Throwing it back to favorite books and movies

in Entertainment by
Classic Young Adult books, such as Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” that, after I reread, inspired this article, offer different interpretations each time one reads them, adding to their timelessness. (Graphic/Scholastic Publishing)

Cooped up in quarantine, I turned to a place that offered transportation to hundreds of new worlds at my fingertips: my bookshelf. Within my (overflowing) book collection, I decided on a whim to return to what I like to call the “modern-day classics” section, which includes books like J.K. Rowlings’ “Harry Potter” series and Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series. Having watched “The Hunger Games” the night before, I turned to Suzanne Collins’ bestselling series. Yet, as the book progressed, my interpretation of the book evolved. 

The first time I read “The Hunger Games,” I was in third grade. While I grasped the straightforward plot then, I missed the beneath-the-surface-content, such as the references to Greek mythology, that I picked up on when I reread the series in seventh grade. Now a 16-year-old, the same age as protagonist Katniss, what I derived from the book this time around shattered my previous understanding. 

Still reeling from just how differently I digested each reading of “The Hunger Games” series, I decided to research if my encounter was a singular occurrence. Google consensus: it was not. 

By rereading a book, beloved or not, we gain a new understanding of it, as readers can catch the seemingly minor details that they may have originally missed that actually pack a powerful punch. 

“When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation,” Vladimir Nabokov wrote in “Lectures on Literature.”

With my Hunger Games experience, I picked up on subtle points I missed earlier, particularly the less-noticeable triggers that added to Katniss’ mental evolution, a central part of the novel and what makes it more than just a played-out story of a dystopian rebellion.

When we read a book, it becomes a part of us, even if it doesn’t seem obvious. From “good” books opening your eyes to something new to “bad” books influencing how you select your future reads, the stories we read stick to us. Because of this, picking up a favorite book can be akin to reuniting with a close friend. Despite how intense the story itself may be, the plot offers a sense of familiarity, something that, in the crazy world we live in, can provide solace. 

These ideas apply to movies as well. According to a 2012 study, our brains can easily process a movie we’ve watched. Viewing a movie we’ve already seen provides a secure, calming feeling that offers predictability in an otherwise unpredictable world. 

“When we feel sad, or lonely, or anxious, or uncertain, we want something that reminds us of where we come from, or who we are,” Professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University Clay Routledge said. “We’re more attracted to something that we know we like.”

Whether it be a beloved book or magical movie, going back to a favorite book or movie can offer comfort during this tumultuous time. With an unknown amount of quarantine left, consider checking out one of your favorites; you may be surprised with what you discover.

For book and movie recommendations, scroll through the graphic below.

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.