“If I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.”

I love Pixar something awful. Seriously, 99% of their stuff is pure gold (but I’ll admit, I didn’t like Cars very much and I didn’t even bother watching Cars 2). But when it comes down to it, I think Pixar does something amazing other movie companies just aren’t doing much of anymore: coming up with awesome, unique, and innovative stories. Seriously, have you ever seen a movie quite like Finding Nemo? The Incredibles? Ratatouille?

Well, if you know much about Pixar at all, you’d have recognized the quote I used for the title of this article as something out of Ratatouille. It’s what Anton Ego says to Linguine when they’re having that public trash session in front of the media toward the end of the film. You know, his response when Linguine tells him he’s skinny for someone who likes food.

And Anton says, “I don’t like food; I love it. And if I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.”

Apparently that’s like, a super scary thing to say in the food world because everyone gasps and Linguine gets all nervous. Sure, Anton could make or break his career with a single review, but whatever. The point of it is, this blog actually has nothing to do with Pixar at all. Instead, it has to do with that single line spoken by Anton Ego and as it relates to my life and to books.

For a long time, I used to obsess over finishing every single book I ever started to read. It didn’t matter. If I opened the cover and read past the first few pages, I was going to finish that damn book if it killed me. I can’t tell you how often I’d spend months just trying to get through the worst chapters of some of the worst books I’d been given. I can’t tell you how often I’d read through books my friends lent me just so I wouldn’t make them feel bad by telling them the novel was garbage.

I wasted so much of my younger years immersed in a world of books I didn’t enjoy reading.

That pretty much came to an end when a friend lent me the second book of the Inheritance Cycle. I got halfway through the book and just gave up. I couldn’t do it anymore. The book was so bad I was editing syntax and structure without paying attention to the story. What was the point of reading a book if all I did the whole time through was try to make it better? Hell, I didn’t remember anyone’s name but the main character’s, and that’s only because his name was the title of the first book!

That’s when I decided I needed to take a more selfish approach to reading, and especially now, as an adult without the same spare time I had in high school, my reading time is a valuable commodity. I can’t afford to waste a single moment on it on a book that doesn’t grip and excite me. I’ve done too much of that already.

When it comes down to it, we should all be Anton Egos in certain parts of our lives. My husband’s family has a saying about beer: “If I’m going to poison my body, I’m going to do it with the good stuff.” I have a similar approach to the food I put in my body. And then, I care quite a bit about the movies and TV shows I spend my time watching. If I don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? If I don’t like what I’m consuming, where that’s literally consuming or consuming via entertainment, it’s totally pointless.

There are too many books out there, and it’s impossible to read them all. Instead of reading just anything people slap down in front of me, I’m going to be a little snobbish and admit it full out. If I don’t love it, I won’t swallow.


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Categories: Writing

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