Confess your literary sins

Confess your literary sins

Readers: today we’re starting something fun and social and bibliotherapeutic. (That is a word, right?)

In less than a month my new essay collection, I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, hits bookshelves. The first essay is titled Confess Your Literary Sins, and in it, I share how (and why) readers somehow feel compelled to reveal all the guilty secrets of their reading lives—to me.

Spoiler: what I’ve learned over the years is that feels so much better—and is so much more fun—to get these secrets out into the open.

I’d Rather Be Reading is illustrated by the incredibly talented David Cecil Holmes. The illustration for this chapter, shown above, may be my favorite in the entire collection. 

Today, I’m inviting you to do just that. We’re confessing our literary sins on social media—or, if you gave that stuff up, in the comments here—in the name of bookish camaraderie (and sometimes, commiseration).

Read the intro and first chapter now!

My publisher gave me permission to share the introduction and first chapter with you: click here to get the PDF.

Listen to me read Confess Your Literary Sins

Today I’m sharing a special bonus episode of my podcast What Should Read Next where I read you the first chapter. You get to hear me tell the story in my own voice (extra fun, because I narrate the audio version myself). I also think it’s a great introduction to the feel and flavor of I’d Rather Be Reading.

Listen to What Should I Read Next? wherever you get your podcasts, or click the triangle in the player below. (Heads up, RSS readers, you need to click over to the blog to see the player.)

If you enjoyed that and want to become a regular WSIRN listener you can read more about how to listen to a podcast here.

A deadline approaches

An important window is about to close and I don’t want you to miss out. My publisher and I teamed up to create some terrific preorder bonuses for you including the audiobook version (for free!) and what you see in the above photo. Everyone who preorders (that means, orders by September 3, before the book comes out on the 4th) gets those bonuses. But to make sure you have those in your hands by the September 4 release date, please preorder and complete the form by Tuesday August 14th because my team and I need time to process and get those in the mail.

(I’m so grateful for your preorders, because they are SO IMPORTANT to the success of a book—I explain why here.) 

Confess YOUR literary sins

Readers, now it’s your turn: We are inviting YOU to confess your literary sins. If you totally faked your way through a term paper, or hate the book everybody else loves, or fell asleep so completely during a reading of Where the Red Fern Grows your desk tipped over backward, or listen to a podcast about reading but don’t actually READ, we—and I’m speaking for your fellow readers here—want to hear all about it.

Post your confession to your favorite social media platform—with a great photo, if appropriate—and use the hashtag #confessyourliterarysins. I’d love it if you tagged me with either (or both) @annebogel and @whatshouldireadnext. Feel free to tag the book as well with #idratherbereading.

I can’t WAIT to see what you share, and will share a round-up of some of my favorites with you in the weeks to come. 

Not feeling super social these days? Drop your literary sins right here in the comments.

Thanks so much. I can’t wait to see what YOU share. Happy reading!  

375 comments | Comment

375 comments

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    • Mary Ann says:

      Ugh, Donna Tartt – I’ve tried to read her books and can’t get through them! Also, I absolutely loathed Anna Karenina.

      • Kris B says:

        Anna Karenina was the worst. My book club read it and so many loved it. The whole way through the book all I could think was where is that train! It is seriously the worst.

        • Lauren says:

          You got through it?! You’re better than me; I’m not generally a book deserter but I think I put it down about 150 pages in. I feel no guilt 🙂

          • Erica S says:

            I quit Anna Karenina too, then just watched the movie 🙂 Also detested The Goldfinch.

            I’ve never read Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, or anything remotely like it. I think it’s drivel.

    • Jennifer O. says:

      My book club read Middlemarch – we read women authored books and alternate between and classic and contemporary – and NO ONE finished Middlemarch. A friend and I watched the movie so at least I know how it ended. It was a slog.

      I haven’t read The Goldfinch yet, though I own it, since it seems like such a commitment and has been so divisive.

      • Julie says:

        I read Middlemarch years ago – after a college professor said it was the best novel in the English language. Not. Dorothea was such an annoying character – I wanted to slap her. And yes, it was boring. I tried it again a few years ago, and a few chapters into it – up rose the ol’ gorge. So I cast it aside. To hell with Middlemarch, say I.

  1. Julie says:

    I think the wikipedia plot summaries of anything by Charles Dickens are 98% better than the actual text. Why so many words, Charles?

    • Karen says:

      I wrote my best friend’s senior term theme on “Jane Eyre” for her OVER THE PHONE. I dictated what to write, AND she still got an “A.”

    • Beth says:

      I feel the same way! I read what I later learned was an abridged version of Great Expectations in ninth grade and loved it, but it took me forever to get through Oliver Twist as an adult and it was not worth it. I felt a little guilty about it until an English academic in my book club told me she had never made it through an entire Dickens novel for the same reason! I felt so validated.

    • Kristen says:

      I heard once that Dickens was paid by the word–I’d be verbose too, if that was the case! But it really does feel so excessive sometimes.

      • Erin says:

        My husband is a huge Charles Dickens fan and he says that this is untrue. Actually, he goes on and on about it, much like his favorite author, so I won’t send him over here to explain it to you. LOL

      • Jo Yates says:

        I heard Les Miserables author Victor Hugo was paid by the word. which is why I read an abridged version. That may explain Moby Dick too.

    • Julie, I loved A Tale of Two Cities when I read it in High School English class. It’s the book, well that and Shakespeare, that got me onto the British Lit craze. I still read more British Lit than American. Maybe that should be my confession.

    • Laura says:

      I love Dickens on audio. I think the voices make all the difference in enjoyment through the run on sentences! A lot of the Russian authors (looking at you, Dostoyevsky) are long-winded too, but I get a lot out of them even though they could have excised a few hundred pages.

  2. Leslie says:

    Ok, mine is that I took a class in college on Russian literature WITH a famous Russian poet (professor) And even though I had read and loved a couple other great Russian novels at that point, I was a terrible student!! Like, skipping out of class early, not actually reading assignments and just faking my way through papers, kind of terrible. I still don’t know why I slacked off SO MUCH in that particular class and I feel embarrassed for not making more of the chance to learn from the famous poet. (You’re right- it feels GOOD to get that off my chest!)

      • Jill Porco says:

        I have tried Pride and Prejudice two times, once recently and the other in my early 20s. It’s all about women finding a wealthy husband. I know, the times the books were written and all that, but isn’t it pathetic how some books and women’s magazines continue harping on this topic. A woman is a person in her own right AND does NOT need a man to know her true worth. Thus, my objection to Jane Austen. She could turn a phrase and understood human nature, I’ll give her that. The first line of the book is one of the best I’ve read lately, but her subject matter sucks. And I always feel like a literary traitor when I diss an author others rave about and love.

    • Louise says:

      I was given Anne of Gg as a young teen and did not like her at all. I couldn’t stand the way she was so dreamy and always quoting romantic poetry. I thought she was a complete drip and never read any more. Then I somehow dead up re-reading as an adult and loved the books. Anne grew on me, I was in love with Gilbert and the descriptions of places and people were wonderful.

      • Cheryl says:

        Winston Churchill said that it’s a pity to discover some books too early in your life. (I would find the actual quote but I would have to get up and find my copy of “Painting as a Pastime,” lol.) I never read Dickens until I was 31 and I love him. I know without a doubt that if I’d had to read him in high school I would have hated it, and I would have really missed out. I’m glad you came back to Anne!

        • SilentBill says:

          I had to read Great Expectations in 9th grade and HATED it! I read it this year at age 62 and thought it was excellent. I’m tempted to try another Dickens.

        • Ruth says:

          Just last week I found a copy of Painting as a Pastime at my library’s bookstore and picked it up. Haven’t begun it, but it looks like a treasure! That was the first I’d heard of it, so to see the title mentioned in print within the same week… I couldn’t let it pass without comment! 🙂

    • Erica S says:

      Tried to read Anne of Green Gables and you’d think it’d be right up my alley (love Laura Ingalls, historical fiction, and Jane Austen) but it was So Boring. Maybe because I read it as an adult? I also couldn’t finish Little Women.

