Monday, January 4, 2010

Guess what I regret

My New Year’s resolution is to stop taking my anger out on my night reporter.

Let’s see how long that lasts.

The end of the holidays is a great time to talk about regrets. Maxed out your credit cards? Drank your weight in egg nog? Hooked up with the wrong person at the office Christmas party? There’s plenty to regret by January.

GoodReads is asking people what they regret reading.

Unsurprisingly, Stephenie Meyer’s polarizing Twilight series own the four of the five top slots. The list was littered with bestsellers. (It makes sense. The more a book is read, the more it can be regretted.)

I was more surprised that Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye took the seventh and eighth slot, respectively.

A few other critical darlings appeared on the list, which was compiled by popular vote. Ayn Rand, Toni Morrison and Thomas Hardy all made the top 50. (I guess some vengeful high school students could have voted, but how many of them are trolling GoodReads?)

I rarely regret reading a book, because I usually get something — a character, quote or single turn of phrase — that I like. For example, I loathed much of Finnegan’s Wake, but I still enjoyed some of Joyce’s coinages. (My favorites were caligulate, meandertale and lustsleuth.)

A book’s bad would have to severely outweigh its good before I regretted reading it. That having been said, I could see why Meyer would be an easy target.

She got some critical buzz, raising people’s expectations, and her plots deal with high-school concerns and move at a glacial pace. In fact, Twilight is one of the few books that I would say I regretted reading. (Heart of Darkness, voted 94, would be another.)

I imagine Tricia, with her no-book-is-good-or-bad policy, would regret nothing. Am I wrong?

-Jason Lea,

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