Bad books: Are there such things?

Bad books: Are there such things?
Source: Reusableart.com

Are there bad books? Or are they just "not now" or "I don't like that one" books?

For me, there are differences between badly written books (bad influences -- ptui!) and bad-for-me books (styles I don't enjoy, genres I don't understand, or too heavy -- literally or figuratively -- for a given situation).

Sometimes a book just isn't a Sustaining Book -- no help, no comfort on the first reading, or not worth considering a second time.

(If you missed what I mean by Sustaining Books, you can find the definition here.)

But then what? How should bad books get treated?

Before I moved from Lincoln Park to Edgewater, I had a lot of book-packing to do. That was good. However, when a shelf wasn't getting empty although a box was getting full, I did some thinning out. I left some of my lesser books in what I thought of as "the laundry-room library," hoping that my erstwhile neighbors might get some use out of the books.

In other cases, I lent out some books for friends to try. Ten months later, not all of them have been returned -- and they weren't bad books, they've just turned into strays.

I recently passed along some books to a good friend. She gave me some clothes which didn't fit her, or hadn't worked out as well as she hoped.

I realized that both of us were looking for good homes for things we could no longer use -- not bad things, just wrong for us. That's how the books were that I gave her -- a novel I tried and didn't like enough to finish; a detective story I enjoyed, but wouldn't read again, and another that I couldn't finish because it was too gory for me. (That last one wasn't bad -- I rather wished it had been written a little less convincingly!) The books didn't fit me.

Mentioning good friends reminds me that I must give credit to my fellow blogger Weather Girl for suggesting this idea. Thanks!

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Comments

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  • Thanks for a wonderful, inspiring post! Love the illustration, too.
    I know there will be more on this subject....a book on bad books, even?

    I too like the idea of passing things on--books, outfits, ideas. Such fun! Thanks again.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    You're welcome -- and thanks again for the idea. Glad to have figured out how to brighten things up beyond "just" the quality of the writing!

  • I thought from the title you were going to write about what to read in a German spa.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Wait -- wouldn't that be Baden books?

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    According to leo.org it's 'bad'.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I stand corrected (and happy that you noticed).

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