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Dan Wilbur


10 Books That Taught Me Reading Books is Bullsh*t

Posted: 09/05/2012 3:32 pm

Reading isn't fun. Not even in books.

Think about it: how many works of fiction can you name that feature a character sitting around reading the whole time? Not many (unless you're in a college literature class with a super-Postmodern syllabus). If all books were purely about another book, the world would keep making the same book over and over. How boring!

Good books aren't about books! Good books are about living twisted lives and betrayal and everything Snooki did up until now. Books about books are lame (Except my book that makes fun of all other books: How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life. That's a good book.)

Life isn't about sitting around reading! Neither is fiction for that matter! Both are about going out into the world, failing at most things, then wallowing in despair or writing a lightly-veiled memoir about how hard you failed.

I've given up on reading. Not because I found something necessarily better to do (I did though, it's called Breaking Bad), but because I've discovered through reading that reading is bullshit.

Here are 10 books that showed me I should stop reading:

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  • "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes

    I've heard a lot of people say "Read whatever you want, so long as you're reading!" But what about all those books about 9/11 conspiracies or people who incessantly read Ayn Rand (no names, please!)? Are those just as good for you as other books? And what if all you do is read the same thing over and over? Subject matter aside for a moment, Don Quixote is proof that reading too much makes you go crazy. He spends the entire book fighting windmills and killing animals because he read too much!

  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

    Most Dystopic fiction books have a moment where a character reflects on how books once existed and how great a time it was. Not this book. This book is just about a father and son surviving the wilderness that will surely take over this planet! After reading this, I realized I need to get out of my reading chair and start doing some cardio! You better be able to run fast if you want to escape the roaming cannibal-thieves!

  • "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Like Don Quixote, except instead of cool stories of knights making you mental, over-analyzing Barthes and Austen leads to some severe sadness. Moral of this story: don't read too many books about the subject of love. That leaves you a ton of books about...physics. Or wars. Oh! And the murder books! Those are fair game. Just not any sexy love-murders. That will mess you up.

  • "Ulysses" by James Joyce

    Practically unreadable because of all the references to literary/philosophical/biographical things. And the whole thing is based on the Odyssey! Huh! What did I say about books based on other books? This one takes the cake for badness. This book proves that reading is not worth it because even if you read all the books it references and have a Joycean reference guide to aid you, it's still nearly impossible to gain anything from its contents.

  • "Farenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

    Sure, this book tells you to be scared of the demise of books, but think about the book's conclusion. The big moment at the end of this book is that Montag saves a Bible. THE BIBLE!! He memorizes it in hopes of one day rebuilding society. That's a terrible idea! We already live in a Bible-built society. It's miserable. I have thought long and hard about the end of civilization. If the world as we know it ends and the only people left are me and a nursery full of babies, and I'm the only adult who can inform them of what human history was like, I'm skipping over religion and focusing on how cool The Beatles were. A lot of people, including the late Bradbury, seem to believe that we'll soon live in a dystopia where no one is allowed to read religious texts. The scarier dystopia that we're in already is the one where people take religious text so seriously they'll kill and die for them. This book is not to be read!

  • "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink

    People who love to read are in bed with secret Nazis.

  • "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe

    The end (spoiler alert) is about a white guy who comes to visit for a short period of time and makes plans to write a book called "The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of Lower Niger." Sounds like a white man who read too many books hoping to get his own published at the expense of an entire people.

  • "The New York Trilogy" by Paul Auster

    Don't want to keep harping on the Don Quixote problem, but this book makes its point very clear: if you read too much, you'll start babbling and walking around New York City trying to spell words with your trail for God to see. Then you become homeless and crazier (if that were possible) all because of reading and writing!

  • "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

    Having your head in a book too much might make you forget that there's a predator on the loose!

  • "The Odyssey" by Homer

    The best adventure story of all time. Not a soul sitting in his house reading a book! Books didn't really exist yet, for one. Two, every spare moment of down time people would use to read, a god would come in and tell the person they better get ready for some crazy shit that's about to happen. The moral of this story: no one ever had an adventure, sitting at home in a chair reading. The other moral is kill anyone who flirts with your wife.