Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The infernal book list

I'm sure you've all seen it, it has plagued the walls of Facebook for sometime now. It has brought on bragging airs and dismal looks. It has made your heart glow and made you want to rip it up in the same moment. It is the top 100 book list.

They lure you in by saying most have only read six (a complete and utter lie for any high school graduate) so that you think if you've read twenty-four of the books you've done pretty well. That is, until you see that one friend who has supposedly read eighty of them. Then you feel like, even though you are an avid reader, you have somehow failed yourself.

It's as if only these 100 books will ever matter, and if you dare read anything else your doomed. Well I have news, and maybe I'm the first one to say it (but probably not) I don't want to read every book on that list!

A few years back I had several people tell me to read Wuthering Heights. "You've read Jane Eyre," they said, "this was by her sister." "You're a hopeless romantic," they said, "this will tear at your heart strings." So I read it, and I hated every minute of it. Why did I torture myself and read to the end? Well because I wanted to know the end, but that didn't make me like it anymore.

"It's a classic!" those people shouted. "You're not allowed to hate the classics!" Well guess what, I don't care! Why am I going to torture myself by dragging through a hundred classics that I don't even enjoy?

Granted, there a few I would truly like to read, little women, for example. But I must ask, what is so wrong with simply reading books I enjoy? There is a treasure trove of brilliant unknown books out there, and if I like it, I'm going to read it.

So what if I never read The Republic of Plato? Am I really ruined as a writer or a person if I don't?

Maybe I'm just ranting. Maybe I should at least attempt Plato. But if I'm not enjoying it I'm going to stop.

For today, I'm going to continue reading the latest Jame Patterson novel. I'm going to eat some more Easter candy and I'm going to read every last indulgent line. And I'm not going to feel guilty, not even one little bit.

What are you're thoughts? Should a book be read just because it's a classic? Or should we broaden our horizons?
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