intention of rereading it I give it to a charity shop.
    Some books that have stood the test of time are:
    Barbara Kingsolver - Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer
    Margaret Atwood - all
    Olivia Manning - the Balkan Trilogy and the Levant Trilogy
    Thomas Eidson - St Agnes' Stand
    Paul Scott - Staying On
    J.G.Farrell - The Siege of Krishnapur
    Georgette Heyer - particularly Venetia
    To Kill a Mockingbird - of course
    I never tire of rereading those....any many, many more!
  19. Totally agree. Some books I can't get out of my head and come back to them again. Just read Jo Nesbo's Phantom, and know that I'm going to want to read the brilliant Harry Hole series again from the beginning, and looking forward to his next book. On a slightly different note...what do we think about Kindles vs books? I'd always been dead set against them - a real book philistine, and was highly disappointed to get a Kindle for Xmas from my significant other, but talk about poacher turned gamekeeper! I was hooked in about 2 days. Now can't put it down, and hate myself for loving it so much. Still love the heft of a book in my hand, but about to go to Spain for Easter, and love the fact I can take 10 books with me in one slim bit of equipment.
  20. Nanny Ogg

    Nanny Ogg New commenter

    We need to talk about Kevin. Haunted me for days.
    The boy in the stripey pyjamas - as soon as his head was shaved I knew and just spent the rest of the book dreading it. Will never read it again and don't know if I will ever be able to watcht the film.
    The Road - no hope in it what so ever.
    All of them brilliant though.
    Love Pratchett. Will re-read any day and love it.

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