Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daisy Discussion: Book Snobbery

So it's been a while since I last did a discussion post, because really, my brain has just been so relieved when I wasn't working, it didn't really have the energy to come up with something besides ....

But today I would like to talk with you guys about book snobbery. The event that triggered this is that recently I went to my local bookstore and saw Dan Brown's latest, Inferno, lying around being pretty for a price I just couldn't justify NOT bringing it home with me.
So I went up to the counter, the guy behind it took a look at it, sneered a bit, asked 'is it a gift?' and had this sort of pitying look on his face when I told him it wasn't and didn't even say anything after he'd handed over the bag with the book after I paid for it.

So this could be a coincidence, he could have just been having a bad day/hour/life, but it seemed like he was just dismissing me because I was purchasing a book that didn't live up to his standards!
I was a bit huffy at this and only good manners held me back from telling him something like "well, you know what, I've probably read more books in the past year than you will in a lifetime". Because I also realized that would make me as much a book snob as he appears to be.

I've always been a firm believer that anyone should just read what they want and not be looked down on because it might not be the next work of a literary genius, as determined by the masses. Some people like to read classics, some like chicklit or historical romance or fantasy or any number of the amazing span that is all of the genres you could be reading. And who is anyone else to judge what qualifies as what you 'should be reading'?

I feel that you 'should be reading' what you enjoy reading, because what other point (except for required reading) is there? I do agree that there are some books that I enjoy for the time being, but I know they will probably not still be read in 10 or 20 years, some books will stand the test of time, while others may not. There are books that will BE classics in the future, but I'm just not the kind of reader who only wants to read those books, because I would surely miss out on some gems that may not become classics, but I still do love with all my heart.

I don't think anyone should be looked down upon because of what they read. Because they READ. I'm still a big fan of the Book Depository bookmark that tells me I burn 50% more calories while reading than I would while watching TV, which only burns a couple more calories than sleeping. So yeah, I don't care what you exercise your brain with, I'm just glad you're reading (not that there's anything wrong with watching TV either).

So can we just start accepting that not everyone wants to read the same thing and not look down on each other for whatever it is that floats your boat reading-wise? Anyone else had an experience like mine? What do you think on this subject?


  1. I 100% agree with you, although I must admit to being a bit of a book snob in the past. I used to look down on genre fiction but now I love it as much as I love literary fiction/classics, and reading more widely has definitely made me a better reader.

  2. Working in a library, where a huge part of my job is readers advisory. . . . it doesn't matter what you read, so long as you do. Our response to people taking out the whackiest books (and even the people that occasionally steal our books) is always 'well, at least they're reading!'

    Plus, I feel like I can't judge others on what they read, because my reading is pretty out there sometimes too.

  3. I absolutely agree! Reading is actually a very personal activity. YOU choose and decide what you want to read, YOU can distinguish what you like and what you don't. As I've heard someone say, there's an audience for EVERY book. What might be your cup of tea, might not appeal to anyone else. What you don't like might be someone else's absolute favorite! In the end, what unites us is a LOVE for reading -- and not exactly the same opinions about the books we read.

  4. TOTALLY! I wrote a discussion post about a friend who was bagging on me for reading in general. He does NOT read ever...yet he said when he does read it's non-fiction. SO now he's being a book snob and DOESN'T EVEN READ CONSISTENTLY! What the hell!? Read what you enjoy and don't get down on people for what they like. To each their own. End of story. GREAT post! :)

  5. I love that bookdepository bookmark!

    Anyway, I agree with you. I often get flack from people because I love reading romance so much. Last quarter I was reading a Julie James book at work and a fellow teacher actually asked me if I "liked reading that sort of thing" and I said heck yeah, and I could see her flinch a little.

    And it makes me sad.

    I admit to being a little snobby sometimes, mostly because I like teasing my sister about the books she reads, but she's my sister and teasing is what we do best, I try not to judge other people for what they like to read. Plus, people often surprise me, like my sister does when she enjoys dark and twister reads (you would totes peg her for a chick lit type, but she's not)

  6. oh this. So much. I feel like I get this all the time when I say I read mostly young adult books. People are just like, "Ohh... like the books for teenagers." And I just want to scream and say, "AT LEAST I'M READING." And young adult is fun, I honestly don't care about reading some literary masterpiece, I read to enjoy myself.

    But UGH that you should get this about Dan Brown. I mean, it's so popular that I wouldn't have expected it. Though I guess I know enough people who look down on it. *sigh*

  7. I absolutely agree with you, and I say this as a former book snob myself ;-) And I have to admit that every now and then I get the feeling of book snobbery again (like with the 50 Shades of Grey thing), but they I have to remind myself "Well, at least people are reading." And that's what it's all about!

  8. I've definitely been judged a lot for reading YA, usually by people who don't read at all. Those are *fun* conversations.