I realised today, when confronted with a choice of what to read next, that I’m totally intimidated by good books.
Instead of choosing the – I suppose you could say more ‘cultured’ or intelligent choice of – “What is the What” by Dave Eggers,
“What? I’m not good enough for you?”
(No no, I assure you, novel, that you are) I went with, because it just seemed so much easier at the time, “Things I Want My Daughters to Know” by Elizabeth Noble.
I’m going to want my daughters to know how to choose better reading material than their mother.
Despite being a page turner, it was also an easy / clichéd theme (aware of the irony that in real life cancer is one of the hardest things to tackle), the distinctions between who was currently narrating was often confusing and the ending was a cheesy, happily-ever-after, brush all the problems under the beautiful rainbow and let’s wrap this up in silver lining type.
It took only a couple of days to read, and now that I’m done with it, I actually forget a lot of the story which shouldn’t happen instantly. It also didn’t leave me with any feelings. Of any kind. No nostalgia, no wondering about the characters’ futures, and sadly, absolutely no feelings that I should be seizing every day, which I think might have been the point of the book.
But as I’ve stated before, I hadn’t read a book in about six months, so I wanted something light to ease me back in. Which is all well and good except for the fact that I’m now ‘eased back in’ and I’m still abandoning perfectly good reads for my next instalment in favour of utter shite.
I skipped over “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac,
Even she’s disappointed in me. Or are her pants just uncomfortably high?
Yeah, I ditched that classic and instead dived in with something called “Shearwater”. Here, look.
Yup, that’s a sticker on the cover saying “Woman’s Weekly Great Read”, or in other words, “RED ALERT BAD FICTION”
Now I’m pretty sure the target audience for ‘Shearwater’ is middle aged divorcees. I am neither of those things, and yet I can’t help but think it was something else entirely that kept making me think “dafuq is this shit” (I couldn’t even think smart insults about the thing) every paragraph. I’ve read plenty of books not aimed at my demographic and loved them, but ‘Shearwater’ was beyond tolerance. The prose was boring, the plot terribly predictable and the main character a dreadful bore, darling. I only made it three chapters (short chapters) in and maybe it does get better further in, but I’m unlikely to stick around and find out.
I think I really have to address and cure my fear of reading great books. It’s only come about in recent years, but it shouldn’t be here at all. It’s like how I constantly choose to eat chips instead of vegetables. I can’t help but self sabotage every opportunity I get. And my literature choices are no different.
“This book is highly revered and will make you weep tears of genius and stir up a desire to marry the English language.”
“Yeah buuut, this one right here cost me $2 and has spelling mistakes in it…” Is my general answer to the sort of above statements.
– side note. There were so many grammar mistakes in “Things I Want My Daughters to Know” that I felt like the editor must have been drunk while proof reading the manuscript. Seriously, I’m not being picky or anything, I’m talking at one point the book said ” I’am ” . How.
I have no idea where my aversion comes from; I used to love proper literature. Do I have weird commitment issues? I don’t want to get in too deep in case there’s a sad ending and I really feel something? I don’t want to feel inadequate about my own stories? I seem to have a subconscious disagreement with bettering myself in any shape or form. Man, I suck. Even more so because I can’t explain this phenomena even to myself.
Does anyone else suffer from this fear of great writing? Or more importantly, can anyone outline to me why I put off reading the best books in my ‘to read’ pile?
I know you’re waiting for me, Ulysses, I’m just scared of not knowing what the heck is going on inside you…