This week at the SFF Seven party-in-a-blog, we're talking about books that we loathed, specifically those classics that teachers or mentors forced upon us and threatened us on pain of Fs until we read them.
I studied literature in college, so yeah, I read quite a few things that I didn't especially dig. But I was also a stubborn and spiteful child, so fairly often I'd choose to write papers on the worst fictional offenders, the books I initially loathed. Which meant I had to read them again. And again.
And you know what happened sometimes (most times)? On about the third reading, I'd crack the bitter nut, peer inside to the meat, and realize the deep parts of that book were actually delicious.
I remember specifically that happening with a a half dozen Russian tragedies (hello, Anna Karenina), everything I had to read by Goethe, and E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News. The thing about literary classics that suck superficially is that there is subtext. So if you dig deep enough, you will find something else, especially if the author has done a good enough job layering to have a book join the literary canon.
These days, no one is forcing me to read, so I read what I want to. Sometimes it's layered, high-protein, literary nuttiness. Sometimes it's deep-dish genre pizza. Sometimes it's birthday cake fluff consisting mostly of icing and sugar flowers. Sometimes it's just a snack, a cookie, a lollipop, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get confectioner's sugar joy ride.
Because these days? I don't have time to read a book twice or thrice before I see its beauty. And I sure don't have time for hate.