Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bad Books

Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

Life is definitely too short to read "bad" books. Of course everyone's definitions will vary on what makes a book good or bad, but I do not force myself to read books that I'm not enjoying. The exception is for school or work, and occassionally when I'm interested in what the author has to say even though the book is dragging. This really only happens when I'm reading non-fiction. Most recently it was Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. I was bored with the book, but wanted to find out what exactly the point was and how the author would defend his theology. Another example is a book I read a while back about what happened to children in Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII. Very dry, slow reading, but I wanted to possess the information, so I slogged my way through.

I won't go into the whole debate on whether or not people should or shouldn't read "good" literature. When I'm reading for pleasure, I read what I like to read. When I'm reading for information, I look for good writing and accurate facts.

Some books that may start (or stay) slow that are worth sticking with:

Bel Canto by Anne Patchett
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Blindness by Jose Saramago

A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz
Ceremonial Violence by Jonathan Fast
Actual Innocence by Barry Scheck


  1. Good answer, I have Bel Canto at home on my To Be Read list. I'll keep in mind that I should keep going when it's slow. Here's mine:

  2. Great post - I haven't found a book yet that started bad and ended up redeeming itself but will keep your list handy!


  3. The book I'm struggling with right now is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. My full post is here.