…Or maybe lessons mislearned from a lifetime of reading would be a better title for this article. Anyway, in the course of my day-to-day life as a pasty, unathletic white person, I have read a lot of books. Reading is FUNdamental, as we all know. And the important part about reading is the valuable life-lessons that books can pass on to you. And so, here is what I learned from my lifetime of reading, either rightly or wrongly…
Age 5 — “The Giving Tree”: Don’t ever do anything nice for anyone ever.
Age 7 — “Charlotte’s Web”: Your children will leave you. Plus, try to be less scared of spiders in real life.
Age 8 — “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”: …Running away is — a really really good idea?
Age 9 — “Stuart Little”: If you fall in love with anything, a cat will chase it away.
Age 10 — “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”: Thank God I’m an only child.
Age 11 — “Harriet the Spy”: Lying is okay. In fact, sometimes people might not even care if you lie, even if they know that you’re lying.
Age 12 — “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: English people are hilarious and cool. (Note: no matter how many real non-funny English people I meet in my life, I will continue to blindly believe this.)
Age 13 — “The Catcher in the Rye”: Serial-killer-wise, this is a really good book for me to be reading.
Age 14 — “The Lord of the Rings”: Even saving the world can be boring, if you combine it with too much poetry and discussions about people going on walks.
Age 15 — “The Lord of the Flies”: Being smart isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it can lead to you getting killed.
Age 16 — “How to Win at Video Games”: No comment.
Age 18 — “Beowulf”: This is what I get for signing up for A.P. English.
Age 19 — “Ulysses”: If people talk too much, then they’re probably lying.
Age 20 — “1984”: Everyone’s an asshole. Note to self: is this just the lesson of every single book?
Age 21 — “On the Road”: Sometimes, even great books can be ruined by the bongo-playing proto-hipsters who are the fans of said book.
Age 22 — “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”: My sister has terrible taste in books. Never borrow a book on her recommendation ever ever again.
Age 23 — “Cat’s Cradle”: In a similar manner, my roommate also has terrible taste in books. Note to self: try to recall the serial-killer skills that I learned from “The Catcher in the Rye” and put them to use, via hunting down and killing Kurt Vonnegut.
Age 24 — “Finnegans Wake”: Going to grad school for Literature was a way bad idea.
Age 25 — “White Noise”: Death sucks so bad.
Age 26 — “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”: I want to be Dave Eggers, and that’s probably not such a bad ambition in life.
Age 27 — “The Great Gatsby”: Why did it take me so long to read this book? Also, falling in love can be problematic. Girls are not as impressed by bootleg liquor sales as you would hope they would be.
Age 28 — “Lolita”: It’s good to have more than one outlet for your artistic ambitions. …Plus: young chicks, hot?
Age 29 — “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”: “Twee” works way better for alternative rock singles and Urban Outfitter catalogs than it does for works of literature.
Age 30 — “Freedom”: Oprah Winfrey does not have good taste in books.
Age 31 — “The Giving Tree”: Hmm. Maybe I was too hard on this book the first time around?