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david has questions off topic

Off-Topic Question Time: Did a book ever ruin your life?

WTF did I just read?

I have a bit of an off-topic question for you all: Did a book ever ruin your life?

Well, maybe that’s overstating things a little, so let me rephrase: Did you ever read a book that had a giant effect on your life, only to realize later that this effect was basically a negative one? Maybe you read Ayn Rand in high school and became an insufferable junior Objectivist for a couple of years? Maybe you gobbled up conspiracy theory until it finally occurred to you that Reptilians aren’t the real problem with the world today? Maybe you read a book that inspired you to join a cult that you later had to extract yourself from painfully?

It doesn’t have to be this dramatic. I’m just wondering how many of you all have stories like these, and what these stories are.

I might have a little bit of an ulterior motive. But it’s a good one, honest!

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Iseult The Idle
Iseult The Idle
3 years ago

I did read Siddhartha in high school and was probably somewhat insufferable on the subject for a while afterwards. But ruined, no, I wouldn’t say that.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years ago

In 2016, I tried reading 2666. Though Bolaño is my favorite writer, I just could not with the endless rapes/murders/mutilations. I understand what he was doing with that, it was just… too much, that year, with the election, with Don Tump’s pride in sexual assault. It’s still on my bedside table, I haven’t given up on it. I’m just not ready for the onslaught, again.

Stevie
Stevie
3 years ago

It didn’t ruin my life but the story “The one’s who walk away from Omelas ” has had a profoundly disturbing effect on me. The first time I read it I literally three the book across the room because the reality hit me so hard. Decades later I got the nerve to reread it and was seriously triggered when I realized that, in my childhood as the impoverished and abused child of uneducated parents who had a literal shotgun wedding when my mom was 15, I was the child in the closet. We all had to suffer for my mothers transgression in order to provide an example to other girls and keep society working the way conservatives wanted it to.

Laugher at Bigots
3 years ago

Some of you may know that I used to listen avidly to conservative talk radio. My first foray into politics was the 2008 presidential election and its run-up; influenced by my mother and her parents, I became a right-winger. I received from them two books by Glenn Beck, Common Sense and An Inconvenient Book. At the time, I liked them (I am sorry to say), so much that I got two other books by him as they came out: Arguing with Idiots and Broke. These, along with such luminary radio personalities as Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, and the one and only Rush Limbaugh, defined my worldview for the next six years or so. It helped that I grew up in Texas.

Shadowplay
3 years ago

Answered you on twitter, because I’m an idiot and didn’t see the link. 😛

Dreamer
Dreamer
3 years ago

Yeah, the Bible. Gave me weird ideas of women’s roles.

Knitting Cat Lady
Knitting Cat Lady
3 years ago

Hmm.

Not one single book but…

In my last two years of school we read one or two books or plays per term.

Most were from the publishers ‘reclam’ and ‘Hamburger Lesehefte’.

For the non Germans: Both publisher’s books are made of very thin paper, have tiny print and have a cardboard binding that can be drawn on.

There have been exhibitions of the doodles students tend to draw on them.

My mum still has some of my books. One with a very prominent and detailed lettering of a question:

‘Warum lesen wir immer Bücher, in denen Frauen ermordet werden?’

‘Why do we always read books about women getting murdered?’

I also drew a blood dripping knife next to it.

Yeah. That pattern was a bit disturbing.

I’ve read 1.5 Dan Brown books.

My gran loved ‘The Davinci Code’, so she badgered everyone to read it. I gave up halfway in because I just couldn’t stand it any more. I could feel the book melting my brain and making it dribble out of my ears.

I actually read all of ‘Angels and Demons’.

I did a student internship at a chair for nuclear physics. And also did my diploma thesis there.

The grad students convinced me that as a nuclear physicist I just had to read it because it was totally hilarious.

So I read it. It was atrocious. And I really laughed my head of about plenty of it.

