Reading books I don't like- it's a writer's obligation

I read books. It’s my job. I try to read books that will push me, that will improve my game. Mostly I read old books but I do try to stay up on what is considered good or relevant at the moment. Most of the writers I admire are dead. I was lucky enough to read some of them while they were still alive.

Here is my advice to a non-professional reader- don’t read bad books. If a book insults you, insults your intelligence or your knowledge of life- put that fucker down. This is different from books that challenge you, challenge your thought, your opinions. Read those. Understand another point of view. By ‘bad’ books I mean something that rings hollow or deformed. Many shallow books masquerade as deep. They are written by children with no real life experience. I think Jim Harrison called it ‘picking scabs’. Everyone knows the person that likes to rehash embarrassing stories from someone’s past, usually in public, and to everyone’s discomfort. Why are they doing this? Is there a lesson to be learned? No, it’s to bring you down to their level. If you come across a book like that- put it down. I mean that in the animal sense. Take it out back and put it down.

Unfortunately I have to read and finish bad books. They eat my soul and make me angry. Often they are successful and well reviewed. I shrug my shoulders and move on. Don’t let them drag you down.

Have you ever read a book so bad that you wanted to destroy it? I’m not saying I want all copies wiped from the earth but only that I want my copy killed so my soul would be free of responsibility for someone else picking that one copy up. I can be creative in making these books disappear.