My Literary Confessions

By Thursday, November 29, 2018 , , , , , ,

Anne Bogel’s new book, I’d Rather Be Reading, opens with an essay titled “Confess Your Literary Sins.” She also shared some totally relatable literary confessions from readers on her blog earlier this year. This idea of sharing the more embarrassing aspects of your reading life is a hilarious exercise in self-evaluation, but Anne has proven it can also be an incredible bonding experience with fellow readers. Book people are the best people, but we can be weird about certain books, reading habits, and literary preferences. It’s easy to think other people will judge you for these literary “sins,” but in reality, they may be ripe for a C.S. Lewis, “What, you too?!” moment. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my own literary confessions. Do you relate? Please tell me in comments! 

  • I once pulled a book off the shelf of Barnes & Noble, sat on the floor, and read the first three chapters to see if I wanted it. Then I ordered the book on Amazon later that afternoon. (Sorry, B&N. I do love you, I promise)
  • Frequently, I DO become that person who talks during a movie or TV show about how it’s different from the book and how the book is better. (I just CAN’T help it, guys!)
  • I like to think of myself as a classics fan, but I can’t do Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol was fine, but I didn’t finish A Tale of Two Cities when it was assigned in 11th grade and I’ve never wanted to try again. Not particularly intrigued by Great Expectations or Oliver Twist either. Whether the legend that he was paid by the word is true or not, WHY SO WORDY, CHARLES?!
  • I hated The Great Gatsby. None of the characters were likable and the whole story is just depressing. I cringe whenever people start gushing about it (sorry, y’all).
  • I’ve loved Jane Austen since my teen years, but the MOVIE of Pride and Prejudice was actually my first introduction to her. And not even the one with Colin Firth. AND – I will STILL pick that movie (the non-Colin Firth one) if forced to choose one. Don’t @ me with your torches and pitchforks, purists. I’ve now read the book 5-6 times and can quote large parts of it from memory, okay?
  • I didn’t read the Harry Potter books till adulthood. I actually had a sort of snooty attitude towards them as a teenager. But, judging by the way I talk about them now, you’d think I was one of those fangirls who was in line at the midnight release of each book.
  • I occasionally love a cheesy Christian romance. Nothing steamy or overly melodramatic, just nice and predictable sweetness and fluff. It’s just good brain candy sometimes, okay?
  • I took a Tolkien class in college. I loved it, but I was very tired of Tolkien by the end of that semester. Even this far on from it, I don’t think I’ve reread any of The Lord of the Rings or re-watched any of the movies since I finished that class. It was just a LOT, okay?! And I still think The Chronicles of Narnia are better.
  • That said, I love C.S. Lewis! But his non-fiction and higher-level works can still be a struggle for me. I know Till We Have Faces is supposed to be one of his best, but I couldn’t totally grasp it. And the Space trilogy? My head hurts just thinking about it.
  • Even deeper confession on that note: I joined a book club specifically to read Lewis's Space trilogy, but resorted to skimming the second book and didn't finish the third. 
  • Back to that Tolkien class for a moment. Our last assigned reading for the semester was The Silmarillion. I deliberately decided not to read it after maybe 10 pages or less. And, to this day, I’m pretty sure I made something up for one of the essay questions on the final. And I STILL made an A in the class? I’ll never know how.
  • I’m partial to rather extended restroom breaks when I’m reading something particularly good. I’ve also gotten rather good at reading while walking.
  • I’ve used two online library systems for e-books for well over two years now. If there’s an eternal waiting list for a particular book, I’ll place a hold in both systems for it so that hopefully one will be faster than the other.
  • I hated Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
  • I once “went to bed” much earlier than usual, but what I actually did was just lay in bed for 3-4 hours to finish listening to my latest and greatest audiobook. I just HAD to finish! (It was The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – I recommend having tissues on hand)
  • If I love a book, I REALLY love it. As in, I turn into a full-out fangirl who reads articles and author interviews (or interviews and biographies about the author if they’re dead), stalks the author’s event tours, finds out everything possible about the inspiration and the writing process, and researches any film versions and all the behind-the-scenes facts.
  • If I’m afraid a character is going to die, I’ll often skip ahead in the book and just skim lightly for the character’s name. There are times when the suspense and angst are just too much.
  • I hated The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. Where is the plot?
  • When I was reading The Four Swans, the sixth book in Winston Graham’s Poldark series, I reached the tense and emotionally charged “church scene” (you know it, fellow Poldarkians) during a plane ride. I kept right on reading after landing, but it seemed like the fastest taxi-in ever – I was so engrossed that I nearly missed my opening to stand up and leave the plane!
  • I’m never more unrealistic than when I get reserve-happy on the library catalog. Inevitably, they all come in at once and when I’m in the middle of reading something else that I don’t want to put down. When I get a lot of holds in at once, I almost always return at least one, often more, to the library unread. But it still just feels so bookish and smart to have a ton of things on hold and then to walk out of the library with a tote bag full of books! 
Okay, I now actually feel pretty good about getting all that off my chest. Your turn – what are your literary confessions? Don’t hold back!

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