But generally I’d say I haven’t read any books that had a huge impact on my life.

Zenobia Augusta
Zenobia Augusta
3 years ago

Probably not exactly what you were looking for but several years ago I had to stop speaking to my Aunt. She was very big on The Secret at the time and began needling me (at an Easter dinner, if I remember correctly) about what a failure I was. After several minutes of berating me, I told her I was doing the best I could. She said I obviously wasn’t, and that I needed to start making lists of goals, and an idea board. I told her something along the lines of “I don’t need any of that Oprah self help bullshit”. IDK why, but she hated Oprah, and started screaming at me. My Grandfather told her to calm down, and she shoved him. My brother got between them and she punched him and stormed off. It took a few years, but that was sort of the beginning of the end of our relationship. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in about three years.

MrsObedMarsh
MrsObedMarsh
3 years ago

For me, it was Atlas Shrugged – but for the opposite reason you might think. I hated the book so much that I went trawling for facts that confirm the hypothesis that Ayn Rand was a garbage person who should not be admired or listened to, which I will repeat at the slightest of provocations. In fact I typed out one of those facts in this reply box, but deleted it because it doesn’t really matter. All the facts I found are just a Google search away if you’re actually interested. If you’re not, well lucky you, you’ve got a lot more self-control than I do.

Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
3 years ago

I endured The Heart Of Midlothian in one of my college lit courses. Almost made me give up reading for good.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 years ago

At least the real world (apparently) lacks such things as Lovecraft’s “Necronomicon”, Marvel’s “Darkhold”, the “Book of the Dead” from The Mummy, or the ominously-not-otherwise-named “The Book” from Anathem

Austin Loomis
3 years ago

On a chicken-poxy early-morning drive from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Jackson at the age of 14 (for the state finals of the first-ever MATHCOUNTS competition), I basically inhaled Atlas Shrugged. I went the kind of obnoxious Objectivist that only a teenager can, particularly a teenager in 1984 when the Soviet Union looked like a real threat, particularly an undiagnosed autistic teenager who wished he didn’t have to keep relearning how to human with each individual specimen he met. I envy MrsObedMarsh having had the good sense to realize she’d read a crap book by a crap person, and I can relate to feeling the need to inflict the truth on anyone who can’t run away from you fast enough. It has taken me a long time to achieve that level of self-control, and it’s not so much “self-control” as heeding “Bob’s” advice that you have a right “to flee from unwinnable fights.”

I didn’t begin to extricate myself until eight years later, when I tried to read The Way Things Ought to Be and noticed that the main difference between Limbaugh’s philosophy and Rand’s was that he leaned much more on God (or at least Gawd) as justification for his insistence that anything left of him was objectively pro-Communist and willfully anti-freedom. I’m pretty sure I’d pried my brain out of that mold by the time the Lewinsky scandal broke, just by seeing what the people who were in it were really like. (It’s like the bit in The Fifth Elephant where we find out that Lady Sybil went to school with Angua’s mother, and learned there that the right side of any given argument was probably the one that didn’t have Serafine Soxe-Bloonberg on it.)

Am I making sense? If so, I apologize.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I was an ardent Richard Bach fan as a young teenager.

Viscaria
Viscaria
3 years ago

I definitely upped my douche quotient for a while by uncritically absorbing The God Delusion at about 16/17 years of age. Looking back, though, there were parts of the book that helped me develop nuanced opinions as an adult, so I don’t regret reading it. I just wish I’d come across it a bit later in my development as a human being.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Hmm. I went through a flirtation with astrology and devoured books on it in high school. I’m a little embarrassed about it, looking back. I don’t think it caused any harm though.

Eyes on the Right
3 years ago

The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Largely seconding Viscaria’s comment.

Batgirl
Batgirl
3 years ago

Loooooong time lurker, first time commenting, because I find this topic really compelling.

