As you might have noticed, a lot of my recent posts revolve around books and reading. It’s not so much because I am a writer and reader myself, but because I often encounter blogs and articles online featuring subjects that prod at my “This is not okay” meter, and I feel the need to rant. Thanks to this wonderful invention of a blog, I can do that, and you all are forced to hear me out. Muahahahah!
So let’s get to it, shall we? Today’s rant is about literary snobbery and should have an alternate title (which unfortunately did not fit into the title field):
You Are NOT What You Read! (unless you want to be)
If you’re a reader dating back to pre-Kindle days, you have personally encountered this before. People. Copping an attitude. About your reading preferences. Steamy bodice ripper cover? *scoff* She must be a desperate middle-aged housewife who needs to get her jollies through book porn. A literary classic? Pfft… snooty intellectual. Probably couldn’t find a G-spot with GPS navigation and turn-by-turn instructions.
My experience on the subject is graphic and emotionally painful. One time I went into a bookstore, stood in line for ten minutes while lovingly hugging my selections to my heart (as one does; don’t judge) only to reach the cash register and have a sweaty, pimply-faced boychild clerk look at my books and mock, “Romance, huh?” Yes. Romance. Stories about two serious, consenting adults getting into a relationship and, yes, even having sex. Amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life-forever-because-it-lasts-more-than-five-minutes-and-actually-MEANS-something sex. Though I can understand your lack of understanding, as it is probably a foreign subject to you. *smh* (I didn’t actually say that. I just blushed scarlet, paid for my book, and never went back there again.)
These days the discrimination is more virtual. Readers no longer flaunt their beautiful, beloved covers in public, so the public has taken to mocking our reading selections on the very open forum of the Internet. No genre is safe from ridicule, though Romance and Erotica still take the brunt of it, with Young Adult a close second.
I think that is a tremendous shame. We read books to escape. To taste of the exotic, the exciting, the forbidden. We read for the familiar, and for things that we couldn’t have imagined were possible. It’s meant to be a mind-opening experience, a conversation starter, and a way to bond with people, share ideas and dreams. Instead we are forced into solitude, mocked for our preferences, clumped together and stereotyped–and the more we band together, the worse it gets! We become the weirdos who have nothing better to do than hold book club meetings and sniff old books in libraries.
If it only came from non-readers of the world, I could understand. They don’t know any better. For whatever reason, they have never been initiated into the club; never felt the joy and rapture of meeting a new character and following their life’s story to its satisfying, bittersweet end. But, my friends, my kindred spirits, we ourselves are just as guilty of this crime. We judge others for reading what we do not, for not reading what we enjoy. Instead of celebrating our differences, we deride each other for them.
Why?? What business is it of ours? What impact could someone else’s reading material possibly have on us? It’s not like an erotica reader is wearing a leather bustier underneath that twinset. A mystery/crime reader ins’t secretly an undercover detective. Young adult novels don’t make anyone immature, horror readers don’t have corpses of dissected animals in their basements, and fantasy readers don’t spend their free weekends at Renaissance Faires, okay? We are people, just like you. Boring, ordinary, normal, every-day people who have day jobs (hopefully) and families, and, sure, some quirks to go along with the package, but who doesn’t? So just give it a rest!
And then you have the pillars of acceptance, those who scream up and down that they love and read every genre, and to each their own. But in the privacy of their closest relations, they’re secretly whispering, “How can they read that?”
I don’t get it. Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe I am just too self-involved to give a decent rat’s behind about what someone else is reading (unless they want to talk about it, in which case bring it on). I can argue the pros and cons of just about anything (thank you college Philosophy class), and I do, on occasion, indulge in a proper intellectual discussion about them (note the “proper” in that sentence, meaning, state your arguments, then listen to the other side, consider their point of view, and respond accordingly). But to spend my precious time and brain cells wondering about what kind of person would choose to read *insert genre*, and debating the merits of them? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a flying f*ck. I have better things to do, thank you, and not enough hours in the day to do them as it is.
You’re reading? Fantastic! Are you enjoying the book? Even better! Do you vary your steady diet of *insert genre* with other selections? Beautiful. Keep up the good work.
That is all there should be to it.
Why is this concept so difficult for people to grasp?
About the Author: She reads. On occasion she picks up stuff she’s never read before. It works for her most of the time. Oh, yeah, she also writes. Her books are multi-genre and include romance (yes, you read that right), fantasy, sci-fi, and horror/thriller. Though she does not currently depend on book sales to pay the bills, it would be nice if they could pay for the small stuff, like hot chocolate, or books, or that new computer she now needs because her old one ganked. You can find her books at any online retailer of your choice. Give ’em a read and enjoy. Thanks for supporting her literary efforts!