Discussion: Missing The Window

let's talkHave you ever read a book and enjoyed it well enough but know 10 year old you would have loved the book? How about finding a book as an adult that would have been perfect for that certain time of your life?

As an adult who reads many children’s books, I frequently run into the problem of “missing the window” for books. These books that I read are still enjoyable as an adult but there’s a certain level of magic that is only obtainable by reading books at the right time in your life.

I’m going to talk about some of the ones I feel like I missed my window on.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Here’s the thing I tried the Narnia books as a kid and they didn’t do it for me. Someone gave me the entire series as a kid but that still wasn’t enough motivation for me to read them. I really wish someone would have read the books with me. I think that would have encouraged me to stick with it.  I’ve been attempting to finally read the books as an adult (and doing a poor job of it) but I’m still not getting the magic. The books are sweet but I don’t quite love them.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Apparently I somehow completely overlooked Diana Wynne Jones for my entire childhood. I had no idea who she even was until blogging friends mentioned her to me. I liked Howl’s well enough and I’ve bought another book by Jones. I loved magical books as a kid and I really think her books would have had a bigger impact on me if I had read them in late elementary school.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

For some reason I think I attempted the series growing up. Either I got bored with waiting for the books to be released or I meant to try the series after more books had been published. I’m not sure what happened but I haven’t read any of them in a really, really long time. I recently tried the first book and wasn’t really impressed. The style of the book didn’t do it for me. I know when I was younger I liked when books were silly like that or talked to me the reader. It’s a bit annoying for me as an adult.

So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane

Once again Diane Duane is another author I overlooked. This was an interesting take on learning magic. Not to mention coming of age books of any sort have a bigger impact when you’re going through similar struggles. I know I would have enjoyed the story as a kid!

Do you think you can miss the window for a book?
Do you think that books are good for anytime in your life?

What books have you missed the window for?

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18 thoughts on “Discussion: Missing The Window

  1. Oh, I totally get what you mean! Even if I’m a just a teen, I know there are some books I would’ve loved much better years before. Like Harry Potter. Hey, they’re great books, but I haven’t finished the series yet. I think if I’d read them years ago with some guidance, I would’ve been encouraged and would have finished the series by now.

    • There’s definitely a special kind of magic that comes from reading HP at a younger age. Hope you do get around to finishing the series though. I think they’re pretty great at any age.

  2. When I was in 4th grade my teacher read us some of the Narnia books. He did different voices and accents and it was PERFECT. I’ve loved these books ever since. However, I did read them as an adult and found that while I enjoyed them, I feel like had I not already experienced the magic as a kid I would have found them just ok.

    I do love the Lemony Snickett books… but found that I like them a lot more listening to them on tape vs reading them. Tim Curry narrates some of them and it’s like being read to as child.

    I understand what you mean about missing the window though. I don’t read a lot of children’s lit or MG books, but there are some YA books that don’t resonate well with me but I feel like it would have been perfectly fine for someone in their teens.

    • Now that’s the way to really get into Narnia!

      I keep hearing that. I think I may need to listen to the next book in the series before stopping all together.

  3. Okay, before I say what I’m going to say, let me establish a small amount of credibility: I believe you and agree with you on the Chronicles of Narnia. My mother started reading those books to me when I was three, and they are everything in my imaginative landscape, but I recognize that if you don’t read them young, you’re not going to be that impressed by them.

    I have to push back, though, on Diana Wynne Jones: You kinda have to reread her books a few times before their full brilliance washes over you. I promise I am not just saying this to make you give another chance to my all-time favorite author. Independent sources from the blogosphere can confirm that she is better on a reread. I absolutely swear to it. She wrote like, I don’t know, 35 books, let’s say? I loved Fire and Hemlock on the first go-round; I’d have given five or so of her books 3.5 stars on a first read; the rest completely failed to impress me on an initial read. And I own all her books now and reread them constantly. I promise, promise, promise she’s better on a reread.

    (I think maybe Diane Duane’s books are just not that good. I read them at the correct age as indicated on the covers, and I was bored to death.)

    • Okay, that makes me feel so much better about DWJ! I know I should like her because her books are totally up my alley. I’m still planning on eventually making my way through more of her books. Are there any books that you really recommend by her?

  4. This is interesting. I do think you can miss the window with certain books. But I don’t know if it’s specifically the children’s book thing. I read tons of kids books, and sometimes I wonder if I would have liked them as a kid. And I’m not just talking about the heavier books. And there are books that I love that I read as an adult. The Series of Unfortunate Events, for example. I think these books are hilarious, and although they got a little repetitive, I still loved reading them – as an adult.

    I think it might just be the type of reader someone is.

    • You’re absolutely right. This can go both ways. I know I’ve read books aimed at the younger audience and loved them but never would have enjoyed them as a kid.

  5. Yeah, I know what you mean. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, so I will always have that nostalgic attachment that allows me to acknowledge but forgive a lot of issues other people have with it. At the other end of the theological spectrum, I read the His Dark Materials trilogy as an adult, and just didn’t enjoy them. (Not to say that I would have loved them if I’d read them at a younger age, but who knows?)

    I’ve mostly given up on reading kids’ books, even if they’re classics, until I have children of my own. At that point, I may be more able to look at them through a different lens.

    • I tried the His Dark Materials books as an adult and bored to tears.
      Reading with kids would definitely give you another lens. It will be awesome seeing books through our future kids eyes.

  6. Yes! I 100% understand what you’re talking about here, and sometimes I find myself feeling the same way. I mean, I do think books for any audience level can have an impact on us at any age, but sometimes that impact is stronger if you read the book and can relate to characters/situations right then and there.
    I am so glad that I grew up as Harry Potter did. It definitely made my love for this series stronger. I’m sure I still would have enjoyed reading the series as an adult, but probably not to the same degree.
    But there’s not too much we can do, is there? Too many books, too little time. And it’s definitely better to be introduced to a potentially great book later on in life than never at all. 🙂

  7. All of the books you list here, except Howl’s, are ones I did read and love when I was younger, but I’ve definitely had books where I feel like I missed the window too. I can almost always still read and enjoy YA, but if I push into middle grade books, I often find that they fall a bit flat for me, even when I’m sure my younger self would have loved them.

    • I’ve noticed for the most part YA is pretty readable even if you’re not a teen. It’s definitely harder to find MG books that are wonderful for adult readers.

  8. I can totally relate to the feeling of missing the window. It was one of the reasons I started my classic book project and there are quite a number of “children’s books” on my list that I look forward to reading. But now that my kids are getting older, I realized there’s an opportunity to catch up on some of these books while enjoying the time I read with them. My oldest son’s class recently read Narnia and up next is either the Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan, so I’m told him I will read-along with them and then we can share thoughts on the story.

    • That sounds like so much fun! I hope reading the books with your son will make you enjoy the books more than if you had read them on your own.

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