Books that get a new lease of life

Posted on 20 November 2009. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , , |

One thing I’m always puzzled by is why some books get a new lease of life and others don’t. I’m talking about books that are passed down the generations or rediscovered by a new generation. What makes one title be remembered so much and another pass into obscurity? I don’t actually have any answers here, I’m just posing the questions.

In most cases it’s going to be the writing, in others it will be the illustrations, but I’m sure in some cases it’s simply for the ideas. Sometimes it’s for the memories as we enjoyed the book so much or it excited our imagination to such a degree that we remember it and find a copy later in life to show our kids.

One such book is actually a series of four books. Classic Australian fantasy, set in the bush. It is the Bottersnikes and Gumbles series by S. A. Wakefield. Written in the 1960s they have travelled very well and copies are now quite expensive. Sometimes you’re lucky to get a copy cheap as the seller has no idea of the price, but mostly they cost a lot. The whole series was reprinted in 1996 and the strange thing is that the reprint costs more than all four books sold together. This series is exactly what I mean, the prices show how loved and collectable they are. They were fantastic in my day and my kids think they’re wonderful. Everyone I know of who’s read them just love them.

There have been millions of books written over the years and very few actually make it through the ages. I’ll name a few that have so you don’t think I’m only thinking of my childhood. Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and 1984 by George Orwell. I read most of them in my childhood as have many, many other people and referred them to their kids and to other people as well. Heidi was just the cutest person and made such a change to everyone around her, who wouldn’t want to be her or be with her? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was ahead of his time and totally captured the imagination. Huckleberry Finn is the ultimate adventure story and who hasn’t wanted to run away and travel without worries? 1984 was about a time in the future, one that people don’t want to happen and many of us were rather worried that it would. I recall the year 1984 with a little trepidation even though I knew the technology wasn’t quite ready yet and society would fight such a move I still remember worrying that Big Brother would happen. Interesting that it made such an impact on me.

I’m going to leave this here, unfinished, as I don’t have any real answers only speculations.

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