When I was nine, my aunt gave me the Flowers in the Attic book series. A brief(ish)/spoilerific description: four kids are locked away in an attic by their mom after their dad dies, to hide them from their hateful grandfather. The first book alone contains a sadistic grandmom’s beatings, the mom poisoning her own kids, and the oldest brother raping his sister – but she decides later on it isn’t rape because she didn’t really try to stop him. The rest of the series is just as twisted, with more rape, sadistic versions of Christianity, and the siblings living as husband and wife.

It was a really really adult/intense series for a nine year old to read, and it messed up my view on sex, consent, and religion for a long time. I honestly didn’t realize how it affected my thoughts until I read it again in high school, understood how screwed up the stories were, and took time to analyze my feelings. So the “damage” wasn’t permanent, but I have to admit the series stuck with me. I haven’t read it in over a decade and it still pops into my brain sometimes.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
3 years ago

Not my book but my parents, and it lead to the loss of a significant sentimental item.

My parents have on occasion veered towards Weird Christianity types of books. Over spiritual, practically superstitious, with the occasional conspiracy theory thrown in as well. I always rejected them because they’re bollocks and I have critical thinking skills, but this one time I actually took this book semi seriously and made a bad decision due to its influence.

It was basically a stupid hysterical tome listing a load of brand logos and claiming them to be “inspired by satanic symbols” therefore owning anything with these logos would “attract evil spirits into your life.” Yeah. Bullshit. And I knew it when I looked at it out of curiosity.

But then it was the time we were packing up to move house. I selected a bunch of key childhood toys/items to put in a box and keep basically forever, and I decided to choose between two stuffed animals to put in said box. Why I didn’t just decide to keep both I don’t know, but I like I should really downsize my stuff and there wasn’t much time to ponder on these things.

One plush was a Nemo toy I got from Disneyland, another was this adorable purple dragon that I had never seen in any other shop. I was reaaally thinking about which one to keep when something from the book popped into my head: “dragons are pagan animals thus spiritually bad blah blah.” WHY DID I TAKE IT SERIOUSLY WHEN I HAD UP UNTIL THEN KNOWN IT WAS BULLSHIT. But still it was the tipping point that made me give away the dragon plush and on and off I seriously regretted it for years.

I redeemed the error last month by buying a smaller version of the toy from eBay (the big one was nowhere to be found – just my luck that the toy is now considered a rare collectible) and I feel much better, but kind of want my old toy back a little as well. It’s a fading feeling, but I shouldn’t have given it up when it was a beloved feature of my younger years.

Angela
Angela
3 years ago

High school objectivist right here. I even subscribed to a “magazine” but I’m blanking on what it was called.

Weird (thumper of trumpanzees) Eddie
Weird (thumper of trumpanzees) Eddie
3 years ago

I read “1984” my senior year in H.S… I remember standing in the boys restroom (don’t remember why…)finishing the last page of it, when I read the last line, (paraphrase) “He had finally won the battle with himself… he loved Big Brother.”

I felt hope drain from my soul.

Katamount
Katamount
3 years ago

Books haven’t really been life-changing things for me, at least not as I can recall. I’ll digest them, take some meaning from them and apply it to my life, but literature in general doesn’t provide life-altering concepts for me.

I did read the entire Sharpe series and then became a huge Napoleonic Wars dork though, so I guess that’s something.

Virginia Howard
Virginia Howard
3 years ago

I read Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch” when I was fifteen, while I was babysitting someone’s daughter– and there it was on the coffee table, beckoning. The chapter on “Hate” mortally wounded my romantic notions about men, permanently. I wouldn’t say that it ruined my life, but it was a crisis in faith and a loss of innocence.

Benterati
Benterati
3 years ago

Nothing too outlandish has managed to stick. I have discarded irrational ideas, focused on science, become irreligious, non violent, focused of being a steward of nature, my fellow man and the Earth. Enjoy the ride.

