Inspired by this post over at The Awl, I thought about the books I read as a teen, and which ones I had absolute crushes on, and which ones I would be embarrassed by today. Surprisingly, there wasn’t too much cringing from my past reads, far less than I’d expected. Here’s a sampling:
- Anne Rice: The Witching Hour – I’m afraid there’s still no embarrassment here. Read it when I was 12 and I still love it today. I was never as fond of the sequels (Lasher & Taltos), as the character of Rowan began to disappoint me.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Mists of Avalon – Definitely had a crush and loved Morgaine, but I haven’t picked this one up in eons, though it sits patiently on my bookshelf still. But embarrassed? Not especially.
- Bram Stoker: Dracula – I still have a crush on this book, though I’m not reading it wide-eyed as I was when I was nine. (That scene where Dracula forces Mina to drink his blood was compelling: ‘The attitude of the two had a terrible resemblance to a child forcing a kitten’s nose into a saucer of milk to compel it to drink.’)
- All the Drizzt Do’Urden books by R.A. Salvatore – I suppose if anything was going to be embarrassing, these books would be the ones. I have most of them still in paperback, but like The Mists of Avalon, they’ve sat untouched for years. It’s some nostalgic bit of me that can’t give them up just yet.
- Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged – Every once in a while I cringe at having read this book, but I do still like it. I don’t take it seriously, and I certainly wouldn’t pull a Greenspan and base actual economics off of it, but some of the imagery sticks in my mind: ‘Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision.’
- Peter & Leni Gillman: Alias David Bowie – This biography (written in the mid-80s) and other Bowie bios were ones I inhaled as a teen. The library had a whole stock, and most of them were not that well written and relied heavily on rumour. Alias focused more on the mental illness in the Jones family, and it was rather intrusive. This is definitely a cringe-worthy selection.
- Anya Seton: Katherine – Historical fiction about Katherine Swynford, the mistress of John of Gaunt. Nope, sorry, can’t feel embarrassed about this one either.
Are there any books you feel embarrassed to have read when you were younger? Or are you of the opinion that every book is worthwhile, even if it seems silly years later? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I was a huge Catcher in the Rye fan as a teenager. Funny how books we loved when we were young embarass us now. I thought it was so profound, now, just a little silly.
I have yet to read Catcher in the Rye. At this point it may end up being one I never get round to.
I read the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum as a teenager. One of my older brothers got into them and he passed them onto me. I loved them! A bit confusing but great, great story. A shame the movies never, in my opinion of course, lived up to the books.
I don’t think I’ve ever read any of Robert Ludlum’s books. (I think I ought to!)
I find it rare indeed when a film lives up to the original book… offhand I can’t think of any films where they were better.
I read all the time as a teenager, but I honestly can’t remember any particular book making a huge impact on me. they were fiction. when self help came out, in the early 70s, those books changed my life…but not fiction. interesting thought
You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever read a self-help book.
When I was a teen, fiction was where it was at. Well, that and history like Antonia Fraser’s book on Mary Queen of Scots. 🙂
Wow, I’m getting some great recommends from this post. Thanks.
You’ll have to let me know which ones you read and which ones you enjoy 🙂