Thursday, May 28, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Unread It?

This week's BTT topic is a follow-up to last week's question about books you'd like to read again for the first time:
Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?
Kind of a strange question, but an interesting one. At first glance, I thought, "Ah-hah! A chance to slam all those boring, pointless, and unreadable books I was forced to struggle through in high school!"

But after I had a chance to ruminate a bit, I started having second thoughts. After all, one of those books I fussed and fumed about was Pride and Prejudice. Given a chance at the tender age of seventeen, I would have gleefully condemned Lizzie and Darcy and all their boring ilk to the fires of hell forever and ever. Eventually, of course, I re-read P&P and realized what a imbecilic ninny I'd been, way back all those years ago in Miss Weber's senior English class.

And that's an experience that teaches a useful lesson. Things change. Life is change. And change can be good. Your reading shapes who you are: everything you read adds a little to the person you turn out to be. Even books you feel may be a waste of your precious time might have an influence that won't make itself apparent until years later.

These days, I'm privileged to be able to read what I want, with no pop quizzes or deadlines other than the ones I set myself. If I start a book and it doesn't appeal to me after a chapter or two, I put it down and pick up another. But even remembering all those boring, pointless, and unreadable books I was compelled to read back in the day, I think I can honestly say I don't regret any of them. There might be many books I'd never read again, but I can't say there are any I wish I hadn't read.


  1. I simply don't like reading Austen. Still I won't say I regret reading her books. With The Alchemist, I did!

    Booking through Unread

  2. I love how you approached this topic! I wish I had read this post before I wrote my own -- I would have been more philosophical.

    Also, as a former high school English teacher, I feel gratified for telling so many students to reread a particular classic in 10 years. Most adolescents just don't have the life experience -- or sensitivity to language -- to appreciate great works of literature...

    Great post!

  3. Isn't it funny how your enjoyment of a book can change over time?

  4. What an interesting way to look at the question Joy!

  5. Hi, I've given you an award at

  6. Good point - sometimes opinions of books do change as we mature.

  7. I haven't encountered something that is irredeemably bad. Books that I want to "unread" are ones written by authors whose previous reads I have enjoyed. Sometimes they just have a bad day I guess. I would like to defy time and start over again with another book.

  8. I thought this question was a strange one, but I love your answer! Timing is everything :)

  9. Miss Weber! I have been trying to remember her name for the longest time. When I had her she had married and was Mrs. Swanson and then she disappeared. Yes, I could never get through P & P either and couldn't figure out why "Gidget" wasn't an acceptable book report choice. Go figure!

  10. Oh, I would soooooo love to "unread" The Magus!


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