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When Bad Books Happen to Good People

2013 March 4
by Laura Perenic
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460873307_f819cb812c_mThis could happen to you. You could be alone, you could be at school, you could be at the library when bad fiction strikes. Fortunately there are steps you can take to get through this. Remember: you are not alone. Bad fiction can happen to good people. It is not your fault.

Will you know a bad book when you see it? Not always. You may find yourself at the mercy of a lame plot, one-dimensional characters, or even cheesy dialogue. It’s important to know you can get through this.

First, don’t panic. If you hyperventilate, you won’t be able to think straight. Stop and think. Is there someone you can call? In times like this its important to know when to ask for help.

Do you remember who suggested the book to you? Call them and talk about the book — maybe the story gets better. You might just need to give the relationship time. Can your friend share their favorite part of the book? Having something new to focus on might be a good way to distract from how the book is going so far.

Second, check the Internet. It can be a great source of information in these trying times. Will reading another bad book review make you feel better? What if others didn’t like the book too? You aren’t alone, and your feelings are normal.

Third, communication is key. If you know in your heart you gave the book a fair chance and it is still letting you down, it’s time to take your bookmark and walk away. Share your experience with others. Reach out to those who have borrowed bad books before. Can you share tips to prevent this kind of thing from happening again?

Now that you’ve moved on, return the book to your library. When you’re ready, it’s good to talk about these things. Ask your librarian to suggest another book. You can find happiness with another novel if you don’t dwell on the this past unpleasant experience.

– Laura C. Perenic, currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray (2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

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3 Responses
  1. March 4, 2013

    Hilarious! (Not to mention practical.) The first time I read the first Harry Potter book, I was NOT loving the opening chapter (still find it boring, actually), but I kept myself going by reminding myself, “The cover has broomsticks. This will be an awesome story about witches and magic.” I find it tough to imagine what my childhood would have looked like if that hadn’t done the trick!

  2. Laura Perenic permalink
    March 4, 2013

    Happy to help, there are so many teen novels being written it sure is hard to differentiate the ones that are worth our time and the ones we would never suggest. I had to listen to the audiobook of Lord of the Rings because I had so much trouble with the names. Its one of my favorite book series now.

  3. March 4, 2013

    This is great! So funny, yet good advice. I am just now stopping before finishing two books. I usually always finish books I start, but now I find there are some I would rather no spend my time on. Especially when there are soooo many good books waiting to be read!

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