• Published 30th Nov 2012
  • 2,701 Views, 51 Comments

Twilight Sparkle Hates Books - Fon Shaolin

A confession a lifetime in the making.

  • ...

Chapter 1

That’s a lie, of course. How could I live in a library and hate books? My day begins and ends with the fluttering of paper. Ponies come from miles around to ask me questions about books, to check out books, or to solve their problems with books. Why? Because I’m Twilight Sparkle, personal student of Princess Celestia and Ponyville librarian and there is not a single room in my home that doesn’t have a book in it.

No, I don’t hate books – I loathe books. I curse books. If but I could, I would hunt down the pony that first dreamed of the written word and strangle him or her with their own entrails.

This candid diary outburst begs the question of how a unicorn such as myself could harbor such a dislike of something so ingrained in my personality. After all, one could ask, had not I been one of the top students at Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns? In fact, one of the running yearbook “fun shot” goals had been to try and catch me without a book.

They failed. Every year. For six years straight.

What one has to realize is that reading is a vital part of making good grades. That is not rocket science – it is common sense. To pull the (amazing) marks that I did meant hours upon hours of library time. How else are you supposed to claw your way to the top of the class? Natural talent?

Since this diary is bewitched with enough wards and dark magic that even that old hack Sombra would choke on it, I suppose I can finally put my dirty secret to words, if only to admit it out loud. My deepest, darkest secret that would shake the foundation of all Equestria if anypony ever found out: I, Twilight Sparkle, am not a good student.

Dear gods does that feel good to finally say (write).

Oh, I earned every single scholastic accolade I received, but I had to work for them. I had to work harder than 99% of the student body. Other ponies had special talents like speed reading or photographic memory, but not me. My special talent is magic. Why oh why do ponies think that magic translates into natural intelligence? I’m good at magic – that’s it. Not magical reading, not magical studying, and I certainly do not have a magical IQ. Do ponies actually think that the school only taught magic? Do they think I was able to just avoid all of the other boring and tedious subjects that they had to endure in public school? Ooooooh no. They doubled up the course load because this was the specialschool for the gifted students. Everything should come naturally to them. Even magical studies, the one subject I was a natural at, wasn't a reprieve for me because the princess insisted on teaching them to me personally. What should have been an easy pass was transformed into a daily struggle to not lose favor with the matron goddess of the sun.

So I read. I read and studied and then read some more until I went cross-eyed. Other ponies got to go to the fancy school parties or the field trips. Twilight Sparkle? Twilight Sparkle had to cram for the midterm. If I had a bit for every checklist or flash card I made back then I’d be richer than Filthy Rich. Some of the study tricks I developed for staying on top are taking hold in public schools all over Equestria. Take that, natural geniuses! You won’t be so smug about not having to work hard like the rest of us when the average pony can make just as good as you! No more nights on the town while the rest of us slave and toil like mules to keep up! Let’s see you be smug about your fancy birthday parties then!


It is infuriating how much I still rely on my old methods. Naively, I thought once I had graduated into being the princess’s student full time I wouldn’t need to see a dusty old book (that wasn’t a spellbook, naturally) ever again. I had thoughts of slowly, gleefully, expunging myself of boring history or headache-inducing mathematics.

As I mentioned before, I am rather naive. The princess took up more time with me, and that time was filled with magic and spell casting, but my mentor is a well-read pony. She devours books of all kinds on any subject. There’s even an official “Princess Celestia’s Book Club” out there that she personally updates monthly when the new releases hit the shelves. When you’re the closest pony to the bibliophile monarch, guess what? That’s right – you read books. History books, philosophy books, romance novels, crime fiction, and even cook books had to be read, appreciated, and remembered. Princess Celestia could talk for hours about things she had read, and that meant that to stay in her good graces you had to prove you could keep up with her conversations.

