When I headed a book club at my kids’ school the other week, one of the children said to me defiantly, “I don’t like this book.”
I said, “That’s OK, there are a lot of books I don’t like.”
He blinked at me, surprised. You mean it’s allowed to not like a book?
Not every book is a text book. Not every one a should.
My sister once said that once she turned 40 she felt she didn’t need to finish a book she didn’t like anymore.
I say we should start earlier.
I remember several years ago hearing the Children’s Laureate saying there should be a bill of rights saying no child should be forced to read a book he or she finds boring. No wiser words to my mind have ever been said.
There are zillions of books. (Believe me, ever since I got into this business I’ve become painfully aware of how many books there are). Why waste your time or energy on something that does not click.
In my case, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, has been recommend to me several times. Even given to me as a present by one fervent admirer (of Marilynne not of me). And I know, I know, it’s beautiful, mesmerizing, poetic. Well, I can’t get through it. In fact, it’s so poetic and mesmerizing and beautifully-written, it makes me urp.
I’m now supposed to read it for my book group. So I’ll give it another shot.
But if I still can’t get into it after 50 pages, that’s it. I give up. As I told the little boy, it’s OK not to like some books. Even if everyone else seems to.
Books are not broccoli. They are chocolates. You don’t like the cherry filled one? You spit it out and chose another one.
photo by samie.shake (flickr)