Button
Button
3 years ago

I never quite recovered from reading The King in Yellow. I still wake in the middle of the night sometimes, half-dressed, with no recollection as to why I’m covered in pus.

Moggie
Moggie
3 years ago

Not ruined, no, but I think I dodged a bullet a couple of times.

First: one of Erich von Däniken’s books, in my early teens. I can’t even remember which one, but it was probably Chariots of the Gods? It was such horseshit that I ended up throwing it on the fire. But then I said to myself: is that who I am now? Burning books, so that others won’t be corrupted by them? You know who else used to do that, right? So, I remained a judgemental little prick, but at least one who didn’t try to suppress ideas.

Second, a few years later: Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf. What I would have taken away from this novel if I’d read it as an adult, I don’t know, but as an alienated and depressive teenager, it made me feel that I would always be an outsider, and that suicide was my inevitable solution. Not a good state of mind to be in when you’re full of adolescent melodrama.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 years ago

Like Buttercup, I had a Richard Bach period. It was cured before I left for college, thankfully.

I’m joining WWTH in snaps for the FBI and the raid on Cohen’s office.

Also, this song has me dancing in my office chair:

http://youtu.be/EBZbwdCHorQ

Schnookums Von Ghostface Fancypants Killer
Schnookums Von Ghostface Fancypants Killer
3 years ago

I see wwth beat me to the punch, so I’ll just have to contribute the old fashion way…

I flirted with libertarianism after reading this book about how the unfair government does unfair things to business via OSHA and other agencies. Lucky for me that didn’t last. I did make it through quite a bit of the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind before just giving up in disgust (I liked the earlier books, although they’ve definitely got some indefensible stuff in them, but the longer the series went the more garbage they became).

Shinobi
Shinobi
3 years ago

I read The Celestine Prophecy and got VERY into it in high school right before I got VERY into atheism. It probably made that take longer than it should have, and also encouraged me to do weird things with my vision.

I also read Stranger in a Strange land at like 12…whiiich was probably too young. At the time I didn’t notice the casual misogyny, now I find it unreadable.

On the opposite end reading Anathem crystallized a lot of my own ideas about independent thought and other things in a way that was very positive for me. Stephenson in a lot of ways is like reading writing that fits my brain…which probably makes no sense whatsoever.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
3 years ago

Well, I read a very expurgated edition of de Sade’s ‘Juliette’ when I was 12 or 13 years old. It briefly ruined my life. I had trouble sleeping for a few days afterwards, and I felt great anxiety. More than 30 years later, I read a more complete edition.

Reading half of Bill O’Reilly’s memoir ‘A Bright Shining Piece of Humanity’, (or something like that) because my mother pushed it on me, ruined a few hours of my life.

Flora
Flora
3 years ago

Saving My First Kiss: Why I’m Keeping Confetti in My Closet was some Purity culture nonsense my mom thought was a great 16th birthday gift. Because it’s bad enough that virginity needs to be saved for your wedding day, you should also save any form of intimacy so you don’t become a used up broken pile of chewing gum. The sexual dysfunction purity culture causes is brutal. I never bought into it truly – my friends were clearly not broken and lesser for dating and being sexually active – but it took me over a decade to really work through the way I internalized it. My wedding was awesome, no sexual repression required.

Paradoxical Intention: Resident Cheeseburger Slut

Well, 50SoG has legit given me a panic attack, but there’s also Twilight which made me effectively hate the supernatural romance genre of books for a good number of years.

I’ve also read a handful of really stuffy books by dudes who hate religion in the name of “objectivity” and that was awkward.

