Thursday, August 28, 2008

Of Things Past

While I was in Memphis, I went into the attic to find the box of my old Dean Koontz and Agatha Christie books. When I was a teenager, I used to go to Bookstar up on Winchester to buy one of those books once a week. I think I read everything Dean Koontz put out before 1992, and I tried to read every single Hercule Poirot book that Agatha Christie wrote (Miss Marple sucked). But, recently I borrowed a Koontz book from Chip and read it. It kind of sucked, but it sparked the urge to go back and read some of the old stuff again, just to see.

The first time I read Dean Koontz's Watchers, I considered it to be the best book I had ever read. Granted, it was the late 80s, I was not quite full on puberty yet and didn't have many other books under my belt to compare it to. Even after I read some good quality books in high school, the memory of how awesome Watchers was the first time I read it still put it at the top of my list. Recently I have been thinking, if I had to name my favorite books of all time, would Watchers still make the cut? Then, seeing a special 20th anniversary edition at Target really piqued my interest enough to seek it out when we were in Memphis this last time.

Well, I am about 3 quarters of the way done, and let's just say it no longer tops the list. It hasn't been for a while (that spot belongs to Frankenstein - really, the book works on so many levels, I could discuss it all day) and now it just kind of seems like all of Koontz's other books. You know, every person (or dog) in all his books have the same sense of humor, have some degree of smug conservatism, the characters are clear cut good or bad, etc. He is really good at the suspense part, but the reveal is never as spectacular as the buildup. So reading the book has been a good bit of nostalgia for me, but the nostalgia itself far outweighs the substance so far. I think just remembering how excited I was at this part of the book is more exciting than reading this part of the book now, if that makes sense. Koontz is now just escapism for me, something to read on a plane or on vacation, where not much is required of the reader.

Then, in the car the other day, I heard Just Like Paradise by David Lee Roth. Also for a time in the late 80s, this was my favorite song of all time. Really, Vai, Sheehan - good times. Then I hear it in the car, and there is this line that goes, "Suzie Suzie, girl, for cryin' out loud, you got all the right moves you make me eat my heart out nightly. And that's all right with me, yeah!" I mean, I always knew the lyric was there, but yikes! What disturbed me was that I associated that song with some level of transcendence, like with Dreams by Van Halen - same time frame, emotional song, good music, still holds up after all these years. But Just Like Paradise is just goofy - this song used to move me! I guess when you are 12, that is how the world works.

These are just extreme examples, but seriously in 1989, that was my favorite book ever and my favorite song ever, right there. Coming back to them now, well, it is comparable to finding out that the actress that helped you get through puberty is dating Tom Green now. I figured out long ago that Mr. Roboto was just goofy, but I was like 6 when I thought that song was awesome. At least Star Wars still kicks ass. Well, the original versions at least.


Stephanie said...

David Lee Roth is totally goofy- it's Vai and Sheehan who made him awesome for a time! Shy Boy still works- trust me. As does 5150 in its entirety.

In the early 80s, I read everything by Danielle Steele and Sidney Sheldon. I've been scared to reread any of them- I don't want to know what a dork I was!

Chip said...

I was all about some sci-fi when I was a kid. Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card... wonder how that stuff would hold up to me now? I know Card is still hella fun to read-- I reread Ender's Game (and the rest of those books) as an adult and still loved it.

You know, if anything, I think Watchmen is better to me as an adult...