I want to read what I want to read, what I like to read, when I want to. There should be no compulsion in reading materials!

My other half loaned me a book he thought I might like. I read a chapter, and I read it again (and again) to be sure, but for the life of me didn’t enjoy it. I tried to avoid the ‘So did you like it…’ conversation, but after close to three weeks, there was no more excuse. No place else to hide.

I don’t get it dear, there’s nothing that compels me to continue to read! I said, exasperated and hoping my Lit. major boyfriend won’t take offence. But the point had to be made- there will be books I get, books I don’t get, books I like, and books I don’t. Books I’ll read, and books I won’t.

And it will be o-kay. It’s o-kay.


Book recommendations are, to me, difficult things. Especially those that come from someone close to you (don’t want to offend), or with so much enthusiasm (puts pressure on me to enjoy book as much as they did), or worse- both. Lately, I am met with so many misses in the recommendations department, that I dread receiving one! I find myself saying things like ‘Oh… Maybe when I have time’ or ‘I will add it to my to-read list!’.

And in all honesty, I do try out their recommendations- usually in a bookshop, where said book gets the 30 page treatment.




Let this girl have cake and eat it too; and while I do, I'm gonna read whatever I want.


My other half has a theory- he has been observing my reading habits, and the books I choose at bookshops. He arrived at this- that I prefer realist texts and avoid abstraction. It’s true- I can’t read one chapter of Marquez, and am generally impatient when reading other magic realist texts. I don’t get Borges and would sooner finish the second half of Madame Bovary than read a Pratchett novel.

Some people may find this bizarre (don’t… like… Pratchett? Or Gaiman? Sacrilege!), but right now, I really don’t give a rat’s ass. I want to read what I want to read, what I like to read, when I want to. Quentin Blake’s The Rights of the Reader comes to mind.

Reading should be fun and enjoyable- if you understood things (symbols, etc), great! And if you didn’t, you still got a good story out of it, right? Reading should never be about trying to impress other people. And just as I believe that there should be no compulsion in religion, I also believe there should be no compulsion in literary preference.

And I promise I will never make fun of you Twilight fans anymore. Forever and ever.

3 thoughts on “I want to read what I want to read, what I like to read, when I want to. There should be no compulsion in reading materials!

  1. JY says:

    Not caring what the rest think, would be the best way to enjoy a book.

    I say, keep some books on the shelves. I’m reading a John Grisham novel which I never touched for 10 years. Never mind that I borrowed it from a friend that I’ll never see again.

  2. hana says:

    omg, i TOTALLY get this. (even the Gaiman part – gasp, sacrilege indeed.) i rolled my eyes every few pages into the Confessions of a Shoppaholic, yet was besotted by Twilight. (pls don’t make fun of me.) and recommending books is not like recommending a movie, is it? it’s a very personal taste and requires a higher investment (ie. time and concentration put into completing a book), unlike movies which are like fast food, meant for mass consumption and takes a short time to decide whether one likes it or not…

    (ps: whatcha reading these days? ;))

    • Harlina says:

      Hi Hana!

      Believe it or not, the only things I read these days are children’s picture books, and Young Adult fiction :D In the bus on my way to work, I keep up with Google Reader.

      When my attention span returns from vacay, I will blog about my next good, big-people-book read!

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