Fujimoto
Fujimoto
3 years ago

After I entered college I found a book in the library, In Defence of Elitism by William A. Henry III, and it’s without a doubt the most toxic influence I had upon my life. Henry at the beginning is quick to say he’s a lifelong Democrat and one of his idols was MLK, but then provides his system of ranking cultures with “superior” cultures having never been occupied by foreign powers; he never comes out and says it but by the end of his criteria there’s only room for some European nations and the US. Then he spends a long time on how people of color, feminists and LGBT people should be quiet because we don’t really have anything to worry about now, and instead of being egalitarian we should be more elitist. Kids are too entitled because we award them for anything, capitalism is great, the system doesn’t need any improvement, poor people are just lazy and jealous of rich people,
affirmative action locks more deserving people out of jobs, political correctness has gone mad and so on.

Henry manages a few tiny good points, like the need to be more critical towards everything (yet he contradicts this by elsewhere saying we should stop being cynical and embrace heroes without analysing them) and pointing out the right, for all its lamentations over political correctness, has its own form of it that no one seems willing to call out (what Rationalwiki calls concervative correctness), but he spends far more time on his grievences with the left.

At the time In Defence of Elitism seemed radical, a way to cut through the bullshit, even if it was strange to me how Henry focused more on the left than the right, but I justified it by thinking the left needed to shape up and take a more elitist stance. After taking ethnic studies and social studies classes the mindset began to crack, and learning about social justice demolished what was left. I now recognize the book as a smug pile of centrist bullshit cheering the status quo regardless of any faults. Yet I can’t say I regret reading it entirely because many of the anti-social justice arguments I see from centrists, liberals and conservatives are identical to Henry’s arguments. Curiously, he rallies against egalitarianism throughout the book, but it’s become an anti-feminist buzzword. I don’t hear anyone else using “egalitarianism” these days.

Saint Podkayne
Saint Podkayne
3 years ago

I was a huge Robert A. Heinlein fan as a teen. Basically taught myself English reading him. A few of those books stand the test of time! “Have Space Suit — Will Travel”, for example, is still one of my very favourite books. But overall, I now realize that the time period in which I was reading him was one where I kinda unthinkingly espoused the opinions of whoever amused me, and juveniles aside, Old Man Heinlein was just plain weird, politically, sexually, just, all over the place.

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

I read some scifi adventure books as a teen which had the unstated message that deadly violence is the ideal solution to any problem. Of course, that’s a message infused throughout much entertainment, but that’s where I got it most deeply.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Welcome, Batgirl!

I read the Flowers in the Attic series at a young age too. Maybe a little older than 9. I’m surprised it actually didn’t influence me too much. For me the damaging part was actually how the main characters in VC Andrews books (and I’m including some of the ghost written ones here too) always had perfect looks -including being skinny but still having boobs – but without ever being vain and putting in too much work. And of course every man they meet falls in love with them because they’re so beautiful and perfect. Even the incest that’s so prevalent in those books as presented as being a result of the main character being so gorgeous and wonderful that even her own family members can’t resist her. As opposed to just the abuser deciding to prey on someone vulnerable which is what abuse actually is.

Anyway, VC Andrews books are far, far from the only piece of media in our culture that gives the impression that women are supposed to just be naturally thin and beautiful without trying, but that’s the first time it made an impression on me as a kid and so those books are probably one of the many different things that have contributed to my lifelong body image issue and eventual eating disorder. I didn’t think of it until you brought it up though. Luckily those books did not influence how I thought relationships should work though. They might actually be worse than Twilight or Fifty Shades.

If anyone is actually wondering, the VC Andrews books I read were the Flowers in the Attic series, the Heaven series, the Dawn series, the Ruby series and My Sweet Audrina. I still own them and reread them every so often because they’re in that so bad they’re good category for me now. I’ve also seen the Lifetime adaptations of the Flowers in the Attic series and My Sweet Audrina. Why am I admitting to all this?

misophistry
misophistry
3 years ago

My sister was well in to the flowers in the attic series, I never did read em, glad I didn’t now I know.

Chariots of the gods had me believing a lot of crap for several years but in the end love of archaeology won out. That phase helped me understand wilful ignorance. I so wanted there to be aliens I was willing to swallow bull shit and ignore science.