      • Ruth says:

        Erica,
        Sounds as though we have similar tastes in books. I also loved the Little House books and Jane Austen, hated Little Women, and was “meh” about Green Gables. Wanted to suggest Willa Cather’s O, Pioneers to you, and Willa Cather in general. It’s Little House for grownups.

  3. Kathryn says:

    I have a BA in English and didn’t read a single book assigned in my Senior Seminar (the capstone course). Less literary but also cringeworthy: I always tell people that The Thorn Birds is the longest book I’ve ever read … I never actually finished it :-/

  4. Erin says:

    Not sure if this is a book confession or church confession, but sometimes I bring my book to church and sneak out and sit in the narthax & read during the sermon.

  5. Bambi says:

    I abandoned the first Harry Potter. Discovered I don’t like fantasy. I have never told this bec I’m afraid my friends will decide they can’t hang out with me any more. 😊

    • Valerie S. says:

      I soooo agree with this! I think Harry Potter is overrated and the extent to which it dominates the bookish world is extremely annoying to me!

    • Colleen says:

      It is an unpopular opinion, but JK Rowling needs an editor. I read the whole HP series. I was definitely caught up in the “what happens next.” However, in re-reading the series, little things began to bug me. For example, the constant re-use of the same adjectives to describe how her characters expressed their ideas. It seemed that the more creative control she won as a result of her popularity, the more it proved that EVERY author needs an editor. (Now ducking for cover over this opinion. . . )

      • Sarah says:

        I really loved that series, but always felt that the 3rd bok was the best, and after that, they got longer, but not really better in terms of tightness and plot.

        • Savitha says:

          Yes! Also, and I supposed this could be my confession right here: I resisted Harry Potter for a LONG time (i’d grown up in India and had read my fair share of boarding school books and really, isn’t that what Harry Potter is?). I finally went with my college professor to watch the movie of book #3, which then enticed me to read the book. I like it fine enough but did not feel the need to keep reading. Finally, I was between jobs ten days before the last book was released; I had a month off, and I binge-read all seven books in one fell swoop over a period of two weeks. I started with book #3 (I was afraid that books #1 and #2 would be so boring that I’d never make it past them, and I (speed) read them after I finished book #7).

      • Jill Porco says:

        Totally agree with respect to her writing needing a better editor for her Robert Galbraith books. Would read further, but they’re just too long. Ditto for Elizabeth George.

      • Yes! Everyone was always muttering. I genuinely enjoy the series and have read them a least twice each. (Maybe 3 times, all as an adult, I may have lost count during the sleepless baby years.) But I wanted to reach through the page and beg her to find better dialogue verbs, or maybe just use said!
        I think all authors have these kind of weaknesses. A favorite author of mine has way too many characters standing arms akimbo. I think I was halfway through her third book before I even knew what that meant! 🙂

  6. Alicen says:

    I can’t stand books for the beach, romance novels, anything about weddings/brides and Nicholas Sparks makes me gag. I will also probably never read anything by Liane Moriarty, Celeste Ng, or Jojo Moyes. I couldn’t finish Behold the Dreamers and I know I won’t read An American Marriage.
    It feels good to admit this! It makes me want to make a list in my reading journal of the books/genres that I dislike. 🙂

      • Alicen says:

        I feel the same way! The way a cover looks is huge in me deciding if I’m even going to pick up the book! I won’t read books like “The Wedding Date” because of the cover. It just looks cheap and cheesy. And they always seem to be the same story.

        • Lauren says:

          Just finished the The Wedding Date on Audiobook. You’ve classified it perfectly without picking it up. It’s the same old story we’ve all read 30 times.

          • Alicen says:

            I know a lot of people like that kind of stuff. I prefer books with depth and meaning. If I’m still thinking about it a week later, it was really important to me. I don’t have time to read all the books so I have to be picky. I also like to read as an escape but I need that escape to be about more important things than who’s hooking up with who and how this girl’s going to win that guy’s heart. <- I'm over it. LOL.

      • Alicen says:

        Well, I did say probably. So, if Anne could give me a really convincing case for a Liane Moriarty book I might consider it. 🙂
        Unless you have a good argument, Sue? I’d love to hear why you love Moriarty!

    • Emily says:

      I totally get this. I’m just surprised you put Celeste Ng on the list. Everything I Never Told You stuck with me and has more depth than a beach read.

      • Alicen says:

        Emily, I know that Celeste Ng books are more in-depth, but I don’t like stories about families or mystery thrillers. I especially don’t like stories that involve children. That’s a huge trigger for me. So that’s why I bunched Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng in the same group.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I have two:
    1. I used to be addicted to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I love a love triangle, and Stephanie/Joe/Ranger were a fun one. Eventually, the novels got so repetitive that I stopped reading years ago. But when a new one is published, I will read the last chapter in a bookstore to see if the triangle has resolved yet. It hasn’t.

    2. I’ve never managed to get through even the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia.

  8. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    I cant read Stephen King.
    MOst of John Grishams books for their sloppy ends. One exception. I also hated both the book and film of the bridges in Madison County(r). I have to confess i was so disapointed with Tuesdays with Morrie

  9. Sarah says:

    Haven’t read, and don’t want to read any Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. I do, however, read cheesy romance every now and then, but I NEVER record that on Goodreads!!

    • Kristin says:

      I love cheesy romance novels occasionally, but only via ebook or audio (headphones or alone in my car!). I never record them on goodreads (too embarrassed for Kristin “The Reader” to be reading that trash) but lately I’ve had a hard time remembering if I’ve read certain books (a problem when the covers and plot are all the same :o) ) so I had to start keeping a list! I just love that they always live happily ever after and you know nothing truly bad will happen to the characters.

      My other confession is I’ve been known to read a book placed strategically in my open desk drawer at work when I just HAD to finish a chapter. As you probably guessed, I also read under the covers past bedtime as a kid :o)

    • Jess says:

      Oh yeah, I’ve definitely started a book on my Kindle and then quickly checked to make sure it wasn’t on my Goodreads profile! 🙂

  10. Rebekah says:

    I thought I was going to grow old and die before I finished David Copperfield. The chapter-long descriptions tried to kill me.

  11. RA says:

    I feel like I read totally different books from other people who loved them. I HATED Catcher in the Rye, I feel neutral about To Kill a Mockingbird, and I thought The Book Thief was SO BORING. Were my copies defective? I also dread novels that are epistolary or told from multiple perspectives. As soon as I open a book and see a diary entry or letter, or get to the second chapter and it flips perspectives, I just GROAN. Not this, again. (There are exceptions! But I would never knowingly choose one of these books without a LOT of strong recs behind it.)

    • RA says:

      P.S. I also can’t with Russian lit. I made it through Anna Karenina for book club, Cliff Notes-ed my way through Crime and Punishment in high school, and tried doggedly to get through The Brothers Karamazov because I felt like it was a thing that smart people do. Nope. It’s not for me.

    • Colleen says:

      Not only have I always hated “Catcher in the Rye,” I cannot abide any of the angsty-adolescent genre, no matter how much others rave about those kinds of books. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is just okay; way overrated.

    • Jan says:

      I HATED the Book Thief and thought death as a narrator with all the nonsensical similes and metaphors were ridiculous. UGH!!!

        • Jan says:

          good for you, I’m delighted you enjoyed a book I did not. We all like (and dislike) different things. I didn’t think the point of Anne’s post was the to defend our personal likes and dislikes so I don’t understand the purpose of your comment on my personal thoughts on this book.

  12. Julia says:

    I majored in philosophy in college (a decade ago) and since then have never read a single “intellectual” or “literary” book, either fiction or nonfiction.

  13. Meg says:

    I have an english degree and have never read Shakespeare or Dickens. I love Jenny Colgan novels. I crack the spines on all my books. To Kill A Mockingbird feels like middle grade. I’ve read 4 biographies about the Brontes but only 3 of their novels and none of the poetry.

  14. Eileen slater says:

    I have only read the first three Harry Potter books, but I’ve read them each 5 times. I was a third grade teacher and read them to my class. I just never felt the need to go on with the series!

