In our travels around the web this week, we at the Jane Austen News found an article by Jennifer Finney Boylan for the New York Times which talked about the best age at which to read books. Are there some books which are best read when you’re older? Is a book like War and Peace best not opened until you’re 25+?
It’s a knotty question. Some people have reading ages far beyond their years, and some readers are happy to read books which explore deep philosophical questions before they’ve even sat their GCSEs. Then again, some visitors to the Jane Austen Centre explain that, having been taught the likes of Dickens at a young age at school, they’ve been put off ‘classics’ almost for life.
Reading age aside though, the question can be approached from a different angle: do some books come with an ideal reading age? By this we mean, an age at which the book will best resonate with its reader, and an age at which it has the best chance of bringing a fresh perspective to the reader’s life.
Some examples which were suggested were:
• The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle — before the age of 18. In order to learn that some mysteries, including the ones inside your own heart, really can be solved by logic and reason.