I’m not one to brag, but by the time I was ten I could out-quote most of the royal court by memory. Oh, how the princess would smile at me as I put forward a witty blurb from some random book I had consumed. All of those old nags and mules in their expensive clothes couldn’t get nearly as much attention as I could when I was on a roll. I could quote entire passages from Conflict and Resolution at the drop of a hat; I could make the princess titter whenever I managed to toss a quip straight out of The Wanderers Compendium to Equestria.

It was those moments - those rare, unguarded moments - when Princess Celestia was paying attention to me rather than those stodgy old nobles that I almost didn’t hate books. I still disliked reading them, of course. That wasn’t ever going to change. Books and I had burned that bridge years ago. What we had was an understanding; a work relationship. My hatred of books was outweighed in those moments by my love for –


Twilight slammed her diary shut when she heard the light footfalls of her assistant plodding up the staircase to her level of the library. The little white book slipped under the covers just as Spike’s bright orange fins crested the landing.

“What is it, Spike?”

“I know it’s late, but I coughed this up a few minutes ago.” Spike held up a small, yet thick, paperback book. It was called Wonderful Expectations and there was a tiny golden seal on the bottom. It was the official “Celestia’s Book Club” logo.

Twilight floated the novel over to her bed. “Thank you, Spike. Why don’t go get a bowl of ice cream? I know how getting books bothers your throat.” She smiled when the little dragon practically ran down to the kitchen.

She looked down at the loathsome stack of wasted paper. It could get lost so very easily. Maybe Spike coughed just a bit too hard and lit it aflame? Perhaps there had been some kind of cosmic mix-up and some other dragon had gotten it? It could just get lost in the library, put on a shelf and forgotten. Just this one time…

A tiny slip of paper fell out from between the pages as Twilight lifted the book. It was just a simple message scrawled in a casually mundane script that very few ponies would recognize. Tell me what you think, it said.

Twilight sighed. She pulled her diary back out from beneath her duvet and carefully hid it away in her locked nightstand.

She turned to the first page in her new book and began to read.

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Comments ( 51 )

Just a funny little story I've wanted to do since I read Princess Celestia Hates Tea. I had some time and I thought "why not?"


All of this.

Just no.

How could it be-



OOC works to a point. This... I'm out.


Not that bad.

... I don't get the beginning? It starts off with that's a lie and leads to more mindless dribble.


Only 1000 words? I think it could've been stretched WAY longer. I'm gonna go read Background Pony. Now THAT'S a fiction.

1712119 Meet you in your comments box.:raritywink:

Oh no, nothing longer. I have two open fics that are going to eat up a significant portion of time. This was just something to get the idea out of my head. :pinkiecrazy:

1712176 It could've EASILY been 3000 words. Going the extra mile helps, but I didn't downvote it. It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad either.

1712177 Again? What AM I gonna do with you???

*Reads title*
Those words. Is it possible to use them in a sentence like that?! :twilightoops:

Edit: Argh! Next you'll be telling me that pinkie hates sweets, or something!

Doesn't make sense. Celestia being able to hate tea without anyone being aware, makes sense -- drinking tea is hardly her one defining characteristic, so she's not incredibly motivated to like it. Twilight Sparkle hating books makes no sense, for several reasons...

a) while she's certainly worried about what Celestia thinks of her, it appears to only be an immediate thing (something goes wrong -> "celestia will banish me"), rather than the slavish devotion (most of her conscious thought devoted to improving how Celestia sees her) you depict here. Additionally, such slavish devotion has to originate somewhere, typically in sustained emotional abuse, unless you subscribe to the theory that Celestia has a drug-like aura.

b) Justification doesn't work that way. It's very difficult to strongly dislike something that you do a lot. Each time you do it, you justify it (and build up a library of justifications, varying based on your mental state at the time). Much like an alcoholic, Twilight may be aware that her book habit is getting out of control, but she likes books. That's the natural progression of events -- everything you do, you justify. The objects of your habits, good or bad, become like your friends. Even if she has a hard time studying -- something that I find plausible -- she gets rewards out of that studying, consistent enough that she pretty much is forced to like them.

