8. A book you love and one you didn’t
I love Watership Down. I mean, I love a lot of books, but when someone asks me to name a book I love, Watership Down is usually the first to spring to mind. I love it enough that I’ve dropped mentions of it into my own writing fairly regularly.
I read Watership Down in sixth grade, and the kids in my very small private school asked me what it was about. So I spent a recess sitting on top of a picnic table telling the story. Pretty soon I’d earned the nickname “Hazel” (sometimes even “Hazel-Rah”), and my friends had all adopted other names from the novel. Games of Watership Down ensued. The boys in our class were, of course, the Efrafans. They would raid our warren, we’d fight back, on and on. Good times.
A book I didn’t love? There are probably as many or more of those than ones I do, but nothing immediately comes to mind. I actually have to think about it. That’s probably a good thing—they’ve shown that it’s healthier to focus on the good than the bad, so when I don’t immediately have a negative response, it means I’m more focused on the good. I’m looking around my office, but naturally I’ve surrounded myself with books I enjoy, so . . . I’ll have to think back to school days. Ah! Les Misérables. Oh my God, I hated that book. We had to read the unabridged version in ninth grade and I thought I would die. I’m also not a huge fan of Dickens. We read Great Expectations around the same time and . . . I thought I would die. Seriously. Ugh. Though I do wonder if I’d like Dickens more now, if maybe I’d better appreciate his work or something. Still, there are too many other things I’d rather read, or re-read (Austen!), that I probably won’t ever bother to pick up Dickens again.