The world of book nostalgia 

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This photo shows a spread of books laid out on the floor. These books range from children’s books, all the way to young adult novels. Some of the classics listed include Diary of A wimpy Kid, The Hunger Games, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Look at that variety!

How our perception of books can change over time 

When I was a young girl, I loved reading. I turned to books to explore a world beyond my imagination. To me, books were an escape. They were also one of the only ways for me to hone my English skills. Reading helped me develop my comprehension skills, my critical analysis skills, and my writing skills.  

When I turned 9 years old, my mom’s teacher gave me a $100 gift card to a bookstore. She also gifted me one of the first books I ever owned. Prior to that, I relied on libraries and my school for books. This was the first book I ever owned, and it was special to me. It was a book called Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  

On the cover was a picture of a beautiful dog. The book was about a 10-year-old girl named India Opal Buloni. She was a young girl who had just moved to a trailer park in a small town with her father. India’s mother left when she was three years old. As a result, India and her father are both sad about the mother leaving. To this day, this is a book I always think of because of the impact it had on me.  

By the time I started elementary school, I was introduced to the crazy world of young adult fiction (YA). I knew I was too young to read YA; however, that did not stop me. The most wonderful thing about reading is when you find a phenomenal book that you cannot put down. For the next few days, you spend every second of every hour reading this book. It consumes you. You stay up late at night just to sneak a few chapters in. This is what makes us fall more in love with reading.  

At this point in my life, I was reading books such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. Another series of books that I loved reading was the Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton. When I think of my childhood, this series is what I think of the most.  

I feel sad for teenagers who are faced with books from authors such as Colleen Hoover. I can’t imagine reading books that glamourized abuse and glorified toxicity as a young, impressionable girl. Although, some of the books we grew up with weren’t any better. I remember when vampires, werewolves, and fairy-tale creatures were all the rave. By the time I got into high school, everyone and their mom was reading Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Another book I would see everywhere was The Selection series by Kiera Cass. I recently re-read it and I was shocked that this was the kind of book I was obsessed with when I was younger.  

The amazing thing about nostalgia is it allows you to pick up old favourites and look at them with a brand-new lens: the lens of adulthood. You have a little more experience, and you know a little better. As a result, you look at old favourites differently. I like to call this the Rory Gilmore Effect. We all loved Rory Gilmore the first time we watched Gilmore Girls when we were younger. As adults, most of us cannot stand Rory. This is ultimately how I view some of my childhood books. Although a part of me once loved them, the adult part of me somehow despises them.  

In the end, I find myself in a toxic relationship with the concept of nostalgia. Although I love reminiscing about things that once made me happy, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with them.  

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