c) Twilight has shown herself incapable of subtle deception, and barely capable of even unsubtle deception. The characterization in this story, then, is blatantly OOC, as you depict her as a certain kind of social climber.. actually, as the kind of person who has much in common with Blueblood.

d) Here's the simplest one: Twilight Sparkle likes knowing things, as evidenced by her willingness to display her knowledge -- not only to the princess, but to her friends and random background ponies, where there would be no social value in it per the Twilight Sparkle you wrote's values. Unless you intend to imply she's dyslexic, this makes books her friends; they are unquestionably the most concentrated and universalised source of knowledge available to her.

I believe that this idea could be convincingly done, but only as an AU (perhaps where she wasn't accepted into Celestia's school).

I Love the idea that everything Twilight knows took work. Hard work.
Literal Years of blood sweat and tears.
Nothing worth having is free and Twilight has earned everything she has been given, and more. :heart:

Next in the Not What We Were Led to Believe series of Blunderbooks:

Fluttershy Hates Soft Fuzzy Things
Rainbow Dash's Crippling Acrophobia
Pinkie Pie Wishes You Would Shut Up Already
Rarity's Eruction Fetish
Applejack's Secret Craving: Why There Are No Squirrels in Sweet Apple Acres

i like this, a short little drabble, not to long, but still good

You know, this makes me feel like revealing a secret. I don't actually like Atlas Shrugged. Fuck Ayn Rand, screw John Galt, go suck a dick Dagny Taggart, fuck the two months wasted trying to read that piece of fascist propaganda, and fuck me for pretending to like it. Seriously, someone fuck me. I need a drink.

1712744 you may have just made my day good sir :twilightsmile: Atlas shrugged, and Cerebus hit him on the head and said "Bad Titan! Get back to your post!"

While I do love the ideas put forward in the story, and I certainly can see it working in an alt universe, Canon!Twilight almost collapsed from happiness at the size of the Crystal Empire Library, and the number of books she could read therein. :unsuresweetie:

1712773 Oh ha ha, how very funny. I'm out of booze. Seriously, who do I hafta blow to get a drink around here?

1712779 you're a real sweetheart, you know that. Drinks on the house. Shame Rainbow Dash knows how to take a compliment better :facehoof:. Ah well, at least you may have good taste in literature still.

1712786 That was a compliment? Okay then, thank you so very much! Yeah, I'm pretty awesome, I know. No autographs, please. Okay, just one.


Now you can tell your grandkids you met the man himself before he was famous!

1712793 I'll treasure it forever :ajbemused: But no really, I do sometimes hand out compliments. There's a person on the internet who isn't always sarcastic and crass! I know! It's shocking! :pinkiecrazy:

1712805 And because of it, you're a terribly immoral, second-hand person. There is no individual called Knight of Cerebus, there is only the opinions and ideas of the collected internet condensed into one person.


1712813 Indeed. It's just me against the internet, clearly. And the internet is not a collective of people, oh no. It's a monstrosity come to flood us with cynicism and bitterness.

1712829 Really? I thought that was called Fox News?



No? Well fuck you too.

Now I have to reset my brain

"Mindless dribble"? Try actually reading it. It may be (deliberately) OOC to the point of being AU, but that doesn't make it mindless, or dribbly. Actually, it's quite well-done overall.

"This candied diary..." A gift from Pinkie Pie? :rainbowlaugh:

1712835 You mean the same media network that canceled Futurama?

1712288 And Rainbow Dash always dresses in style
Or Rainbow Dash hates speed flying


I'd read "Pinkie Pie Wishes You Would Shut Up Already"

"Pinkie Pie's childhood on the rock farm was defined by one saying, and one saying only. Foals should be seen and not heard. This old proverb was drilled into her head from as early as she could remember. And as such, her hyperactiveness and often rambling speech she justified to herself as 'making up for lost time'. She didn't hate other ponies talking, it's just that she liked them better not. You can't talk if you're enjoying a delicious slice of cake or playing some musical instruments."

