I took one of those online quizzes the other day. “Can We Guess Your Age Based on the Books You Read?” I took the quiz, unsatisfied by the choices as usual. They aren’t designed for variety. They are designed to funnel you. I answered the best I could with the options I had.
The quiz said I was sixteen.
I chuckled. I don’t feel insulted. Books for sixteen-year-olds (and younger) can be good. There is quality young adult literature out there.
Earlier this year I placed a hold on the audio edition of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. It is on the list of “1001 books you should read before you die.” It would have satisfied task #10 of the Read Harder challenge: read a book published in the decade you were born. (That would be the 1970s in case you were wondering, definitely making me older than sixteen). When I picked up the hold at the library, I discovered the book is thirty-three discs long.
Hey, that’s why they call it a reading challenge, right? I began listening. I enjoy a good story set during World War II but this was definitely not your typical war tale. It was weird. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this book was not it. Then another audiobook I had on hold showed up. Since others were waiting for the newly arrived book, I stopped listening to Pynchon and began the other. I checked out a hardback edition instead.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t read it. I read two other books to avoid it. I finally decided to return both editions. I picked up three YA books in replacement. That afternoon I took the quiz.
Sixteen years old? Obviously.