I figured out recently that I might come across as a book snob. Perhaps because no one ever read this post about why I'm not really a book snob, per se. I don't think my reading tastes make me better than anyone else. I mean, sure. I like a sort of literary highbrowedness. I like to read stuff that tells a story which stretches my way of thinking and tells it in a way that makes me find a pen so I can underline the beautiful writing.
I also know that there is a wide variety of books because there is an enormous variety in what people need from books. Or even in the qualities they need in order to feel like a book has provided escape from their normal lives. I don't care who else is reading, for example, Fifty Shades of Grey. I know (after reading reviews and talking to people who have read it) that it isn't worth my reading time because it wouldn't give me what I need from a book.
Partly my need for well-written and thought-provoking books comes from the fact that I married a non-reader. While he's smart and intelligent and able to leap tall buildings, Kendell just doesn't get the book thing. In fact, it annoys him to no end to see me sitting around reading a book. Many a tiff has happened from just that circumstance, and as I am as unwilling to see the world from his non-book-reading perspective as he is my books-are-all-I-need point of view, it's just one of those things that's never going to change. But if I'm reading something with literary merit, that's challenging me and making me think, I feel less guilty over the fact that I'd rather sit down and read a book than do almost anything else.
Anyway, I'm feeling all sorts of grouchiness and despair and existential why-isn't-my-life-fabulous defeat tonight and I thought I might write about it but then I read this post by Janssen (who is the only book blogger I read consistently) (you should read it and read the comments, too, which made me laugh and also gasp in surprise because really: I must have read Good Night Moon 12,537 times in my read-to-children days and I never got sick of it) and I decided that instead of having an online pity party (you know...the kind that no one would come to anyway) I'd copy her and write about what I dislike when it comes to reading.
I think you already know that I don't like a book with a predictable ending or oh-so-fortunate plot twists or male characters who are too good to believe. But maybe you should know that even though I love reading and I loved getting my English degree and I adore almost everything that has to do with Literature (read that in a fancy voice), I confess:
I don't like Dickens. I generally like the idea of his books but the execution of the story? Well, I just think it's obvious he was being paid by the word. (There. I said it.)
I didn't fall in love with Shakespeare until my late 20's and I still struggle to understand what the hell is happening.
I return 75% of the books I check out without finishing them. (Usually this is simply a time issue. Or an I-married-an-anti-reader issue, which is the same thing.)
I tried to read Moby-Dick three times and failed.
And when I was supposed to read Middlemarch for one of my university courses? I only made it halfway through because I kept falling asleep.
But there is also this very important confession:
I hate children's books with forced rhymes.
I'd give you an example but really. If I accidentally check one out from the library, I return it the very next day out of principle. Twisting the sentence structure around so as to force a rhyme...gah, that makes me crazy. Or predictable rhymes. Or a way-too-singsongy rhythm. Which is also why I don't dislike Dr. Seuss. I think he gets rhyming exactly right. The made-up words don't bother me, nor do I think they have any negative effect on a kid's ability to learn to read. In fact I think they actually help the reading process move along, because it isn't a memorized word---they have to figure out the made-up word. I think the rhymes are a little bit brilliant sometimes (there are exceptions of course) and the weirdness works for me.
Or maybe I like Dr. Seuss because I don't remember reading his books as a kid?
I don't know.
I just like him.
What I do know is this: my blog post has failed at being focused and interesting. But at least it wasn't much of a pity party.
Do you have any literary confessions? What do you despite that everyone else seems to love?