Book Shaming A Reader

 

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” –

Annie Dillard in The Living

A beautiful quote fitting for most book lovers. There´s just something magical about reading. Whether it´s a romance, horror, Young Adult or a fantasy novel… There´s always magic waiting to reach our hearts and minds.

The other day I had a lovely chat with a fellow book blogger about books. We covered everything book related. At some point, I asked about her current read. She refused to tell me.

 

“I´d rather not say.”

 

What?! I mean, come on. We´re not sharing intimate secrets with each other. I don´t want to know how many people you´ve buried in your backyard. It´s just a book. When I asked why she answered with this:

 

“Because you´ll just make fun of me.”

 

My actual response

 

If the book blogger knew me better she´d have known I don´t judge people´s reading tastes. Never have and never will. I would never want to make any reader feel guilty for the books they read or the genres they enjoy.

It was clear someone must have done this or else the book blogger would´ve been more forthcoming with the book title.

The book blogger, a grown woman, was shamed after mentioning her favorite books-The Twilight Saga – in an online book group. Book lovers book shamed a book lover?

 

 

I´ll admit, I don´t have the hots for the Twilight books. I read them. I saw the appeal. I never belonged to the fan brigade, though. I even watched the movies ( which weren´t my cup of tea, either ). But does that give me the right to shit on someone´s favorite books? Absolutely not. Anyone who comes to my house and takes a good look at my bookshelf will see the Twilight Saga– all four books. So?

I read 50 Shades of Grey because I was told the sex in the books was out of this world ( I´m a HUGE fan of book sex ). I ended up actually liking the story. Shit on my reading tastes, for all I care- It doesn´t change the fact that the story wasn´t the worst that´s ever been published.

90% of the books I read are considered worthless by all sorts of self-proclaimed book experts because they´re not ” proper literature “.

 

 

When someone mentions a book or a genre I´m not a fan of then I won´t shame them. Instead, I´ll just think  “Oh, so she/he likes vampire romances/smut/whatever. That´s interesting“. Because that´s just what it is- Interesting. Different people, different tastes.

 

It´s the fact that you´re reading that´s important. Not the book or genre.

 

 

From what I´ve gathered, many book people like to hold the “You´re not a true bookworm if you haven´t read…” card in people´s faces. I´m sorry, but YOU DO NOT have to read Jane Austen´s books or Kafka´s works in order to call yourself a proper bookworm. You´re still one if you stick with modern novels only. YOU READ an old ham when and if you feel like it.

This really ticks me off because the emotional damage these people cause is unbelievable.

There are popular and less popular books and book genres. Romance is the least popular book genre ( yet it´s the most profitable ). Knowing that will not keep me from reading romances. I do not read certain books for the sake of wanting to belong.

 

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part, I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.”

– Voltaire

 

If your passion is YA fiction then I´m more than happy to share the excitement with you, even if I´m not as passionate about the genre as you are. The same applies to every other genre or book.

Book shaming is such a shameful act. How highly these book people must think of themselves when they attack someone´s reading tastes. And how little they know about the effects their words have on others.

To people who book shame…

 

 

My hope for the future is that the book community finds a way to respect one another and their reading choices. This book-universe can be such a beautiful place if we all allow it to be.

After a while, the book blogger FINALLY revealed the book title she didn´t want to share.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. A YA, fantasy retelling.


 

Dear book people,

Book shaming is toxic. It doesn´t need to happen. Instead of judging someone´s reading taste we should be celebrating the fact that we share the same passion- Reading books.

 


What about you? Have you been book shamed before? Do you know someone who´s been book shamed? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤

 


Thank for reading my blog post. I truly appreciate it.

Much book love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Reading Lie

Is there a book you´ve never read but tell people you have?

In all honesty – Yes. I have. But let me explain….

First, let me tell you…I´m not huge on lying. I´m probably the worst liar there is because I get tangled in my own lies. That´s why I don´t lie. Lies are so stupid and worthless because… they´re simply facts that aren´t true.

Years ago, it was frowned upon in the book society when an avid reader claimed to be an avid reader without having read the world´s classics.

“What?! You haven´t read Kafka´s Methamorphosis?” 

So, what does a girl do who´s been asked if she has read the works of Kafka, Nietzsche, Wilde, Austen and Co. but hasn´t? A girl lies.

” Of course. I´ve read Kafka´s Methamorphosis.” My big reading lie.

My problem was-  I´ve already had a few classics under my reading belt up until that moment. Not many classics. Just the one´s I either had to read in School or the one´s my parents had on their bookshelves.

The lie I gave nearly ate me alive. On the one hand, I was ashamed that I (!!) haven´t read anything from Kafka, and on the other hand, I was afraid those same bookish people would eventually want to discuss Kafka´s work with me. The only solution to my problem, before ending up with stomach cramps, was: To pick `Metamorphosis`from Kafka and read it.

And boy, did I ever read Kafka´s Metamorphosis. I read it. I flung it on the sofa. Picked it back up. Hid the book where I thought I would forget about it. Felt bad and pulled it back out. To make a long 3 week story short: I hated it. I hated every page. I despised the words.

There was no negative feeling I hadn´t felt while reading Metamorphosis. But… I was prepared for future discussions with book people. That was my goal and I achieved it with lots of sweat and hate.

After that, I decided no book club was worth the effort. No book discussion would ever drive me to such extremes again. No more lying about books I haven´t read.

What I didn´t know back then was, a classic isn´t necessarily a classic. I read `Little Women` by Louisa May Alcott and I´ve also read a few Jane Austen books. But those were also frowned upon in certain book circles because they´re “mainstream”. You´re only a real book-worm if you´ve read the heavy hams people curse to be true literature classics.

Honestly, I feel like I´m in Highschool, again, taking music. You were only cool if you listened to dubious, unknown artists… or Nirvana and acted all artsy with uncombed hair ( those were the days, eh?).

After my encounter with the book club from the seven pits of Hell I sort of kept an eye on other book discussions. You will not believe the amount of liars there are in those many groups.

“Nietzsche? Oh yeah. I have his collection. Right next to my Fifty Shades Of Grey books.”

“I read Tolstoy when I was 14 years old. Brilliant, I tell you. Just brilliant.”

It´s not that I don´t believe people when they say they´ve read certain classics. I do have faith that not everyone is a liar. But you can spot a book lie when having a book conversation. Words fly back and forth and then it happens.

“Oh, I´m waiting for approval on Netgalley for that one.”

( for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Publication date: 1932 )

Busted. Caught.

 

Some time after my own private book lie I found a thread on Reddit where people were trying to hold a civilized conversation on the classic literature topic.

That thread was GOLD!

Book people from all corners of the world, from all literature niches were arguing over what could be considered a classic, classic literature… and if those classics were mandatory reads. I watched the thread grow for hours. It was interesting, to say the least. Interesting because so many people have read ALL the world´s classics.

Then there was a woman. I have no idea who she was, where she came from or why she was following the thread but she was my favorite person that evening.  My bookish Hero.

“It´s not a crime if you haven´t read classic literature”

I´m not sure if that woman is still alive or if the classic literature brigade hunted her down. I hope she´s okay.

I have to agree, though. It´s truly not a crime if someone has never touched a classic book before. There´s no shame in reading modern books and believing they´re literature.

Literature in its broadest sense, is any single body of written books. Of course, the older works from long passed writers are considered to be superior because they´re… old and hold a different worth. But does that make modern literature worth less? No.

So, my question still stands.

Is there a book you´ve never read but tell people you have?

Share your secrets and lies.

Thank you for reading.

Morgana ❤