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7 of My Dirty Little Reading Secrets

Our Reading Lives features stories about how books and reading have shaped who we are and how we live. It is open not only to regular Book Riot contributors, but to guest posters from the publishing industry, authors, and….you. If you are interested in telling us about a book that has been influential in your life, please contact us: community (at) bookriot (dot) com.

Spring has me in the mood to clean out closets of both the storage and psychic varieties. Here are seven of the dirty little reading secrets I’ve been carrying around for a while. What are yours?

I can’t keep Tom Wolfe and Tom Robbins straight. One of them wore a white suit, but I don’t remember which. Also, when I think of Tom Robbins, I picture Tim Robbins circa The Shawshank Redemption.

I’ve never read BRAVE NEW WORLD…and I don’t really plan to. I should feel bad about this, right? Here’s the deal: my high school had a policy that seniors who had A’s going into finals didn’t have to take exams. My AP English final was focused on Brave New World. I was caught in the powerful grip of Senioritis, and I opted out. Through some twisted logic, I decided over time that if it wasn’t important enough to merit a test we were all required to take, I didn’t need to read it. I know–it doesn’t make sense to me, either.

I dread the novella-length stories in short story collections. For SO MANY REASONS. And when the novella is the first piece in the collection? Put a fork in me.

I wouldn’t have read the Harry Potter books if not for the movies. I was one of the O.G. haters who scoffed at a kids’ book about wizards. Then a friend talked me into going to see the first movie, and much to my chagrin, I loved it. So I picked up the second book and started there. Part 2 of this secret: I’ve never gone back to read the first book.

I really didn’t like Jane Eyre. Appreciating a work’s significance is not the same as liking it. Simple as that.

I still love The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I feel like admitting this as an almost-30-year-old woman is akin to being an almost-30-year-old man whose favorite book is still The Catcher in the Rye. But I don’t care. Perks resonated with my teenage self in a way that my adult self likes to remember. And who among us can, having read this book, take a long drive on a cool night with the windows down and the music up and not think for just a second about feeling infinite?

Sometimes I lie about what I’ve read. I learned the hard way (that is, through super-awkward interactions) not to pretend I’ve read books I haven’t read, but I’m not above saying I haven’t read something I really have read if it will keep me from getting stuck in a conversation I’m not in the mood for.

Now it’s your turn…