To All The Books I Loved Before

Posted January 17, 2019 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 14 Comments

Dear Jeff Lindsay,

When I first got serious about reading nine years ago, I was never sure what books would interest me. One of the first things I turned to was Darkly Dreaming Dexter, you know, the first book in the series you created. I was loving the television series and I thought reading the books was a natural progression. You wrote a wonderfully complex character, DexterI read the series because of the show but I knew that the books took a very different direction.

When I picked up Darkly Dreaming Dexter, I was so fascinated by Dexter. It is rare to find such a complex character that toed the line between good and evil. A character that you can sympathise with and yet feel totally disgusted by their actions. As you know, Frankenstein was the book that ignited my passion for reading. It was the dual narrative that really stuck with me, there are two sides to every story and Frankenstein used these two characters to explore a range of different ideas but the one that I identified with is the one where society turned Frankenstein’s creation into a monster. This similarity to the Dexter series is what drew me to the show and the books.

I admit, at first I loved the books; Dexter was just an amazing character. I told myself that I wish I could write like this and in many ways it helped shape me. However the writing is so bad, cringe worthy in fact. Turns out it was not the writing I wanted to emulate; it was the great character. I read all eight books in the series because of the writing, but I cannot tell if I improved as a reader, or if you never improved as a writer. The character of Dexter was enough to sustain me through the series but I can never go back. I have moved on in my reading journey and I have no time for this type of writing anymore.

I will admit that I still love crime books, I love a good antihero but I am yet to find a good series that is able to replace Dexter. It is such a shame to see such an amazing character go to waste. I still have Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Jim Thompson to sustain my love for crime literature, I do not need formulaic and terrible writing anymore.

Best of luck in the future


Dear Haruki Murakami,

What has happened to you? Has fame gotten to you? I rather enjoyed some of your older novels in the past, but now it feels like you have decided an editor was not for you…or maybe you just know whatever you write will sell. I have no idea what 1Q84 was meant to be but I have a hard time appreciating anything about it. In fact, I do not know if any of your more recent works are even worth reading. Sure, I did enjoy Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage as a palate cleanser but I used to turn to you for the surreal and the Kafkaesque.

I know your most notable novel is the very straight-laced Norwegian Wood, so I wonder if you are just trying to relive the success but do you have to continuously remind us of your obsession with younger women? It is getting to the point where we have to wonder if you suffer from Lolita syndrome. I know it is not just you, there are so many writers that make me cringe every time they write about a woman, Ken Follett and Mario Vargas Llosa both come to mind. Maybe it is just an old man writer kink.

I want to read about the surreal, to explore the inner workings of someone’s mind, or even look at the concept of loneliness. You did this so well in the past, Murakami, but now I think it is time for me to move on with my life and find a new author to satisfy my needs. Do you have any suggestions?

I hope you find pleasure in the books you write because I cannot bring myself to read you anymore.


Dear John Green,

Honestly, I must have gotten sucked into the hype. I very much enjoyed Looking for Alaska, and The Fault in Our Stars made me cry. But when you think about it, it is a little weird for a thirty year old man to read about the romantic endeavours of teenagers. To enjoy reading the characters like Hazel and Alaska, on reflection, makes me cringe. I do not know how you feel about writing these books, you are older than I am. I know they have made you a lot of money and you have single handily revolutionised both Young Adult literature and YouTube, so you should be proud of that.

As for me, I cannot read your books anymore, I liked them in the past, but I was a young reader, I was exploring the world of literature and trying anything and everything. I even read Twilight. I have recently started to find my own niche in the world of books but I am very away that I will have to continue to pay attention to the rest of the literary world. I just will not be reading more of your books.

The concept of Young Adult literature is amazing, it gets people reading and it allows them to explore interesting concepts. In fact I once wrote a blog post about Twilight and tied it to literary theories. I am pretty proud of my review I wrote about Divergent. I have grown as a reader and I am pretty sure Young Adult literature will be left behind. There may be some in my future, the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle perhaps but I am not the right demographic for these books anymore.

There is an obvious discussion to be had about people that never progress pass these books, but it is not one I want to explore here. Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars no longer have a place on my shelves, I need to make room for books I love and plan to re-read. So goodbye John Green and good luck


I have grown so much as a reader, it is clear that there will be plenty more books that I enjoy now that in the future would make this list. I wrote this as a way to show that I grew as a reader, and while I enjoy a book, it does not mean that it will remain well loved. I think it is important to remember that growth is a part of the reading journey. Let us not be ashamed of the books we have loved in the past, but reflect on them and see just how much we have grown.

14 responses to “To All The Books I Loved Before

  1. Great post! It makes me wonder how I would feel today about some of the books that I loved in the past. I’ve been meaning to revisit some of them but my fear of being disappointed has been holding me back from doing so. Also, I often go through and cull my bookshelves to make room for new books and books that I love, so I can definitely see how my taste has changed by looking at the books that I currently have on my shelves.

  2. I regret a few of the books I culled in my massive “chucking out” of last year, but I figured that I was never going to read the majority of the ones I got rid of, so what was the point in keeping them. Culling freed up shelf space for books I do want to read.

    I used to try not to be a book snob, but I could never pull it off. Heh.

    I hope you and yours are doing okay in the deluge. The weather has just gone batshit crazy. We’ve had the most mild summer ever, until the past couple of days. Stay dry and safe!

    • I just need to bring myself to pull the trigger with a major cull, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss any of them, but I’m unemployed at the moment and worry because I have no book budget.

      We are safe indoors, heaps of flooding and evacuations, but thankfully we are on high ground

  3. Being unemployed sucks in every way. At least you still have the library, I guess. Most of the books I read last year came from the library, which is why I’m trying really hard to read my own books this year.

    Hang in there. I hope a job turns up soon, and that the rain stops!

    • I’m not sure what to do with life next. I had an idea but that looks like it’s not happening. In the mean time, I plan to throw myself into building this translation site.

      I love the rain but it’s a little too much at the moment. We are safe but flooding around the town

  4. What a nightmare of rain and floods! I hope you’re still doing alright. You’ve had a very rough few months!

    Sorry your plan didn’t work out. Life, eh? I have a new website, too. I got sick of typing all those hyphens in my old domain – so last decade! – and I wanted a change. Idk if it was worth the effort. The code in the theme I bought was “mysterious” and it took me a while to tweak things.

    Take care.

    • I look forward to checking out the new site. I’m super excited for the new site I’m building but haven’t had much time to work on it lately. I kind love starting fresh and going for a more focused site, but I am aware just how big this project will be.

      I hate those mysterious coding that just don’t allow the site to be tweaked perfectly to your satisfaction, so good luck.

      We are currently in Melbourne escaping all the drama for the weekend. Hope that gives them a chance to dry out, and restock the supermarkets

  5. Hey. Your other site is looking really good! I tried to subscribe to the newsletter, but nothing happened after I filled in my details. I don’t think it worked? Thought I would let you know, in case there’s a problem.

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