Don’t you love it when you discover something you hated for the longest time is actually incredibly enjoyable? Maybe it’s that first time you eat broccoli and say, “Hey, that’s good.” Or maybe it’s the first time you look at Argyle socks and think, “that may just be more stylish than I once believed.” No matter what that epiphany is, it’s this great feeling to know that you’ve rediscovered something. For me, it was reading.
In college, I really did not like reading. I read Chuck Palahniuk novels, and that was about it. That and schoolwork, which was rarely as interesting as one would hope. But after college, I started buzzing through classic novels. The first one I really read seriously was Things Fall Apart (Achebe), a novel about a small African village and its run-in with tradition and colonists. After that, I just kept spreading my wings.
So here’s an abbreviated list of what I’ve gone through since Fall 2005:
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
1984 (George Orwell)
Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
Hairstyles of the Damned (Joe Meno)
Stranger than Fiction (Chuck Palahniuk)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey)
Cat’s Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut)
The Boy Detective Fails (Joe Meno)
Fugitives and Refugees (Chuck Palahniuk)
Haunted (Chuck Palahniuk)
The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)
Farenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson)
I think I’ve covered them all, but if not, I’ll add to the list in a later post. The thing is, none of these novels would have appealed to me in past years (with the exception of Joe Meno and Chuck Palahniuk), so I am absolutely shocked that I just started loving them now. I am also shocked that I wasted so much time before, but perhaps I would not have understood them until now. At this moment, out of the list above, my favorite novel is probably Catch 22. If you have an urge to read a good book and don’t know where to start, that’s the one. Brilliant and funny and sad. But really, read any of those books and you’ll enjoy yourself.
Currently, I’m reading Joe Meno’s Tender as Hellfire, and I’m going through it like lightning. Tell me what you’ve been reading, if you’re reading this post. I’d love to hear from some other literary gluttons.
Maybe I’ll even get a comment on this post…