Huge books with huge cult-like followings.
Infinite Jest is a book that falls under this last category. It is also a book that I’m pretty sure I want to read. Over the years I’ve come across this book and have always been undecided whether or not I actually wanted to read it. That’s not to say when I begin reading, if in fact it stinks, that I would finish it. Life is too short and too full of amazing books to stick with something that isn’t amazing.
There are some other books that more or less fall under this third category that I absolutely have no desire to read. Moby Dick and Don Quixote are two such books. Their length does not deter me, the tedious nature of these books do. Although I challenge myself to read as many books as possible, I don’t read books just to say I have read them (ie. certain classics as well as newer books). Just because a book has stood the test of time doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be a great read. It simply means its been around for awhile. In fact I came across an article (I wish I had the source) that said if Moby Dick had been written today, it would not have done well. The thing is, when many of these “popular” classics were written- what were they up against? The competition of books written in the 1800s versus today is almost incomparable, and quite honestly, not really fair. There are some outstanding books that have been around for centuries and deserve every bit of credit they have earned. It’s just that other books that fall in to this “classic” category are there because they are old. Some of these books really stink. Many people will disagree with me and that is completely fine. I am not going to read a book just because it may look impressive or because it has been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth.
We all have our own opinions and interests when it comes to what we enjoy reading. So the bottom line is this, read what truly grabs you- not what people say should grab you. If reading about a whale for fourteen million pages is your jam, go for it and if reading Fifty Shades floats your boat, read that as well. Whatever it is, just make sure you love it!
“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
– Henry David Thoreau