Friday, 30 September 2011

Book Makeovers

By Richard Jay Parker

One of my recent posts was about picking up a book you enjoyed when you were young.  The question being should you revisit it as an adult or would that degrade the happy memories you had of it?

It's been the subject of debate amongst friends and it prompted another thought about the way some books date.  We often see cinematic remakes but we never see literary ones. Will we ever see publishers take a classic story and give it a 21st Century makeover? You know, update the era, language and attitude as they might a black and white movie.

You can see how a studio would approach a great story the current generation aren’t aware of - sex it up, throw in some CGI and what the hell, make it in 3D as well.

But, so far, no Dickens in the hood, no Bronte with botox, no zombies in Jane Austen....  Wait a moment - OK that's only one extreme example.

Unlike movies the books have done and continue to do their job.  The reason for this is simple - no matter when a story is set the reader will interpret it with their imagination and make it personal to them.

The techniques of movies date but a person's imagination converts words into subjective entertainment.  It's why books, in whatever format, will always be a part of the majority of people's lives.

It begs another question: If you do go back to a book from your childhood does you adult imagination give it that makeover?  The danger is that because of the body of work you've experienced since it may not stand the test of time, however your 21st Century mind re-presents it.

Personally, I still maintain that if you really loved a book but think it might disappoint many years later then there's probably a good reason for suspecting so.  Best to leave it on the shelf as a good memory.

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1 comment:

  1. Good books transcend the time in which they were written and appeal to something universal and timeless. Nothing much changes in human nature. Check out the Wife of Bath in Chaucer and tell me if you haven't met her! I always find that the books that stay with me continue to be worth rereading. There are plenty that aren't, but I tend not to remember those. Leigh Russell