  15. Hayley says:

    I am a compulsive “starter”, but struggle to finish if the book doesn’t win me right away, or if something new and exciting comes along (I start it too). Otherwise they continue to sit in various states/percentages of “unreadness” until I can get to them again, or their due date at the library is upon me!

  16. Eileen slater says:

    P.S I signed up to read Middlemarch in Anne’s fabulous bookclub but I can’t bring myself to read it. I feel huge guilt!

  17. My confession is that I’ve read a ton of the classics, and I actually enjoy them. But, nowadays when I read, I’m reading for an escape. So I read TONS of fluff and stuff. Some good. Most forgettable. I love when a fluff and stuff makes me think.

    Also, my three favorite books in the whole wide world are Auntie Mame and The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared, and Pride and Prejudice. Snarky and even dark, but they make make me laugh out loud every.single.time.

  18. I confess, I don’t read the newest literature coming out. I prefer classic books to the new and shiny. If I read a newer book it is usually four to five years after it came out. Exceptions to this rule are my favorite nonfiction writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brené Brown, Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Christiane Northrop, and my favorite fantasy/historical fiction authors.

    Another confession, I’ve never read Catcher in the Rye, and only read To Kill A Mockingbird a few years ago. I hate Wuthering Heights. It’s not a love story, its about obsession, but love Jane Eyre.

    • Terry says:

      Oh, hurrah for this!!! I often feel left out in the MMD world and recommendations, because I find much of modern literary fiction is just not my thing. LOVE those classics and wait for years before reading newer stuff.

      And I, too, HATE (in capital letters!) Wuthering Heights. Hate, hate, hate. Glad to know I am not alone!

      • Terry, I know what you mean. Though some newer books that Anne discusses with her guests I do put on my TBR list. I just don’t read them until I feel in the mood to do so. It’s good to connect with someone like me.

  19. Kristen says:

    I have hated nearly every literary fiction novel I’ve ever read…so many of them seem to be some version of “let’s do a deep dive into the murky minds of reprehensible people who are unrelateable in every way” and I just…ain’t nobody got time for that.

    And I read way more fluffy fantasy/romance/YA/etc. books than are good for anyone to be reading…Catherine Morland and I would have gotten along well.

    I am also really hard on books. I like my books to be …”well-loved,” shall we say, and most of my friends who like to lend out books also like them to be kept in pristine condition. It’s a recipe for anxiety, let me tell you!

    • Jules Q says:

      I’m almost a complete opposite, Kristin! I prefer a deep, gritty (but not too much), complex novel that makes me read a bit slower to capture all the layers. Romance, “Chick Lit”, and Fantasy (except Tolkien) just bore me to death. Some YA is great, unless it involves a typical romance plotline.

  20. Melanie says:

    1. I can’t stand Jane Eyre and kind of love Wuthering Heights – the opposite of pretty much everyone else.

    2. I’m turned off by anything described as Southern Fiction and I’m not sure why it needs to be a genre (although I know lots of people disagree).

    3. I have a very strong but probably unreasonable aversion to Jodi Picoult, as in I will never even consider picking up one of her books. I’m suspicious of anyone who can crank out books so quickly.

    4. I liked but didn’t love All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief; I don’t rave about them like so many others do.

    5. I’ve been working my way through the same biography for just about a year but I keep getting sidetracked by easy-to-read novels.

    • Mary says:

      I feel the same way about Jodi Picoult. I was given one of her books years ago and it has never been removed from my shelf. I just can’t do it. Yet, I’ve never actually read one of her books.

    • KG says:

      I so enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s first novels. I loved how well written and set up the controversial dilemmas were, depicting all angles and emotions and points of view. It seems like once she realized she was talented at that, she moved into more of a lecture style that tells readers what to think rather than letting them feel their way through it.

  21. Emily says:

    I have tried multiple times to read Jane Eyre but I just can’t. I just hate this book.
    My GCSE and A Level English Literature teachers told me I would never get into a University in the UK to study English Lit. without reading it; I read the short form notes and blagged my way through comparisons, discussions and critical theory regarding this text. I now have my degree, and I never, ever admit to either having not read this or actively hating it for fear of people thinking I am a fraud.
    Feels good to get this off my chest : )

    • Beth says:

      I did that with Island of the Blue Dolphins in fifth grade. Reading it was making me so depressed! I got through it with good grades, but then my mom (she was the sixth grade English teacher, so I really should have expected it) caught me and made me confess and finish the book.

  22. I confess that I read the entire series of Fifty Shades of Grey…twice. I also asked God to forgive me for this…twice. We are good. Sometimes a girl just wants to read a trashy novel or novels. And yes, I know the author can’t write a complete sentence. #sorrynotsorry #IReadonKindle #TooEmbarrassed2BuyAtABookstore #

  23. anne catherine says:

    I’m an English teacher, so I won’t use my real name; some earnest students might be hanging around. I can’t stand the cultivated gloom of writers like Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. Some wit called them ‘the loam and lovechild’ set. Get a life, guys! It was such a relief to read “Cold Comfort Farm”, the hilarious parody of the genre.

    • Ruth says:

      I had a love/hate relationship with Hardy’s Tess in my late teens. Loved the romantically gloomy atmosphere, hated the unfairness of events. Re-read the book in my forties, but just the first half, to the point at which Tess finds happiness and a fresh start on a dairy farm. Knowing that the next chapter signaled her downfall, I declared, “…and she lived happily ever after!” and closed the book.

  24. Dana Robison says:

    I didn’t want to go to book club last night to discuss On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet because I couldn’t put down The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

  25. Sarah says:

    I lied to my good friend about liking Outlander after she lent it to me. I don’t. Clare is the worst and I like that book less the more I think about it. Now I just have to avoid the subject. Gone with the Wind and The Princess Bride were better as movies. I can talk much more at length about books I hate than books I love. I spend more time than I should really dissecting why I dislike them [maybe if I spent that much time on the books I love, I’d have a better grasp on what I should be reading anyways].
    Please forgive me.

  26. Halie says:

    My confession – I didn’t enjoy “Pride and Prejudice.” It was annoying and boring for me. It was my first Austen novel, and I’m not in a hurry to read any others…

  27. Edie says:

    My confession is that I’m beginning to loathe the literary device where a story isn’t told chronologically. I feel like I keep going from 0 to 60 repeatedly and I get annoyed at feeling disoriented, even if this may be part of the point. Give me a linear epic any day.

    My other confession is that I adore cookbooks, love reading them and have a bookcase filled with them but 9 out of 10 nights I’m at a loss as to what to make for dinner.

  28. Shannon says:

    I do not re-read books. Ever. As a result I only own books that I haven’t read yet. Once I finish a book I pass it on to someone else or donate it to the library.

  29. TK says:

    I’m a librarian and I’ve never read a Harry Potter book or seen any of the movies. I’m pretty much an outlier in my field but so be it. That genre isn’t my thing. 🙂

    • Sheryl says:

      I love this. I sometimes think I’m the only reader who has no interest in Harry Potter. I fell asleep watching the first movie.

      • Darla says:

        I am reading this thread and now feel secure enough to say MY NAME IS DARLA AND I HAVE NOT READ ANY HARRY POTTER, TWILIGHT OR FIFTY SHADES. Whew – Anne is right, that feels pretty good. Everyone that knows me knows I am a voracious and very vocal reader – ‘can I give you a recommendation?’ So they always seem stunned when they ask what I thought of the above named books and I’m forced to admit I haven’t read them. Zero motivation to read them…still. Recently read Pride & Prejudice for the MMD Book Challenge….not wowed.

  30. Lucina Hallagan says:

    If I’m unsure about a book I read the last few pages first. I don’t mind the spoiler … I just don’t want to waste my time on an awful ending. All my friends think it’s cheating, but it makes me a happy reader.

    • Beth says:

      I do this most of the time. Especially if I am unsure of the author. An ending can make or break a book for me, and if it’s just going to depress me, it’s not worth the time. I know of two other people who do this, so I think it’s more common than it might sound.

      • Bill says:

        Why? What was wrong with it? You were expecting a happily-ever-after ending? It’s one of my favorite books of the last 4 years. Excellent story. (The only book I ever threw across the room, very hard into the wall, was a college text book on computer programming. Later in life I became a computer programmer for 22 years and it was the most enjoyable job I ever had. You never know).

