As an English Lit major, I have read a lot of authors and genres. Of course, as a human being, I have my preferences, but generally I’m just a fan of books. Rarely will you hear me decry anything I’ve read. I might say “it’s not for me” but you won’t hear me say “that book was bad” very often, if ever. Books, like music, are all about style, opinion, and preference. I always say that any book that gets you to read has been successful, because I believe so highly in reading. Even things that people expect me to label “crap” are great with me if they encourage you to read them! I will typically read anything and rarely do I dislike it. I’m along for the ride, and that works for me. Some things are easier to read than others. Take, for example, the Twilight series. I wouldn’t give Stephanie Meyer free reign to write my biography, but the books were entertaining and fast-paced. More importantly, I feel like she made reading “cool.” People wanted to go to bookstores! (remember what those were?) Similarly, J.K. Rowling, who I think is a wonderful writer, got children and adults rushing into bookstores and lining up at midnight for new releases, and could actually get readers to get through over 500 pages in one book.
Even books that I didn’t enjoy, or wouldn’t read twice, I can typically see the merit in, or understand why others want to read them. There were a few things I hated in high school and had to read again in college, which I gained appreciation for, or even loved, the second time. I think we’re not always ready for the things that are assigned in high school, and yet I know why they are. I think it’s important for us as human beings to have read the classics, like Shakespeare, but I understand if high school were not the right time. Also, the teacher you have when you are exposed to Shakespeare makes a HUGE difference. I think that if I had taught Shakespeare, you would all love him. He is wonderful, and so funny and smart. By my senior year of high school, I loved Shakespeare. I loved to read it out loud (probably the only way it should be read) because the rhythm is so calming and beautiful. That being said, I really hated Romeo and Juliet when I read it freshman year. It’s still not my favorite story, but it’s much more beautiful than I had given it credit for. I think if I had had a teacher with a passion for literature, it would have been so different. In college, I took one semester class in which all we read was Shakespeare and it was all fabulous. Another book I read in high school and hated was The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. In college, I read it again and it changed my life. So quietly powerful.
So tell me…what books or authors were you initially turned off by? Would you ever try them again?