Me likey this story. I've never seen this idea :derpytongue2:

"Twilight Sparkle Hates Books", eh?


Seriously, ignoring the OOC, which has been covered extensively by others already, I don't think, at any point, you explain why she hates books - what about them does she find so repugnant? This is not like tea, which is a simple matter of literal taste. Reading - the printed word - is a fundamental basis for our society and, as such, so inherently intertwined with it that, if you're going to say that anyone, let alone Twilight, hates it, then you're going to need a damn good reason. And yet, the story was so focussed on how Twilight not liking books could work that it didn't even seem to ask why she didn't.

She's a slow reader? Fine! She finds reading tiring? Fine. Even her not liking certain kinds of books (say, textbooks) could work, though, again, you'd have to go into why. But hating reading, hating books? Not to say it coudn't happen, but it'd be more than a matter of taste.

Heck, even Rainbow Dash had no particular hatred for books, just thought they weren't for her.

Also, why were Spike's fins orange? Aren't they supposed to be green? Is that some sort of hint that this is an alternate universe or something, or am I just ignorant or missing something?

It was, you know, just a fun little one-shot I had an idea for that was inspired by Princess Celestia Hates Tea. I didn't set out to write War and Peace.


1854480 Yeah, I know, and the story was fun, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't really work for me because of that, and I think that improving it would improve the story.

Apologies if my comments came off as offensive or aggresive - not my intention, its just that those were my immediate thoughts after reading it.

Not offensive, not at all. If it had been on one of my main fics I would have taken them to heart and made adjustments, but this was just a quick little oneshot I thought would be fun to write. I'm doing another one-shot now, though, so I'll keep yours and other comments in mind as I write. I'm not the best at oneshots and I think it shows. :derpytongue2:

.........This could be true actually....scary.

Ha, not really. After all, why would she still be so into books if she only did it to impress Celestia. All she would really have to do would be to read the books sent to her by Celestia and that's it.

I know you meant it as a silly one shot and you did it very well.

Honestly, I enjoyed East of Eden, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Dracula once I read them on my own time. They're are legitimately good books. But when I was told I had to read them for an assignment, I simply couldn't stand them.

Evidently, this was not the case for you. I think Twilight's motives are argued quite nicely.

edit: That's right. I dug this up 24 weeks later.

I love this. So, so much.

At the very least, "Twilight is not naturally talented; she had to work for all her accomplishments" has been added to my headcanon.

Yeah, I always found it a bit lazy how writers associated a talent in magic with a scientific talent or mathematical talent. I figure she knows a bit about those things just because she reads a lot, but unless it has to do with magic she really doesn't get it. Makes her less of a "catch all" character, if you catch my drift. Character weaknesses can be just as fun (and necessary) to write as character strengths.

Stretched believability a little too much for me, but I still liked it for the great writing, and specially the irony of Twilight confessing her hate for books to a book. Things we hate can become deeply ingrained in our routines, sure, but I still read this as a rebellious streak of Twilight, where she actually likes books, but still tries to justify her hatred to herself.

3034919 That makes it sound like Twilight doesn't have any character weaknesses to begin with. That's... not true.

Cute. Great ending, greenthumbed!

I could quote entire passages from Conflict and Resolution at the drop of a hat

War and Peace. Nice.

1854433 You and a few other folks summed this up nicely for me. Between this feeling very OOC and no justification or explanation given for why she feels the way she does it didn't do much for me. As well the orange fins thing I'm guessing is a never to be corrected typo.

Um, no offense but it seems out of character for Twilight to hate books when she was young. However, it would be justified she hate them for she gets too much. That she read so many books that she can't stand another forced down her throat.

Hi there. I hope you don't mind, but I liked this fic so much, I've put together an audio version on YouTube.

Wow, that actually sounds like Twilight. Fairly flattered right now.

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