    • Nancy K. says:

      I a lot too, I also do not mind the spoiler. Sometimes I prefer to know especially if I cannot get back to finishing the book for awhile I will read the end. Unless I really did not like the book I still read it through to the end.

      • Ruth says:

        I almost spat my ice cream, laughing, when I read that “Does the Dog Die?” was a “thing,” but what a FABULOUS idea! I’m sending a link to the clown alert to my best friend.

      • Heather says:

        That’s the best! I automatically hate a book or movie if the dog dies. There is just no good reason to do that to your audience!

  31. Kim N says:

    One Hundred Years of Solitude is the most frustrating book I’ve ever read. I would never have finished it if it wasn’t a book club selection. I spent half the time flipping back to the family tree at the front of the book, trying to figure out that crazy family.
    Wuthering Heights was just a depressing book about some pretty awful people. There. I said it.

    • Louise says:

      Me too!! I hated 100 Years of Solitude and everyone was raving about it. So I assumed I was at fault and read his other bestseller Love in the time of Cholera and hated that one too. Hated them! And the only other book I hate is Wuthering Heights. Read it twice, 20 years apart, and loathed it both times.

      • Sandy says:

        Oh my, I loathed Wuthering Heights, too, and abandoned it! I had just read and adored Jane Eyre, but couldn’t stand the dysfunctional characters in WH!

    • Pam says:

      My book club read this too. We jokingly referred to it as The Thousand Years of Solitude, as it bored us and seemed to go on forever!

  32. Courtney says:

    Anne’s post triggered me to confess my sins.
    To this day I still hate my 5th grade teacher for making us read “Where the Red Fern Grows”. Who in their right mind makes a group of 10 year olds read a sad, depressing book about a boy and his two dead dogs?!?

    • Sheryl says:

      I just read Where the Red Fern Grows for the Great American Read. I didn’t like it either! My review was if you hate raccoons, this would be a great book. To me, it was a book about a boy and his dogs killing raccoons.

    • Meghan says:

      “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Summer of the Monkeys” are two of my favorite books and the only two that I will occasionally re-read. My sixth grade teacher read them aloud to us for a few minutes after recess everyday.

  33. Jo Yates says:

    I could not finish Moby Dick in high school; I got bogged down in the whale chapters. But I did well on the assignments. A couple of years ago I read it for the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge, and I loved it! I’ve developed a love of narrative nonfiction as an adult. I HATED Gone Girl, and couldn’t read A Prayer for Owen Meany. I collect books with dogs in them, even if they aren’t well-written. Of course the Chet & Bernie series by Spencer Quinn, and the Survivors series by Erin Hunter are wonderful.

  34. Rebecca says:

    I avoid the classics..they all feel so slow.
    I am getting so tired of books with multiple perspectives. It used to be a novel device and now every book jumps around between perspectives. It’s too much.

  35. Sheryl says:

    I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until last month (I’m 54). And I didn’t love it. Think I’ll just watch the Jane Austin movies and pretend like I read the books.

  36. Chris says:

    I hate reading Shakespeare…would rather watch the movie (especially with Kenneth Branagh).
    Didn’t Like Harry Potter until I discovered the audiobooks read by Jim Dale.
    Hated Gone Girl and The Nightingale, but love murder mysteries.

  37. Carey Hall @careythbooknerd says:

    I posted this comment on Instagram/Bookstagram too but hopefully I won’t get too much hate for it…I do NOT like Jane Austen. I know that’s terrible considering our fearless leader @Annebogel is a huge fan! I find it boring and slow and overly romantic. I’m just not a fan. I also hated Eleanor Oliphant. It’s sitting in a timeout on my counter thinking about how much it has annoyed me.

  38. Andrea says:

    I love to listen to Anne’s podcast and the Tea & Tattle podcast to hear about all the new and interesting books but secretly I only really read trashy romance novels. I just can’t help myself!

  39. Susan S says:

    I was a college English major and love, love, love all the great literary classics from Austen to Zola! I also read every Star Trek novel, going where few English majors have ever gone before …

  40. Katie T says:

    I am a voracious reader, known in my circle to be the crazy book lady, and have multiple tshirts and coffee mugs talking about readerly things that people get for me due to this impression. However, I can’t seem to belong to a book club. I don’t want to talk about the book, as it takes up time that I could be reading. Not kidding. I die a little every time I try to join one. It is just too personal for me, and I don’t want to spend the evening discussing a character or the plot because:more books! Get out of my way! Dont waste my time!! Related: I was a writing minor in college who wrote constantly and turned on only what I needed to to pass. Could not stand anyone reading my stuff. Same neuroses? Who knows.

    • Mary says:

      I also prefer not to be in a book club because I don’t like feeling obligated to read what they’re reading. I want to choose my own books!

    • Pam says:

      I have largely quit going to my book club for the same reason: they often select books that just don’t interest me. They vote to read these books, and then half of the members don’t read them. Repeat. I’m incapable of showing up unprepared, so I’ve read the uninteresting book, and sit there fuming because we don’t really discuss it in any depth because half of the people didn’t read it. Whew! I feel better. Sometimes a rant is needed.

    • Susan says:

      You need to join my book club. There are 6 of us. At any given meeting you are lucky if half read the book and even that half, likely one didn’t finish. We talk about the book for 10 minutes and the rest of the time eat, drink and be merry!

    • Guest says:

      Oh my goodness – I am so happy to hear someone like me! Have tried book clubs and…I hate them. I don’t like being told what I have to read and women’s book clubs seem to fall into one of the following: depressing or trendy. No thanks.

  41. Laura says:

    I go to the thrift store and buy dozens of “trashy” Mormon romance novels and hide them under the bed. They are formulaic, cheezy and of dubious theology, but they are a great escape.

    I also buy lots of cheezy romance novels at the thrift store or library sale (ie, Elin Hildebrand, Jennifer Weiner, etc), but don’t feel the need to hide those under the bed. They get a spot on the bottom shelf of the nightstand.

    However, on my nightstand? The Ron Chernow biography of Ulysses S Grant.

  42. ErinH says:

    I don’t like contemporary fiction. It so constantly disappoints me that I only read it when I have to (for Book club, of course).
    I hated Moby Dick. Also Life of Pi. And Tom Clancy, John Grisham….
    What’s even worse…….I don’t feel bad about my “sins”!! Lol!

    • Molly says:

      Oh Moby Dick is the WORST….Oh my goodness who could care that much about whales…I get all the metaphor crap but oh my goodness skip telling me about sperm whales.

  43. Molly says:

    In college, I absolutely got sucked into the Twilight Series and convince my Young adult lit. professor that we should do a book club on it and she totally went for it. When the fourth one came out, I bought it but there was some weird printing error in the last like 100 pages where it just skipped a bunch of pages. I drove to Barnes and Noble and just sat there and finished the rest of the novel…no regrets. I still unabashedly enjoy the series and I’m definitely not a vampire, romance genre kind of gal.

  44. Donna H. says:

    I love adding to my TBR (to be read) list through reading guides, podcasts, bookstore staff and friends recommendations, etc etc. So here’s my confession-sometimes I think I like Picking books more than Reading books (gasp).

    • Jules Q says:

      I could only read the books after seeing the first movie. It helped having the actors in movie nd while reading the characters. It’s still one of my faves.

  45. Hope says:

    When I read, I tune out everything around me. EVERYTHING! I was once boiling water and sugar together to make hummingbird nectar. You only cook it for something like 5 minutes. I was so focused on my book I forgot about the hummingbird nectar… until it totally caramelized and set off the smoke detector. The pan had to soak for 2 days. I buy the premixed hummingbird nectar now!

  46. Catherine says:

    I still say I don’t like science fiction even though I loved Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. I really didn’t like Bossypants, Yes, Please or either of Mindy Kaling’s memoirs even though I like strong females.

    • Brittney says:

      We’re twins! Same for science fiction and Ender. And I keep reading celebrity memoirs to see if there will ever be one I like.

