I’m playing catch-up with the challenge today, but luckily both are short questions.
First, the shortest book I’ve read. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say it was probably Candide. I read Candide in AP English Literature my senior year of high school – by far the best high school class I’ve ever had because my teachers were absolutely amazing and it was awesome – and I can’t remember anything about it other than loving it and finding it really, really funny. Oh, and they turn to cannibalism at some point. You know the scene I’m talking about, if you’ve read the book. I really ought to read that again.
The second question is what book I’ve read that I’m ashamed to admit I read, and I’ll have to agree with Amanda on this one: I’m not ashamed of any books I’ve read. It seems to me that most people are ashamed of books for one of two reasons: they feel they aren’t highbrow enough, or they’re books that extoll some political or social belief that they don’t agree with and they think it will give people the impression that they do. Well, yes, I’ve read many, many things that are terrible, pulpy crap. It’s fun, and smart people take perceived intellectualism – especially in music* and literature – too seriously. I’ve also read many, many things that go straight against my own personal and political beliefs, which I know many people would give me the side-eye for reading. Who cares? If I’m going to disagree with something I owe it to myself to be as well-informed about it as possible, so I don’t have a knee-jerk reaction based on what others have told me. The “I fundamentally disagree with the person who wrote this, therefore I will not read it” attitude really only gets you out of reading Mein Kampf as far as I’m concerned, and I only believe that because I feel that most of Europe and North America (as well as a solid chunk of the rest of the world) have a pretty firm grip on the tenants of Nazism/National Socialism, and why Hitler was an asshole.
Of course, I will always make an exception to the I Give No Fucks About The Books You Read Rule and judge people for reading Twilight. For shame if you have read it. For shame.
* See all the people who claim to absolutely hate many of the most influential bands in history because they were “just pop.” Okay dude, whatever.