I Hereby Confess…
In filling out my publisher’s Author Questionnaire, I reached the question, “What book have you faked reading?” I thought this question beyond silly and wondered whether most people had faked reading a book at some point in their lives. Not me, oh no, I was the Good Student and read every book on the district reading list for my grade…even the ones it seemed no one else did. (I’m looking at you, Moby Dick.) Certainly there were books I started and dreaded having to flip past page two (eyes on you, The Sound and the Fury), but I stuck it out and finished them all. I even went so far as to take on a bit of required reading for my then-fiance because the doofus hadn’t bothered to pace himself all semester and was heading into the finals with four books unread. Not sure why Cliff Notes weren’t an option…maybe they were unavailable.
In any case, I was a studious reader while still in school. Once out, the classics took a backseat and literary fiction was steamrolled by commercial. I was working and just didn’t have the inclination for anything too ‘important’. The exceptions were Jane Austen’s novels. In school only Pride & Prejudice had been required, but I loved it, and then I saw Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and loved that too. I decided to read The Complete Works. And I did…or thought I did.
We now come to a little irony. After filling out the Author Questionnaire, I realized with quite a little bit of shock that I had actually–inadvertantly–faked reading a book. I’d told an editor that I’d read all Jane Austen’s books and truly believed I had. But I hadn’t. I’d loved the movie version of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow and willingly watched it multiple times. I was so comfortable with the storyline that I believed I’d read the book.
I admit to you now, that I have not.
But I plan to remedy that and have already taken steps to do so. My spotless record may be somewhat tarnished, but I believe I can polish it right up to its original sheen. I’ll feel better after that happens.
Care to let me in on your little secret? Which book did you trade in for the Cliff Notes?