  47. Liz says:

    Confession dump right here:

    1. When I was a girl, I was a perfect student, teacher’s pet. I never got in trouble…. Except every report card would have a parenthetical note that my teacher “loves that Elizabeth is such a reader, but would prefer if she didn’t read during math class”. I hid my book inside my cubby desk and snuck reading glances when my teacher wasn’t looking.

    2. I hate bookmarks, but I insist on using them because I feel judged every time I dog-ear a page.

    3. I didn’t read the Twilight series until I was in grad school because I was “too mature to read that junk”. But I read them on the sly and I love them. [Ducks behind the door to hide] (I hate the movies though… Does that redeem me?)

    • Sarah says:

      YES! I was always in trouble for reading in class. Also, when I say “Just, let me finish this chapter” I frequently read through the next chapter, too. My husband is onto to me though, and will sometimes sit and wait in order to keep me honest.

    • Jennifer Rittall says:

      Same here. I listened to the audio of the Twilight series because my then, 14 year old daughter was reading them and they sucked me right in. When the first movie came out I fell asleep in the theater. It was so bad I’ve never attempted to watch the others.

    • Melanie says:

      Grad school has got to be a primary period of light, escapist reading for so many people! I was in a lit-heavy program and ready the entire Harry Potter series over a couple of months because I needed a break from the reading I was doing to research my thesis.

  48. SC says:

    I’ve used my kids’ library cards to place holds ever since my library started charging for reservations for adult accounts.

      • SC says:

        Yep – £1 per book. Not just if you don’t pick it up (that, I think, is completely fair). Has put a serious damper on my library usage because I do feel a little guilty for using the loophole. Now I only put holds on the books Im dying to read.

    • Pam says:

      I have largely quit going to my book club for the same reason: they often select books that just don’t interest me. They vote to read these books, and then half of the members don’t read them. Repeat. I’m incapable of showing up unprepared, so I’ve read the uninteresting book, and sit there fuming because we don’t really discuss it in any depth because half of the people didn’t read it. Whew! I feel better. Sometimes a rant is needed.

      • Pam says:

        Oops. This is what I get for reading about reading – and posting – in the middle of the night without my reading glasses! This comment is double-posted and out of context here. Forgive me.

      • KG says:

        I feel SO guilty for saying this because I love my book club girls, but I often can’t help but think that they don’t love reading quite enough. LOL.

        • Pam says:

          I think that’s part of the problem. The original group of people formed a book club because they all shared a love of reading. However, members have come and gone since then, and I think many of the newer people see it more as a social gathering, with wine and good snacks. Reading the book is optional. Perhaps I just need to change my perspective to match, haha!

          • KG says:

            That’s exactly what I did, LOL. I just accepted that I’m more into the books and book discussion and my friends are more into a quick book discussion and then catching up over wine and dinner. LOL. That’s a big reason I’m on sites like these!

    • Krystal P says:

      I use my kids library cards to reserve all of my books because kids can sit in the library and “read down” their (aka my) overdue fines.And I classify their reading down as part of our homeschool day.

  49. ShalomSeeker says:

    For my high school senior lit class, I CHOSE War and Peace as the book I would read and report on. I’m not sure whether the choice was aspiration, pride, or foolishness, but I when I went to read it, I hated it and only finished about 100 pages. I watched the movie and wrote my paper off of that. (I know. I know.) I’m pretty sure my teacher suspected, because she gave me the lowest passing grade possible.

  50. Kelsey says:

    I didn’t start reading fiction until last year unless someone specifically handed me a novel that they highly recommended (I’m 30). I had read voraciously but exclusively nonfiction (some of it quite dry- like studies about social issues in rural China) since I was a teen. I’m still very picky about fiction, but I’ve found there’s some good stuff out there- as long as it’s realistic (so no fantasy here, and no, I haven’t read any Harry Potter). Today, most of my fiction titles come from Anne’s podcast, although despite her praise, I haven’t been able to get into the classics for the most part.

  51. Sue P says:

    1. When I get really caught up in a book and simply HAVE to know what happens next, I skim random pages ahead of where I’m reading. Inevitably, this throws me into a mini reading slump because I now have to go back and read the pages I skimmed, even though I kinda already know what’s going to happen.

    2. I’ve never read Spenser’s The Faerie Queene; I’ve only read Book I of it. I used Spark Notes and my inherent BS-ing abilities to talk authoritatively about it in order to pass my Ph.D. qualifying exams. Thankfully, if / when you teach The Faerie Queene to undergrads, you only ever cover the first Book!

    • Mary says:

      1- I do this too! Sometimes it takes me twice as long as it should to finish a book because I am constantly skipping ahead. I always feel guilty about it, but it keeps happening. I have better success when I read an ebook because it is more difficult to skip around.

  52. Melissa Gerber says:

    I read “Sophie’s Choice” because a young man I was interested in said I had to read it. Not what I was expecting (I really should have done more research before reading it). Needless to say, I lost interest in him pretty quickly. Well, I was young and infatuated. But I still feel guiltly confessing I did not like that book.

  53. Wendy says:

    I hated The Poisonwood Bible. Not matter how many times I tried, I simply couldn’t get into the story. It was the first book I’d left unfinished.

  54. Jennifer Rittall says:

    My high school English teacher loved Carson McCullers and he was my favorite teacher. We had to do our senior end of year term paper on an author and being the suck up that I was I chose Ms McCullers. I have still never read anything she has ever written. Mr. Wells, if you are reading this, thank you for giving me a passing grade on that paper.

  55. Even though I have literature degrees and taught lit, I hate Steinbeck. I thought the ending to Grapes of Wrath was so awful I couldn’t bring myself to read more.
    Also, sorry Jamie fans, but I gave up on the Outlander series. I think it was the fourth book when Jamie had a dream involving bestiality. Gabaldon had just sink too low for me.

  56. Cat says:

    Reading that great American novel “Moby Dick” was the longest and most depressing episode of my life. Normally a very quick reader, I found myself avoiding reading at every turn. It was well-researched but all over the place. I made myself finish it, but promised to ditch any book after that, that did not hold my interest.

  57. Elyse says:

    I love cheesy romance novels. My mom created the reader in me and as I grew up, that’s what she had in her shelves. I read more broadly than her now, but I cannot resist Mary Balogh or Nora Roberts every now and then lol

  58. Including children’s books, I have over 1000 unread books in my house 😳 I get them from all different places, but have a particular fondness for garage sales and used book sales — I went to one yesterday (despite the 1000+ unread books 🙊) and came home with a stack of another 40 titles for only $15. I’m running out of room!

  59. Michelle says:

    I just got Goldfinch in audio and got rid of it the same day. Blech! I also despised East of Eden and Anna Karenina, but love Dickens. My guilty pleasure is Dorothea Benton Frank and Mary Kay Andrews – nothing better on a cold NH winter day than a hot southern romance!

  60. Mary R says:

    I haven’t read a single Jodi Picoult book despite numerous friends and family members telling me to do so over the years. Maybe its the covers, or the titles I don’t know but my literary confession is: I judge books by the cover and I have no regrets.

    • Maggie says:

      The first Jodi Picoult book I read I literally threw across the room toward the end. I would be reluctant to pick up another.

  61. Beth says:

    Anne Shirley is one of my favorite characters but I can’t get into the books! I watched the Anne of Green Gables series on PBS as a child in the ’80’s and just fell in
    love with it. I tried the books, but like the movies better. I have even been to Prince Edward Island. I’m too ashamed to tell anyone!

    • Michelle says:

      I was given the Little House series for Christmas back in the late ’70’s, refuse to get rid of them, but have never read them. I just really prefer the television series.

    • Pam says:

      I am Canadian. I’ve seen the old TV series, visited PEI, saw the play based on the books in Charlottetown, and I’ve never read the books either. So many books, so little time. Canadian classics, but there you go.

  62. Laiba says:

    Its been a year I have adopted this passion of loving and reading novels and it actually turns out to be true *books are your best friends*.
    I love to read sidney sheldon’s books more. But I dont like those authors who repeat their story on almost every page ex. Danielle Steel. Although i love the plot of his stories but he tends to repeat everything alot. *my point of view*.

