After yesterday’s Liar, Liar post, I started thinking. I’ve already listed for you the books I’m embarrassed I haven’t read. And I told you that, although I might stay really quiet during a conversation about a book I haven’t read and hope everyone just assumes I’ve read it, I don’t outright lie about it. But, like the preachers say, you can be guilty of the sin of omission.
When I was a young reader, I remember hiding a few books I was reading—Go Ask Alice, Mr. and Mrs. Bojo Jones, The Exorcist—feeling pretty sure my parents wouldn’t be happy with my choice. But maybe that’s something you don’t grow out of.
During the first semester of my doctoral studies at Ole Miss, I took a Studies in Romanticism class. It was great. We read classics from the British Romantic era and compared them with modern representations of that time—rewrites, movies, copy-cat genres, etc. The purpose was to compare actual representations, themes, and artistic intents of that era’s authors with modern perceptions of that time.
But one thing we were assigned to read was a historical romance novel set in that time period. And it was a real bodice ripper. The professor was even embarrassed. He admitted he’d committed the cardinal sin of teachers—assigning something he hadn’t read or previewed. He was searching for something in that genre, someone suggested this one, and since he had so much else to do, he just took their word for it.
The problem for me? It was part of a series. The heroine was a twin, and the novel ended with the twin’s romance beginning. And of course you know what I did. Yep, I read the whole series. It was embarrassing, but I just couldn’t help it. I bought them in secret and attempted to keep the covers hidden, but one day my husband saw one and said, “What in the world is that? It doesn’t look like what you usually read.”
He’s right. It wasn’t. But man, you can learn a lot in doctoral studies.