Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished finished the book?
I think it would depend on why I was reading said book. Most of the books I read that are not self-selected are read for my book club, where a respectful exchange of ideas has been the norm for the three(?) years we’ve been in operation. For discussion with that group, provided the topic didn’t make me uncomfortable (we read Lolita and I couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes. I work with teenagers), I’ll read all the way through.
When I did readings for my multiculturalism in education classes, I read the material all the way through, even when the topics clashed with my personal beliefs, because that was the point of the class.
I also think it depends on what belief is being challenged. If I hold a preconceived notion about a certain group of people, I’m more likely to read all the way through. It’s an awareness of my limited experience with said group of people and a willingness to be corrected (without looking like a fool on the internet to do so).
If the belief is closely held because it relates to my lived experience, then whether or not I continue depends heavily upon whether or not I can handle feeling personally attacked. Understanding other people’s perspectives is important to me, but not at the expense of my own well-being. That isn’t to say I never read perspectives that oppose my lived experience, but when I do, I do so cautiously.
How about you? Do you read books whose contents oppose your personal beliefs?