  63. Nikki says:

    1. No more self help books for a while! They all say almost the same 5-10 things.

    2. Can’t get into epistolary novels. Couldn’t handle Gilead. Also can’t get into Geurnsey Potato Peel Pie.

    3. I’m a little over Bookstagram. I skim past lots of posts lately.

    4. I refuse to read any more books set in NYC. Full stop. There are SO many other interesting places in this country & the world-I’m over it.

    • Ruth says:

      The universe kept telling me that I MUST read Potato Peel Society, but I tried 3 times and gave up. Last night it popped up as a made-for-Netflix movie, and I watched it. Very Rosamunde Pilcher. Pretty scenery, pretty costumes, a lot of BBC actors I like, high production values. I enjoyed it. If you’re still curious about The Potato Peel Society, you might enjoy it also.

  64. Larissa says:

    I confess I am not keen on joining book clubs as I don’t like the pressure of reading by a certain date …and I don’t read classics even though I think I “should”!

  65. Maryalene says:

    When I was in middle school and high school, I used to always flip to the back and read the final sentence after I got done with the first chapter. I’m not sure what compelled me to commit this transgression against suspense.

  66. Kathy H says:

    The book club I run at the library where I work is reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I am hereby confessing that I just couldn’t make it past Chapter 1, so I actually read the Cliff”s Notes. Great idea for a story with about 4 billion words too many.

  67. Marie says:

    Every Summer, I love all those covers with beaches and bikes and ocean and umbrellas! It turns out I really like the covers and maybe I just need my own beach vacation because I never really like those “beach reads.”

  68. Carolina says:

    I hate retellings and anything that is inspired by something else.I understand that nothing is really original but if I can tell where you got it from you are doing imitation as flattery wrong. Change something other than the name. For God’s sake.

  69. Aimee says:

    I got into a car accident and totaled the family vehicle because I was reading while driving. I’ve never told a soul. My husband still doesn’t know that’s why I wrecked our car!

      • Aimee says:

        Yep totally fine! Amusingly with the insurance money we were able to get a car exactly like the one we were driving but with 50,000 less miles, so in a way it was kind of a win. But I will certainly not be reading while driving EVER again.

  70. Marla says:

    My literary sins include avoiding buying books at all costs and not caring about ‘beautiful covers’ (although I like the creepy covers because then I know not to read it).

  71. Ashley says:

    I didn’t hate Twilight, but I did hate Brideshead Revisited. Sorry Anne!

    I never watch movies of books, so I’ve read HP, Anne of Green Gables, and a couple Jane Austens, but never saw the movies. Based on these comments, there are several I should skip and go straight to the movie!

  72. Vanessa says:

    I’ve tried twice to read Wuthering Heights. I even did a book report on it (receiving a grade of 100…), but I’ve still not been able to get through more than half of it. I wanted to like it. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorites, and I thought, since they were sisters, surely it would be similar. Nope. I find the characters in Wuthering Heights so unappealing and unlikable, that I just can’t read it. I love characters who are so terrible that you love to hate them. I don’t love to hate Catherine and Heathcliff. I just hate them.

  73. Karrie says:

    I hated Wild and had a hard time finishing it. I’ve read the Twilight series at least four times and I’m 45 years old. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • Don’t get me started on Wild. I thought Cheryl Strayed had to be crazy hike that trail with no experience and by herself. She is so lucky to be alive if you are to believe the whole book (which I find a stretch). I own a home near the Blue Ridge and it is not for someone inexperienced.

  74. Kara Middleton says:

    I’m 48 years old I am always, as in 7 days a week, 365 days a year, reading one of the Harry Potter books. They relax me, help me sleep and just make me happy.

  75. Pam says:

    I read the entire Twilight series, even though I thought they were complete trash. Then I gave them away, because no way could I have those terrible books taking up valuable shelf space in my home.
    I own the entire Harry Potter series, but stalled after the fourth book – work pressures at the time. I’ve been retired three years and have never finished reading the series. But I did see all the movies.
    I love somewhat formulaic mystery and/or thriller series. I own and have read the entire Spenser PI series by Robert B. Parker. Love Spenser, Hawk and Susan. Still hang on to the books and will reread them all someday. I have preordered the new book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Saw both the Tom Cruise movies in the theatre. Bad casting but still went! I read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich up until about #18, when I finally admitted to myself that there were much better uses of my reading time and dollars.
    In general, I don’t care for so-called “women’s fiction”. It’s about relationships and family? Yawn. (Can you tell I don’t have kids?)
    I love a good pulp western. My Dad’s love for Louis L’Amour rubbed off on me, I guess. Sacketts 4ever.
    Good characters alone will not sustain my interest in a book. There has to be a page turner plot as well. Case in point: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I tore through the last half of that book.
    I finish most books that I start. I had one DNF last year. None so far this year. So I try to be picky about what I start. Cause I’m not a quitter. Sigh.
    I rarely read nonfiction. Just not interested in a long true life account. The last nonfiction book I read was Killers of the Flower Moon, a few months ago. I think I would have appreciated a fictional version much more. An important historical account but it left me wanting something more.
    And a confession from my other half: Most novels are too long. Cut the fluff and descriptions. Any novel longer than 200 pages required a better editor. So he skips or skims the “boring” parts. (Note that he does not feel guilty about this at all)!

  76. Lauren says:

    1. I hated Station 11 and I cringe when I hear people talk about it on the show (sorry Anne)!
    2. I’m horrible with reading comprehension so while I use any and all my spare time reading rather than watching tv or cleaning :/ I feel like I could never come on the show because I would have nothing to discuss. I could name three books I love and 1 I hated but could not full any of the time with descriptions.

  77. Cat says:

    Confessions of a Mommy reader:
    Kid #1: We read every word on every page and I turned back pages so the story made sense.
    Kid #2: If he turned the page before I had read the words, I inserted something that made sense but we read every page.
    Kid #3: “Once upon a… scary monster…feed them peanut…went to sleep. Wow you turned pages fast. All done. Good night.”

  78. Morghan says:

    I read romance novels and cozy mysteries almost entirely. I try to branch out and read other more “literary” things but I always go back to my tried and trues. I work at a library and am known in most of my circles to be a voracious reader, but whenever anybody asks me for a recommendation I am always too embarassed to give them the title of a book that I actually loved and instead recommend books from bookish podcasts or the new release shelf.

  79. Connie says:

    Wicked was the worst book I ever tried to read. Several members of our book club did finish it and raved about the play which they had seen. The other book that I could not read is The Happy Project. It was making me very unhappy and tired!

    • Ruth says:

      I don’t see how anyone who hasn’t read ALL of the Oz books can like/appreciate — or even understand — Wicked. I read the full series 3 or 4 times, so it all made sense to me, but so much of the book consists of inside references to characters from the lesser-known Oz books. I was shocked when it was adapted for Broadway, and again when it became a hit.

  80. Maggie says:

    I’m a high school librarian who LIES (sometimes) about having read books to recommend to students. I do read passages from most that I get, just to get the feel, but there is NO WAY I am getting through 300 YA books a year. I use reviews, student recommendations and other methods, too, but sometimes they just want to hear that I read it! o_o

  81. Diane Lee says:

    Another confession of not reading Wuthering Heights I normally finish books but have tried several times and just cannot get through it-it’s just too overwrought… Most readers are either for Jane Eyre or Withering Heights-I’m definitely a Jane Eyre girl…Much prefer the Kate Bush song (or is that just a British thing?)

  82. Alyssa says:

    I can’t stand audio books. They just don’t hold my interest and they put me to sleep while driving! But I would make an exception for your books Anne!

  83. I have a book blog and I haven’t read very many classics (including Pride & Prejudice, much to my mother’s dismay)! And – here’s the real confession…I don’t care! I don’t really want to go back and read them. Maybe with the exception of Rebecca and possibly P&P to satisfy my Mom 🙂
    I did not major in English or any kind of Literature in college and really didn’t even take any Lit classes, so never got that reading base.

