Conventional wisdom tells you that you should never judge a book by its cover, but what I’ve found to be true for me is that you should never judge a book on your first read. As I’ve grown up to the ripe old age of twentysomething, I’ve discovered that a lot of the books that I despised as a child ended up as being some of my favorites.
Surprisingly, a lot of the books that I did not want to read were the ones hoisted on me in high school. It’s not like I wasn’t up for a challenge — I got to about a quarter of “The Odyssey” before the end of summer vacation cut my reading short — but it was because some teachers just have a knack for taking the fun out of reading.
When before I could take my time with a book, savor the language and the world building and pretty much imagine myself in the story, I had to read these assigned books with a joyless focus, worrying about which character, utterance, or random detail would pop up in tests. If there was ever a time when I was thisclose to hating reading and books, it was during high school.
Back then, if we were given a choice to pick a book to read and be quizzed on, I would always consult with upperclassmen before making a decision. That was how I ended up picking J.D. Salinger over Edith Wharton — an overwhelming number of the seniors that I knew told me that it was the better read.