Given that lent is starting today—though I should point out that I am not a Christian in the traditional sense (it’s complicated coz I am a Quaker) and have no intention of giving up anything for lent (really don’t have the will power for that kind of malarkey)—I decided to start my own tag about what I considered to be the “worst” book sins. I can only apologise if someone’s already done this type of tag (I haven’t read that many tags, but someone undoubtedly has already come up with this idea).
How many books do you own that, if you’re being truly honest, you know that you will never read/finish reading?
Two technically, but it was at least 50 (and that’s a conservative estimate) before I had a mass delete of books on my Kindle cloud late last year (I’ve only just figured out how to do this).
Have you ever borrowed a book from a friend and never given it back?
Yes but in my defence, I don’t think the friend expected it back.
Have you ever pretended to have read a book that you actually haven’t read?
Not so much pretended as genuinely mistakenly thought I’ve read something that I haven’t. I can’t remember whether I’ve read both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility or just the latter—I suspect with the former, I’ve just watched multiple adaptions.
Have you ever preferred the TV/film adaption to the book?
Yes. I much preferred the 2000 film of Chocolat (staring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp) to Joanne Harris’s source novel. I think this is because I saw the film before I read the book (the ending is completely different!)—I do wonder how I would I have felt if I watched the film after reading the book. I can’t think of an example where I thought the film/TV adaption was better than the book when I read the book first. On several occasions, however, I’ve liked the film/TV adaption as much as I liked the book.
Have you ever judged a book by its cover?
All the time—no bad thing actually. You can tell a lot about a book by its cover in my opinion, which is why I tend to ignore anything with “girly” fonts or “cutesy” designs on it because it’s blatantly “chick lit”. Not that there’s anything wrong with chick lit; it’s just that having read an awful lot of it when I was in my early 20s, I don’t really want to read any more of it (I will always make an exception for Marian Keyes though). Mind you, far too often, a book is categorised as being stereotypical chick lit just because it's been written by a woman and is about women.
Have you read a book that you later realised was “problematic”?
“Problematic”, for the uninitiated, basically means something that promotes stereotypes or prejudices. This for me was Me Before You by JoJo Moyles, which—SPOILERS AHEAD—is about a relationship between a suicidal quadriplegic man and his able-bodied carer (or personal assistant to be more accurate). At the time, I felt it showed the realities of being severely disabled: that everything requires planning and that even taking a bath can be like a military operation. However, after reading about the furor surrounding the film version, I realised that it is “ableist” (that is discriminates against people with disabilities). While I don’t believe Moyles meant to promote the view that people with disabilities can’t live fulfilling lives, she doesn’t exactly dispel this particular myth by having the aforementioned man end his life at Dignitas. Plus, it doesn’t help matters that the book is never from his viewpoint—just the carer and (I think) his physiotherapist.
Have you ever written/underlined text in a book?
No! Like my Mother, I can't even bring myself to write a gift note in a book when giving a book as a present. That's what Post-Its are for!
And finally, I am presuming that all your books were bought in independent bookshops and not from the very devil that is Amazon?
Erm well, here’s the thing, I own a Kindle and only Kindle ebooks work on it, so I have to buy from Amazon. (This does bother me; just not enough to download software to convert standard ebooks to Kindle ebooks.) I do smugly pride myself on buying (online) physical books from Foyles rather than from Amazon. Well, apart from the book that I just bought because Foyles didn’t sell it and I couldn’t be faffed with searching for a non-evil online retailer that did.
Like in the previous tag I did, I tag anyone who reading this who wants to give this a go. Do you agree that these are the worst “book sins” you can commit or do you think there are much more heinous crimes readers can commit?