    • Jill Porco says:

      Rebecca doesn’t read like a slow-moving classic tome at all! More like psychological suspense more than anything! Mrs. Danvers creeped me out! Talk about an unforgettable character!!!! The writing is excellent. I still remember the first sentence of the book. Some of her others are just weird, but Rebecca is amazing!

  84. Brittany says:

    I abandoned the Outlander series. The relationship between Jaime and Claire was so dysfunctional (the fact that he beat her at the beginning of their marriage really disturbed me as well as when, after they reunite, they get into this I-hate-you-I’m-going-beat-the-crap-out-of-you-let’s-have-sex scene) and the rapey-ness of some of the sex scenes (between Jaime and the young girl who he got pregnant???) was like NOPE. This is not a relationship/character that I want to know more about.

  85. Carol says:

    I have two confessions, a recent and an old one: 1) I don’t think “The Handmaid’s Tale” is worth the hype. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2) Whenever I’m reading a book that has a nice, good looking guy in it, I picture him as a young Kevin Costner. 😊

  86. KG says:

    I don’t consider myself a contrarian in general, but I never seem to understand the hype around a lot of books that are popular or that a lot of people rave about. I also tend to stay away from books that EVERYONE is reading until their popularity has waned. I have no idea why. This is partly why I’ve never read Harry Potter.

    My reaction to a book is almost always the opposite of the majority of Goodreads ratings.

    The only books I consistently re-read are Gone With The Wind and Pride & Prejudice. I freak out too much about all the unread or new books I’m missing out on when I re-read other books, even though there are many I’d badly like to re-visit.

    My book journal is way too long and feels like such a chore now, but I force myself to do it so I can keep track of details of what I’ve read.

  87. Kate says:

    I have a huge TBR list but I always end up going back and re-reading old favorites. So I never finish my list.
    I have an informal list of books that must be read at least once a year, so every month or so I reserve an entire series from the library (for the umpteenth time) because it’s been several months since I last read it.
    I am a voracious reader and finish novels in one or two days, usually, but I have a strange reading pattern. I read the first part of a two-page spread. I skim the rest of the spread to get a general idea of what’s going to happen, then read a section somewhere in the middle of the second page. Then, because my brain won’t let me actually skim (or at least think I skimmed), I go back and religiously read every sentence. Even when I already know what happened.

  88. Samantha says:

    I would get in trouble for reading books at the dinner table when I was a kid. When I got divorced, I told my kids, who were in elementary school at the time, that it is a special day, we get to read at the dinner table day! Anytime I wanted to finish a book, it felt great to encourage my kids to read and let myself keep reading before having to slog through homework. I teach AP literature, but I refuse to read Antigone and Candide, even though it might help my students do better.

  89. Eva says:

    I feel like I have so many:
    – I read way too many romance novels.
    – I used SparkNotes for most of my early high school English classes.
    – I once completely made up a book report in 7th grade on a book I hadn’t read.
    – I absolutely hated Eat Pray Love, and thought it was the most annoying book ever. (But I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic)
    – Same with On the Road. Just did not like it!
    I hope you all will forgive my sins!!

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  90. (Third) Ruth says:

    This sure makes for fun reading!
    I don’t like many classics because of tenth grade English and having to read from a list and write a review every few weeks. Don’t care for many of the ‘great reads’ now. I do feel better seeing many who don’t like Jane Austen…my daughters love her works though.
    Just love to read, and reading about what other readers like/don’t like. Thanks!!

  91. Sarah says:

    Confession/pet peeve/unpopular opinion – I’ll never understand how people listen to an audiobook and then say they read the book. The very definition of ‘read’ is to look at and comprehend. You listened to the book, yes, but you did not read the book.

    • Jo Yates says:

      I am listening my way through The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The narrator is wonderful. She is from South Africa, but she adopts many different accents and voices for all the characters. It is how I can read while I am driving 26.4 miles back and forth to work.

  92. Barbara says:

    Disliked The Sun Also Rises, Proust. Didn’t read Pride and Prejudice til college. I struggle reading poetry on my own and not in.classes. And still haven’t finished Confederacy of Dunces. I loved Valley of the Dolls. It stays in my apt. Proust did not.

  93. Janet says:

    Love Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, Outlander.
    I’m a K-8 librarian who has not read all the Harry Potter series. I agree with whomever said JK Rowling needs an editor. I tend to shy away from super popular books. I don’t buy very many books as my budget won’t allow—use the the public library, people! I don’t understand book hoarders, sorry not sorry.

  94. Torrie says:

    I have so many literary sins (especially from college) but one of my favorites to share is the time in college I was supposed to read Forster’s A Passage to India by a certain day but just ran out of time–so I glanced at SparkNotes for about 15 minutes before and frantically read a few pages about two-thirds of the way through the novel. Well, the professor called on ME to start our class discussion on the symbolism of the book, and I totally and wildly invented something based on the 3 or so pages I’d just read and what I’d gathered from a quick SparkNotes perusal, and my professor totally started gushing over it and claiming how he’s NEVER made that connection before and thought that it was just BRILLIANT. And then we spent the next hour (yes, hour!) discussing the “brilliance” of my “theory.”

    (For the record, I did later make myself finish the book–about three years later, anyway–just to redeem myself, slightly.)

  95. Summer says:

    I know enough about Tolkien the person that people assume I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy but……. No, I haven’t. Only The Hobbit and that was so long ago I barely remember who’s who.
    Also I picked Emily Dickinson for my work of poetry for the MMD book challenge. Nine times out of ten I simply don’t know what on earth she’s talking about!!! I wish I would’ve picked Shel Silverstein

    • Tracie H says:

      I feel the same way about poetry! I like all the pretty words and phrases but I have no idea what the poet is really talking about. So glad I am not alone😊

  96. Cindy says:

    I travel in an RV all winter. RV parks have libraries, some of them quite big.Some are take a book, leave a book, but many have so many it’s just take a book. I have 5 years of books to read, but i can’t stop picking up books.

  97. I read books in the bath and get water droplets all over them. Including library books. Once I dropped a book I had asked the library to order for me in the bathtub. Whoops!

    I also feel like I need to confess I keep trying to read and ADORE Anne’s favorite books (Crossing to Safety, Jayber Crow, etc), and they are well-written but just not my thing. Sorry, Anne.

  98. Nicole says:

    I was an English major and hated literature classes. I always wanted to shout “but maybe the author wasn’t making a statement about society, maybe he just wanted to tell a story!”

    I read Pride and Predjudice, but don’t get the fuss. I’ve read a few modern re-tellings, and prefer those! Can’t bring myself to read anything else by Austen.

    Jodi Picoult books make me angry! I scared my (former) book club when I went on a rant after reading The Storyteller. Don’t read it. I vowed not to read any more of her books, but made an exception for Small Great Things, which I grudgingly liked.

    I hated The Book Thief.

    This is fun!

  99. B says:

    For a paper in college on Joyce on Ulysses, which was on Shakespeare and Joyce, I totally used a write-up of the Winter’s Tale instead of reading it because I didn’t have time to read it. That was also the play I didn’t read while a Teaching Assistant for Shakespeare. I did finally read it. I think I also skimmed parts of The Faerie Queen for a different class.

  100. Julie says:

    I always start a book and get bored somewhere 1/4 through and start another book. I currently have like 3 partials laying by my bed that make me feel guilty every night.

  101. Christi says:

    I pretty much cheated my way through my entire 8th grade year English class by having a friend summarize the plot of all the books we were supposed to read and still managed an A. I think the teacher was trying to inspire the boys because all the books were things like Call of the Wild, White Fang, Shane, etc. I have since read Call of the Wild and White Fang aloud to my two boys as a homeschooling mom and loved them! However, I still don’t believe my 8th grade self would have appreciated it. Shamefully, Flowers in the Attic was more my speed back then🤣.

  102. Terry says:

    I hate all the new books that have a “Surprising Twist At The End”. While I love me some unreliable narrators, I think too many authors are following a formula. The last book that did this to me – Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz – made me so mad I threw the book into the library bag and took it back the next day. Even though I could sort of see it coming.

    I am also so over books with female protagonists with problems with a capital P who go on to do way amazing things that wouldn’t really be possible in a million years – The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is the latest example of that.