1984 made me feel bleak and hopeless. Never reading that again.

But the one that messed me up the most was brave new world. Such a well thought out reasonable yet horrible sterile future, it made me conflicted. Didn’t help that I ingested it whole on an uncomfortable 13 hour coach journey.

MrsObedMarsh
MrsObedMarsh
3 years ago

@Button

Same here! I wonder why I didn’t remember that until just now. Oh well, I’m sure there’s no reason for it at all, much less a malign one.

Steve C
Steve C
3 years ago

Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods. A gripping book from a charismatic writer that hooked me at a young age and led me down a rabbit hole of “alternative” history. I ate it all up for a few years, even his Mars book which really pushed credulity to the limit, and got into other anomalous/lost knowledge crap like Coral Castle and other stuff you’d hear about on Coast to Coast with Art Bell.

The whole edifice of “alternative” and “forbidden” knowledge finally crumbled under its shaky foundations in my mid-twenties when I began to get involved in atheism and skepticism and got better at critical thinking. Now I see it as an educational–albeit embarrassing–phase of my learning life.

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
3 years ago

I’m going to cite Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, not because I read them but because other people, who now wield considerable power and get to decide politics for the rest of us, did.

If it weren’t for those books Thatcher and Reagan wouldn’t have been a thing and we’d have luxury, gay, space communism by now.

Angiportus
Angiportus
3 years ago

When I was 14 I was at someone’s house and saw a dirty book lying around. I figured I might as get some fictional details on what I thought I’d be doing a few years later. Bad move–the “deed” turned out to be a bloodbath–literally–the female partner (and only her) ripped and bleeding, and this thought to be normal for a novice. I was horrified and sickened, and it didn’t help when I read some supposedly factual accounts that sounded similar. My parents (proud of how liberal and progressive they were, and of not censoring my reading) just waved away my concerns. One said if they’d known I was going to be so upset, they’d not have let me read that stuff, but even then I saw several problems with that approach, for instance I might have read it anyway out of their sight, and I can tell you that if I had waited till 21 to read it that would not have helped. I still can’t stand that stuff.
I turned out to be an asexual aromantic, but for other reasons than that. Still I often wonder why books for young girls anticipating sexuality, even books that claim to be feminist and anti-purity-nonsense, still leave out the part about “here is how you can make sure it won’t hurt…” This lack makes all other safety concerns sound bogus or incomplete. A human being isn’t a package to tear open. Anyway, I would say that that stuff set my already messed-up adolescent mind back a few years.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

Richard Bach was among many authors I consumed as a teenager with harmful messages about how relationships work. Such as…

1. Deep, poetic thoughts excuse loutish, awful behavior *cough*WutheringHeights*cough*
2. Intense romantic feelings only count when men have them. A woman swept away by passion? Don’t be silly! It’s our job to redeem Tormented Men.
3. Drama and constant sex = passion. Never settle for the safe, “boring” kind of love where you sit companionably eating toast and having conversations about where to put the sofa. Conventional suburban adults can never know True Love.
4. It’s imperative to follow your bliss, even if it means abandoning your wife and five children, who are then forced into a relationship with an abuser just to stay afloat financially, while you fly around the country and never offer one dime or phone call of support. (Come to think of it, Richard Bach may have been one of the proto-RedPillers.)
5. Your soulmate is out there and it’s your fault if you haven’t found them yet.

Bakunin
Bakunin
3 years ago

Starship Troopers and Plutarch’s Life of Lysander (I think that was the one, the Spartan king). Extremely regimented and miltaristic, at a time when I dropped out, enlisted, and had no real idea of what I wanted. Had it been ten years later I might have ended up on this very website as a subject, not a commenter.

