Day 27

Read a book that you hate.

The messages and ideas that have most deeply changed my outlook on life have been from books that I hated.  Some ended up being books that I now like.  Others, I still loathe and have been expunged from my library.

However, I have yet to regret reading a book that I hated.

For the sake of not prompting people with a negative bias towards material they haven’t read, I don’t want to mention any books offhand.  That being said, there have been times in my life where I wanted to throw a book I was reading across the room.  Tear out the pages.  Write ‘IDIOT! LIAR!’ in big red pensrokes across a paragraph.  Somehow holler at the author through time and space, or into a grave.  Just because of how diametrically opposed the author’s view of the world was from mine. 

Sometimes they have been fiction books, sometimes philosophy.  But no matter how wrongly I was rubbed, I’ve always come away with something.  Some nugget of inter-personal connection between my mind and the Text.  Some kind of ‘aha’ moment.  A fact or detail about life that I appreciated.  Something human. 

Schopenhauer said that bad literature was like poison.  Robbing people of their reason and infecting their minds.  I think that’s a bit extreme.  I’m not suggesting people walk through the romance novel kiosk of a gas station with an open wallet.  Absorbing contrary opinions is healthy.  It works against the slow drift into confirmation bias and loosens up your mind, albeit a bit painfully.

Getting through a book that you hate can change you for the better.

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