So here’s the deal. A couple of months ago, I started reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve mentioned it here before*. It took me the longest time to read the first book, and I’m still a little over halfway through the second. It’s the slowest I think I’ve ever been reading a series. I’m reminded why I gave up all those years ago the first time around. And yet I keep reading.
I have nothing against Tolkien, mind you. There’s good reason this series is seen as the greatest epic fantasy of all time. It’s just that it’s not for me. It’s a slow series and I’m starting to think I’ll never be done with it. And yet I keep reading. Why do I keep reading?
Part of it is certainly because I promised both myself and a good friend that I would. And part of it is because I feel the need to finish what I’ve started. Somehow, I really want to know what happens to the little band of travelers. But I think a big part of the reason I’m continuing with this is because I feel that, as a self-proclaimed book nerd, I have to read LOTR.
After all, this is the ultimate fantasy story. This is one of the greatest series of all time. Certainly it’s one of the most well-known series. Plus it’s basically the epitome of all things book nerd. In the Venn diagram of things that are geeky (in a good way, as are all things references to geekdom on this blog) and things that are book-related, LOTR is in that intersecting middle part. So, therefore, I have to read it.
I have this problem with a lot of books, a lot of classics that I tell myself I’m going to have to read eventually if I want to consider myself a true book nerd. Things like 1984 and Lord of the Flies and at least something by Jane Austen. And it all starts with the Lord of the Rings.
I’m not even sure why I don’t like it, other than maybe the pacing is a little slow and there is too much description. But that’s to be expected. Perhaps I’m just not used to reading books like this, which would be true. These days, though, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not too fond of Frodo. It all comes from my realization that I’m liking The Two Towers a lot more than I did The Fellowship of the Ring.
Anyway. The point to this rambling behemoth of a post is this: there are some books that I just have to read, if for no other purpose than to make myself a well-rounded reader and to experience the classics that society says everyone should have a chance to read. Besides, what’s the point of liking to read if you’re not willing to read new things? This series is definitely something new for me.
On the other end of the spectrum, should we only read what we like? Should we forsake boredom and expansion of our literary horizons for the comfort of books that we know we’ll enjoy a whole lot more? And so now I have a question for you, my lovely readers: What is your stance in this? Are there any books that you feel you have to read at some point? And if so, what are they?
*Remember when I was all worked up over reading this trilogy AND the Inheritance Cycle before Inheritance came out? Yeah. Turns out that didn’t happen.