The American Library Association launched Banned Books Week in 1982 to celebrate the freedom to read. I read it because everyone else in school was reading it but thought it was totally silly. It's a dark, funny, brutal Western about a pair of hired killers, at least one of whom has a conscience. The theory seems to be that if kids don't read about certain topics, they won't encounter them in real life. Photograph: Holger Burmeister/Alamy. and these people who only read 6 books? Quite the opposite. A lot. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof's The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. On a typical day, a long-time user of Goodreads, the world's largest community for reviewing and recommending books, will feel like they're losing their mind. For some kick-ass history, read Destiny of the Republic, about the assassination of President Garfield, the doctors who tried to save him but actually ended up killing him, and the frantic attempt by a deranged Alexander Graham Bell to invent a machine to find the bullet located in the president's body. It covers some of the same ground as Blood Meridian and has a lot more fun along the way. This series of vignettes about a grandmother and granddaughter living on a remote Finnish island is not just heartwarming: In its views of both Nature and human nature, it teaches us what it is to be in sync with the world. If you want adventure, or misadventure, read The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, by Alvaro Mutis. We tried. (When my grandpa pushed me to catch a trout at a fish farm, I threw the rod into the pond.) That’s why we’re so excited to offer these exclusive III bundles to help mark this new chapter as a band. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. The sign that I don't like the book I'm reading is finding myself watching reruns of Come Dine With Me. But I digress. Why I Read: the Serious Pleasure of Books … The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Death Comes for the Archbishop is about a priest in what I'm pretty sure is Santa Fe. Since 1957, GQ has inspired men to look sharper and live smarter with its unparalleled coverage of style, culture, and beyond. A dude wanders the desert, trying to uncover his Personal Legend (capitalized as such throughout the book) while meeting people who speak in the inane aphorisms of a throw pillow: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” If you're after a book of existential meandering by a Brazilian author, pick up the similarly slim Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector. Julie never takes a wrong step, but there are signs for those who know how to read them. This empathy drives her characters closer to cruelty than to kindness. Prasanna Kumar. It is short and written in a kind of levelheaded and deceptively straightforward style. Unlike the entitled desert wandering of The Alchemist, Wild Heart's contemplations are inward and complex. … ', I never could get into Joseph Heller's Catch-22. They’re great to share with friends and grow closer together and shake your heads at gaping plot sinkholes. He was a man of his time, so let's leave him there. Just to be clear: I like reading good books more than bad books, certainly. The world Pynchon conjures in Inherent Vice (published in 2009) is the world he himself was living in while writing Gravity's Rainbow, when he was shacked up in a small apartment in the real-life Gordita Beach. Libraries, bookstores, publishers and teachers across the country use the … But freedom is at the heart of this tiny Czech novel, Too Loud a Solitude. Seemingly any reference to sex, drugs, cursing or homosexuality qualifies a book for "bad" status. 10 Best Fiction Books 3. Looking for more good books to read? I say "poor" Russell Banks, because I love his other books, and the fact that I forced myself to keep reading a book for which I was not remotely in the mood was not his fault. I got this from reading a bad book by Sayyid Qutb. Reading bad books, or books that are wrong for a certain time in your life, can dangerously turn you off the activity altogether. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. Atlas Shrugged somehow demands to be read for both reasons, depending on the reader, which makes it that much more essential. I imagined my compulsive completion a sign of adult seriousness. Tellingly, the example for Stacey D'Erasmo's A Seahorse Year only covers the first chapter ("Chapter 2, 3, etc: Who knows..."). Maintained well into adulthood, this policy turned reading the first page of any volume into a miniature death sentence. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. Twain? A certain class of books isn't called "beach reads" for nothing. he dumbest childhood vow I ever made was to finish every book I started. We love how very real Bad Books has become, how much it’s grown with each record, how much of an event it is for us when we get to offer it the time & focus it deserves. Summer is a time for reading — and not just for students given long lists before leaving for the holiday. Bad Books for Kids. It is an important achievement in the history of the novel, a reminder that literature is an ongoing experiment—which means you should treat it like Don Quixote and read the first half before calling it a day. —Drew Magary, GQ contributor, The worst crime committed by Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is that it makes first-time Twain readers think Twain wrote tedious, meandering stories. I'm sure you've been halfway through a book and asked yourself, "Why am I reading this?" The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower. If I had that much extra time from not reading books, I’d probably still be reading books. Oliver Burkeman on how to be a smarter reader. Why not instead read Ursula K. Le Guin's magnificent (and as beautifully rendered) stories and novels surrounding Earthsea? And 21 you should read instead (technically 20 books—Adventures of Huckleberry Finn did not fare well). In those cases, I want to have read the book for some other purpose rather than just the enjoyment of reading the book, and in those cases that will be what compels me to finish. Pardon me? If those stories are new to you, you’ll be well entertained, but I wonder at its status as a modern day masterpiece. 25 Best-Selling Books of All-Time 5. Bad writing is convoluted to make reading hard to follow, or so wooden that it reads like a medical diagnosis. 10 Best Nonfiction Books 2. I have to second Sidney, above. Not to pick on Rushdie too particularly, of course, his statement was hardly original or surprising. Good writing should be substantive and clear with the necessary adjectives and adverbs (not too many) to bring the writing to life. Click the links below to jump to a specific category.