Today I decided to do a discussion post on something that I think is really important, both generally and in the online book community and that is the issue of book snobbery.
Book snobbery isn’t a new thing by any means, but it’s a continuing issue that just doesn’t seem to go away and I really don’t like it. I have been blogging for nearly two years now, I’ve just started YouTube and I absolutely love being in the book blogger/vlogger community. I have had an almost universally positive experience with bloggers/vloggers & I love writing posts and making videos.
But, for some reason book snobbery really annoys me. Nobody is innocent of book snobbery – I really didn’t enjoy Twilight, and when I was thirteen I had a very low opinion of those who rated it above Harry Potter. This ‘looking down my nose’ at Twilight fans makes me cringe now. I have the right not to enjoy the books, but I have absolutely NO right to judge others for enjoying them.
Book snobbery takes a lot of forms. There are those who judge people for reading YA when they are adults, those who judge people who read classics, who only read fantasy and historical fiction and so on and so on.
Essentially what happens when somebody sees that you are reading a book/genre that they maybe didn’t/don’t enjoy and decides to judge you for it, is that you feel the smallest, most inconsequential person in the world. It’s not a good feeling. The book that you are enjoying suddenly feels worthless and unimportant and you suddenly feel pressure to read something else, something more worthy of being read.
When you judge someone for reading a book, you completely devalue their reading experience. You make them feel ashamed for enjoying that book/genre and that is wrong.
What I think adds to this is that as a society we are reading less. Children, instead of reading under the duvet with a torch, are playing video games, watching TV, doing other things. So for a person to be reading, and to be enjoying a book – that is something to be celebrated rather then judged – whether they are reading Dickens or Fifty Shades.
This is kind of a personal subject for me because my sister has Dyslexia and Aspergers Syndrome. She has always struggled to read, but lately has started to read and enjoy graphic novels. She has been told by people that her reading does not count and that graphic novels aren’t real books.
This infuriates me. I could almost see the reading confidence she’d built up drop right back out of her. It was heartbreaking and horrible and it inspired me to write this post.
So DON’T judge people because they are obsessed with YA and you think Classic Novels trump YA every time.
DON’T look down upon people who adore fantasy because you think that contemporary rocks.
And DON’T tell people that what they are reading isn’t good enough or doesn’t count because you could be the reason they put down the book and give up.
This community is so great and supportive and wonderful, and people should not have to apologise for liking the books they like.
I also want to add that I have seen Book Snobbery go in every which way. People are judged for liking classics, MG, erotica etc. It is not a one way street.