    Now I seem like a crabby old lady! Get off my lawn!

  103. Sarah Peden says:

    In college I re-read the Betsy-Tacy Series by Maud Hart Lovelace when I was supposed to be reading Beowulf. Brit Lit is the only college class I got a D in for that reason – clearly I was better suited to being a children’s librarian…

    • Ruth says:

      I read Beowulf, and can attest that he substitution was more than worth making a D over. Thumbs up on your good judgment!

    • Ruth says:

      I read Beowulf, and can attest that the substitution was more than worth making a D over. Thumbs up on your good judgment!

  104. Jules Q says:

    My confession: if I see a movie adaptation of a book before I get around to reading it, I often cross that book off my TBR list. The exceptions are if I adore the film and want to dive deeper, or if the movie is multi-part and I don’t want to wait to see what happens next (i.e. Lord of the Rings). Most of the time I’ll just wait for the movie version. There’s just not enough time to read all the stories I want! 😩

  105. Brooke S says:

    I hated 2 of our last three book club picks so much that one (The Devil’s Queen) I finished by reading the first sentence of every paragraph and the other (How Should a Person Be) I speed-skimmed only stopping to highlight the passages I REALLY hated.

    Also, I could not finish The Goldfinch. I have no idea why everyone loves it.

  106. Cheryl Bollish says:

    I was such a book nerd in middle school that checked out the thickest books in our library and read GONE WITH THE WIND at least five times.

  107. I’m an English major who has read like 5% of Shakespeare’s work. I hate Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ernest Hemingway like they personally offended me in a past life. I thought The Great Gatsby was awful. I could go on, but I’ll just go over there and read another young adult / middle reader novel instead.

  108. Heather says:

    It is really fun reading all of these. 🙂
    I am a voracious reader, but I have always felt like less of a reader because of some of the books I haven’t or won’t read. I don’t like books that are all sad. It doesn’t need to have a happy ending, but there should be at least some good. I haven’t read a lot of “classics” because from what I know of them most of them are rather depressing.
    I read, but don’t like, the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. I didn’t even finish the first Outlander book.
    I don’t typically read any super popular books. I just tend not to like the books that get all the hype.
    I don’t like most contemporary fiction.
    I have about 6 nonfiction books, half of which were written by family members and aren’t actually published books (memoirs by my grandma and uncle, the story of his time as a game warden by my grandpa and another by my grandpa about dealing with the hard things in life). I almost never read nonfiction. It just doesn’t catch my attention.
    I automatically hate any book where the dog dies. Why?!?! Why would you do that to me??? (Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, I am Legend(didn’t read the book, but still the dog dies in the movie), etc.) Also, don’t kill any of the main characters…I have invested too much emotional energy in their story, you just can’t do that to me!
    I had more confessions than I realized. 🙂

  109. Liza says:

    I’ll probably create an instagram post for this, but I’ll go ahead and put it here: in high school, we had timed writing exercises with prompts relating to the books we read for class. The best grade I got on any timed write was one for Wuthering Heights. My confession: I didn’t even read half the book because I hated it so much.

  110. Lisa says:

    I love these comments! I have homeschooled my four children through high school (I have one left in HS now) and for literature we did read some of the ‘classics’ but I found that I just couldn’t insist they read things I hated. I have used more 20th and 21st century authors in the past few years. Any recommendations?

  111. Nancy says:

    1. With apologies to authors everywhere, I don’t like to own books. I did buy Anne’s first book, but generally try to avoid spending money and accumulating “stuff”. So I guess my confession is that books feel like clutter to me. Love my library!
    2. A friend recommended author PD James. Because it was available at my library, I read Death Comes to Pemberley and was nearly finished with the book before I realized it was a Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice reference. (The shame!) I once said to a couple of friends (both English majors and one an Anglophile) that I didn’t really understand what made Jane Austen books special. They kind of got quiet and stared at me. Ha! Anyway, after reading the PD James book, I decided to give P and P another chance. This time, I listened to the audiobook and, with the help of a narrator who added all the right inflections into the text, I admit I did finally get it, a little. But then I tried another Austen, can’t remember which one, and gave up. After all that, I still feel like if I just tried a little harder, I should be able to love Jame Austen. Maybe I’ll try one of the movies.

  112. I hope I don’t get too much backlash on these literary sins!
    I hated Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve never read Harry Potter and don’t intend to. While reading mystery/thriller novels I get so anxious that I have to look ahead to make sure I can handle what’s coming. I buy books when my shelves are overflowing. I read books for my own enjoyment when I’m supposed to be reading review books. Sometimes (a lot) I want to read my own books and forget review books, but I get paid to write reviews for the newspaper, so I kind of have to do it. I am happy when I get to drive somewhere by myself so I can listen to my latest audiobook.

  113. Liz says:

    The Gone with the Wind movie is far superior to the book. 🙈👀 Also, Steinbeck is overrated, I could never get into his books..

  114. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    Did realize that the worst sin of mine is that I am never able to read a book where the hero is a crook, I turns my stomach upside down(try that) I do love Jane and her irony, she is ironic and even if it seems her novels is about catching a man, it’s more a frustration for women’s lot during history. Think about the fact that she and many other females couldn’t use their names as authors, instead male alias.
    You fuss about reading Moby Dick in school, we had to read Strindberg and Lagerlöf, Zola and other 19 century authors. And the worst of all. James Joyce, one day…..

  115. Sue Dix says:

    I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it’s so highly recommended and I can’t for the life of me understand why. I hated it so much I have added Paulo Coelho to my list of authors that I avoid like the plague. And the list gets longer with each passing season.

  116. Jane says:

    I have listened to the podcast from the very beginning and only recently, like in the past month or so, did I realize that Rainer Maria Rilke was male!!! Always at the end of the podcast I imagined the quote being from this female writer (I guess because of the Maria bit) until one episode Anne mentioned his works and said “he…..”

  117. Jane says:

    I am constantly pronouncing authors names wrong and even when I find out the proper way to pronounce a name, I can’t get out of my head the way I’ve been pronouncing it all along!! Examples are: Liane Moriarty, Paulo Coelho, Haruki Murakami

    • Sue Dix says:

      I would add Diana Gabaldon to your list of mispronounced authors. Even now, I am hard pressed to remember the correct pronunciation.

  118. Meg says:

    I’m late to the party, but I confess to disliking Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables, Mandy (by Julie Edwards), The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jane Eyre.

    My personality labels of INTP and Enneagram 5 probably explain all that.

    I do love all of Hemingway, Kerouac and Vonnegut, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Wuthering Heights, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Moby Dick — which might seem like literary sins to some!

  119. Wendy says:

    1. I waited months to get a copy of Circe from my local library and returned it after only reading 50 pages; it was such a let down after the hype. I just couldn’t get into it, yet I enjoy reading Rick Riordan’s series like the Trails of Apollo or Heroes of Olympus.
    2. I read Tin Man by Sarah Winman and didn’t like it.
    3. I always have a least five holds at my local library.
    4. I tend to return more books to library unread then read.

  120. Rebecca O says:

    When I was in college, I would often try finishing my reading assignment on my way to class… a different kind of texting while driving.

  121. Laura says:

    I once called in sick to work because I couldn´t put down the book I was reading. Once I finished it, I was so immersed in the book’s world that I couldn´t bear the thought of leaving and had to let it settle for another couple of hours. The strangest thing is that I cannot remember what book it was.

  122. Anne Green says:

    Anyone into Liane Moriarty? I’ve watched “Big Little Lies” and found it engrossing but have only just started one of her books “The Husband’s Secret” and am SO disappointed. Not much more than chic lit, formulaic, cliched, wooden uninteresting and very superficial characters. Is it just me? How is she raking it in and getting BIG stars on board with the adaptations with this stuff?

  123. erin says:

    Way late to comment here, but this is a good one!

    For years, I’ve been slowly collecting Madeleine L’engle and only gradually working my way through all her books so that there’s still a few left to look forward to. Several years ago I checked out one of her less popular novels and discovered it was autographed. I faked having lost it to see what the library would charge… $20 later I now have an autographed hardcover copy.

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