2022 - Potential pitfalls of nostalgia

As an adult, do you ever see a book in a used bookstore that you read long ago, perhaps back when you were in school, and get this nostalgic urge to purchase it to read again? I am not talking about those favorite books you read over and over because you love them so much (like The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, or Harry Potter are for me). I am talking those books you completely forgot about from decades ago (if you are old enough) but suddenly catch a glimpse of their cover or just the title and wonderful memories wash over you. Could you return to that story to relive that happy flash of memory and emotion?

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.

Doug Larson

We have two really nice used bookstores near us and that urge has been hitting me strong recently. And to be honest, it is hit or miss. Sometimes you hit one out of the park and love returning to a forgotten tale. But other times, you read one and realize it has rough edges you overlooked in your youth or forgot about over the years. I found the complete Adept series by Piers Anthony, and I couldn’t walk out of the store without it. I remember fondly reading the first three books in high school and not having read the sequels beyond, so I picked them up. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the world again and his writing, but struggling with how he depicts certain characters. Will I be able to finish all seven books, I don’t know. But, I am learning a lot about myself as I read these books as I can see why I liked them when I originally read them and how I have changed as a person since those younger days. This has become both a nostalgic read and time of personal reflection.

What has been your experience? Is it best to leave those cherished memories of books (or movies, games, etc.) as nostalgia or should you return to them to see if they hold up, get better with age, sour over time, or perhaps challenge you to reflect on yourself?

Potential Pitfalls of Nostalgia

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