Thankfully, I managed to spot the toxic shit I had absorbed, sadly not without fucking up a couple friendships. I don’t remember where I saw it, but the “vending machine” description of so many of these guy’s idea of relationships hit me with a clue-by-four.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

The Force of Star Wars, by Frank Allnutt. (1977)

Basically it was a book shoehorning the SW mythos into some kind of Christian framework. As a result, I tried to convert to a Pentecostal sect and swore off of sex (which caused my BF to break up w. me – cue yoyo-ing of ‘slut/madonna’ behaviour :P) Also cue horrible mental breakdown (with my subconscious throwing up everything I hadn’t dealt with yet) with outbursts of rage and whatnot.

As a result I lost all of my friends for a while, gave up anything to do with Christianity (and still have some sore spots decades later) and did much soul searching regarding my sexuality and mental health.

Z&T
Z&T
3 years ago

I have read THE WORST book ever written! So mind bendingly AWFUL that the memory of it has literally driven me to drink!

Last Tango in Brooklyn by Kirk Douglas.

For those who feel strong minded enough, you can look that up, the Amazon review will give you an idea.

Be very careful here, please. And for the love of god (I say that as a non religious person) DO NOT read the actual book! I’m not big on conspiracy theories either, but this book very well could be some kind of mind control device to reduce the population and cause holes in the brain.

AWFUL.

Pictures of bowel movements would be pleasant and uplifting in comparison.

I am against censorship as well, but all copies of this book should be burnt. And then nuked. And then the ashes of what’s left shot into the sun.

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

Hoo boy. I can’t remember which specific books led me that direction and which I read because I was going that way (probably Niven or Pournelle or Heinlein), but I was definitely an insufferable right-libertarian as a teen. (Even then not perfectly in alignment, though; I also started a Communist club at my HS. Never went anywhere). Never could stand Rand, though. Philosphy aside, she’s just a really bad writer.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
3 years ago

I’ve actually given this question some thought over the years, and have concluded that a genre of books, specifically teenage romance, pretty much ruined my life. By my estimate, I read about 500 teen romances before I turned 13. I read voraciously, waiting for the kiss — spoiler, it’s always very near the end.

These books in no way prepared me for the fact that manipulative batterers exist and I should avoid them at all costs.

Instead, they were all about true love and that incredible kiss.

Luckily, I was able to take the pieces of my ruined life and glue them back together. Older and wiser now! Thanks, domestic violence counselors.

Catalpa
Catalpa
3 years ago

I don’t even remember what the title of the book was, but when I was 11 or so I was a voracious reader and proudly bought a massive, “mature” fantasy novel because I was at a very high reading level and was ready for adult books now.

Within two chapters, the heroine of the novel was graphically raped by the dude who would later become the Love Interest. It gave me some very odd notions about consent and virginity and the mechanics of sex for several years. (To be fair, my hangups regarding virginity were in no way entirely this book’s fault.)

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
3 years ago

Love to all the people who read such awful books. I remember hearing and reading about certain books one of them being on Amazon which says feeding your kid bleach will cure them of autism.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/us/politics/fbi-raids-office-of-trumps-longtime-lawyer-michael-cohen.html
‘Witch hunt’

comment image
No males you don’t get to compare yourselves being accused of something to women and even little girls being effing burned at stakes.

Fluffy Spider
Fluffy Spider
3 years ago

I can think of a few instances
1. Fifty shades of Grey.
OK so part of this was severely indirect. When in its heyday I actually was a submissive (today we are the most platonic friends ever witnessed but that’s another story) people started harassing me comparing my life to Anastasia Steele’s treating me like some sort of oddity I also lost friends.
2. Blubber (the kids one)
Made me always feel I was too fat because I weighed as much as the main character at the time as a teen.
3. Medicine woman series. (Lynn Andrews? I really don’t remember )
Yay for female power not yay for the awkward cultural appropriation and making me believe I was a native American shaman (turns out I’m not)
4. Several Glenn Beck books
I don’t want to talk about it
5. The book of Mormon (the scripture not the Trey Parker Matt Stone musical )
This is why I am not into religion as much.

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