Books I Like Versus Books I Think I Ought to Like

Eric Linus Kaplan

Back in junior high school and high school we had to read books, but there were also books I read because I wanted to read them.  I think this distinction has seeped into my unconscious and surfaced as a feeling that there are certain books that are actually Good and Good For Me, and others that are just enjoyable.   The books I think I ought to like are:

  • about realistic limited characters with boring jobs who struggle with their families and their powerlessness
  • realistic
  • old
  • long
  • hard to read
  • make you aware of language as language — they have prose that is beautiful and self-conscious
  • are in favor of social change
  • serious
  • depressing — they castigate us for our hopes and strip us of our illusions
  • they are unpopular — they make me feel smart and special for liking them while most people would not like them.
  • morally complex


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Books on Repeat – Re-re-re-reading Recommendations

When I love something I re-consume it. Movies, music, books. Sometimes I wait a few months, then re-read a series. Sometimes I get to the end of a book and go back to the beginning immediately. Often, I hop from book to book or episode to episode, rereading/rewatching my favorite scenes.

Authors and series on my re-re-re-read rotation

  • Harry Potter (duh) [kids books I still read as an adult, fantasy, amazing world building]
  • Kate Daniels series, by Ilona Andrews [urban fantasy, some romance, amazing world building]
  • Hidden series, by Colleen Vanderlinden [urban fantasy, romance]
  • Elemental Mysteries & Irin Chronicles, by Elizabeth Hunter [urban fantasy, romance]
  • Rylee Adamson and Elemental series, by Shannon Mayer [urban fantasy, romance]
  • After Cilmeri and Last Pendragon series, by Sarah Woodbury [time travel, a little romance, lots of history]
  • Young Wizards series, by Diane Duane [kids books I still read as an adult, sci-fi, fantasy, amazing world building]
  • Immortal Descendants, by April White [time travel, urban fantasy, romance, history]