Life Is Too Short To Read a Bad Book

I am a reader and come from a family of readers. My favorite pastime is, was, and ever shall be reading; it’s the first thing I want to do in the morning, and the last thing I want to do at night. At this time in my life I have read enough books to fill a fleet of dump trucks, and will keep on reading as long as my eyes hold out. I know what I like, and when I like an author’s book, I will read everything that the author has written.

So what do you like to read? Are you a mystery reader, do you love SciFi, can’t get enough romance novels, do time travel books light you up, or do you like biographies? There are so many genres to choose from, and after a while you begin to zero in on your favorites. Do you ever find yourself so immersed in a book that you literally cannot hear what is going on around around you? These are what I call “yeah, yeah” books, as in when someone is trying to talk to you while reading, you just wave them away with a “yeah, yeah?” (The meaning of the “yeah, yeah” is “Don’t bother me; I’m in the middle of a really good book–go away now.”)

When I come to the end of a book that has held me in thrall for days, I mourn it like a lost friend. I miss not “being” in that book, and it’s hard for me to start another one. There are some books that have changed my life forever, some that have become so dear to me that I will read them again and again, and some that have made me laugh or cry out loud. On the other hand, there are some books that, once started, I lose patience with–to be fair, I will give an “iffy” book 75 pages of my attention. If after that I don’t love it, I stop reading. It doesn’t go on my booklist (I keep track of all the books I’ve read).

When I love an author, I forgive them anything. Stephen King is a favorite, and I’ve read everything the man ever wrote, and wait anxiously for his next book to come out. I even forgive him for grossing me out in many books. (This is why I warn people about his books, telling them “do NOT eat while reading!”) The following are authors I will read without question:

  • Anne Rivers Siddons
  • Elizabeth Berg
  • Chris Bohajalian
  • Adrianna Trigiano
  • Pat Conroy
  • Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Diane Chamberlain
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Dean Koontz
  • Isobelle Allende
  • Lucinda Riley
  • Whitley Streiber
  • Helene Wecker
  • Dan Brown
  • Ann Hood
  • Dorothea Benton Frank
  • Lee Smith
  • JoAnn Mapson
  • Elin Hilderbrand
  • Luanne Rice
  • Louise Erdrich
  • Peter Straub
  • Sandra Dallas
  • J. K. Rowling
  • Anne Tyler
  • Kate Jacobs
  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Joshilyn Jackson
  • Jodie Piccoult
  • Anna Maxted
  • Ellen Gilchrist
  • Connie May Fowler
  • Cathy Pelletier
  • Jill McCorkle
  • Rebecca Wells
  • Kristen Hannah
  • Michael Lee West
  • John Irving
  • Fannie Flagg
  • Alice Hoffman
  • Olivia Goldsmith
  • Gaelen Quinn
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Anne Quindlen
  • Wally Lamb
  • Stieg Larsson
  • Anne Lamott
  • Mary McGarry Morris
  • Fred Mustard Stewart
  • Alice Sebold
  • Alan Brennert
  • Philipa Gregory
  • Diane Hammond
  • Donald Harington
  • Rita Mae Brown
  • Stephanie Meyer

…and there are many, many more. Some books I have loved so much I re-read them (this, according to my mother, is a crime against the world of writing. “There are so many books to read–don’t waste your time re-reading one you’ve already read!”) when I need to. If I am having a stressful day, I automatically reach for Anne Rivers Siddons, Pat Conroy or J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter is a never-ending comfort and delight).

By the way, I have never read a book on a Kindle or Spindle or Pindle or any tech gadget. Not that I’m against them per se, it’s just that I prefer holding and reading a real paper-and-print book. Over the years I have had to cull out a great many books I liked but didn’t love, so the ones I have now are precious to me. Unfortunately some of the books I now own started out as library books; lesson to us all: do not eat or drink anything while reading a library book. At least a half-dozen times I have had to confess my crime to a librarian, pay the full price for the book and had to slink home with the stained copy under my arm. These books will have a note written in the front confessing my crime, such as: “I just had to have another cup of coffee/a bowl of tomato soup/a chicken taco/a glass of red wine/etc. while reading this library book. Now it’s mine.”

Yes, life IS too short to waste time on a bad book, but there is time enough to re-read the books you really, deeply, truly love. Reading them will put you back in that wonderfully serene place that is timeless, stressless and full of promise and hope. A good book is a pathway to a meadow filled with sunshine, fragrant flowers, gorgeous sunsets and heavenly moonrises, while a bad book is a slippery slope to a nasty pond full of leeches, evil bullfrogs, slimy mud and sharp clam shells. Choose wisely!







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