One interesting answer was set out in a New York Times column on Sunday, “Why You Should Read Books You Hate.”
It appears to have had an earlier title: “The joy of hate reading.”
Here’s the key paragraph:
…reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it’s a style, a story line or an argument. Because books are long-form, they require more of the writer and the reader than a talk show or Facebook link. You can finish watching a movie in two hours and forget about it; not so a novel. Sticking it out for 300 pages means immersing yourself in another person’s world and discovering how it feels. That’s part of what makes books you despise so hard to dismiss. Rather than toss the book aside, turn to the next page and wrestle with its ideas. What about them makes you so uncomfortable?
It was only by burrowing through books that I hated, books that provoked feelings of outrage and indignation, that I truly learned how to read. Defensiveness makes you a better reader, a closer, more skeptical reader: a critic. Arguing with the author in your head forces you to gather opposing evidence. You may find yourself turning to other texts with determination, stowing away facts, fighting against the book at hand. You may find yourself developing a point of view.
The reader comments are also interesting. Many are in agreement. Others argue that with so many great books still unread, why waste your time on ones that you end up hating?
Sticking to reading through books you hate requires the luxury of time, which most of us don’t really have these days.
Another readers laments: “Unfortunately for most Americans you can stop with “Why you should read books…””
In any case, it’s a good read and a good argument to have.