Recently I’ve been doing some thinking about authors that I’ve been required to read, mostly when I was in school, that I really didn’t like and/or was outside of my comfort zone. Why have I been thinking about authors out of my comfort zone this week? It’s because I’ve been debating whether or not to give those authors a second chance, in particular, with my reading for this year.
Mostly, those authors have come from my experiences in high school. Authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, in particular, The Scarlet Letter. I read The Scarlet Letter during my junior year of high school shortly after we moved from Oklahoma to northern Virginia. I read it as we were driving out to Salisbury, MD to visit my mother’s aunt. I remember how boring I found Hawthorne’s writing and how much I truly disliked the story.
Mainly, I discovered Hawthorne’s writing to be very dry and felt the book moved quite slowly. As a result of this first experience with Nathaniel Hawthorne, I haven’t given him a second chance. I’ve been wondering since I haven’t given him a second chance if I’m doing a disservice to myself for not expanding my comfort zone, or to Hawthorne given that I know he’s one of America’s classic authors.
The second book that came to mind was yet another one I read during high school and that is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I also read this book during my junior year of high school and found I really didn’t enjoy it very much. I’m not quite sure where my mind was while reading this book, but it seemed to move slowly, and that I really didn’t quite get Jay’s character in this book. As with Hawthorne, I haven’t read Fitzgerald since high school and I’ve had similar thoughts about him, especially within the last few years with the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button having been made. I still haven’t seen it yet because of my preference to read the books before seeing the movie, and because of my first impression of Fitzgerald, I haven’t tackled it yet.
The final author that I feel is really outside of my comfort zone is Herman Melville. The book in particular is Moby Dick. I picked this book up a few years ago at Borders thinking that I would enjoy the story. What I discovered was dry writing that was like hearing fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. I managed to make it through a couple of hundred pages of the book, and then I had to put it down, I simply couldn’t take it anymore. However, I fully accept the fact that I tried tackling Moby Dick before I really started seriously reading the classics a few years ago. I’ve been wondering if I should go ahead and attempt reading it again, and give it a second chance.
I think it’s important to read authors outside of your comfort zone because if you don’t, you can miss out on other fascinating authors and works. These authors I’ve read before, but is it worthwhile to give author’s you didn’t get a good first impression of a second chance? Are there any author’s that have given you a bad first impression and wish to try again? What are you reading during this first week of 2012?