If you don’t read a certain amount of books in a certain time-frame, you’re obviously not a real book-lover. If you pick chick-lit over the classics, you’re not serious about reading. If you read young adult, you’re still a child. If you pick an e-reader over a ‘real’ book, you’re not a bookworm. If you haven’t read books X, Y, Z, you’re not well-read. Whatever your answers are, you’re not as good as me. Or, at least, that’s what the book-shamers will tell you. No matter what you read, why you read, or how often you read, there will be someone out there telling you that you’re doing it wrong.
Well, I’m sorry book-shamers, but I’m soooo not sorry! I consider myself a reader and a book-lover, and most people I know would consider me such too and yet this year, I’ve probably only managed to read 8-10 books. Does that make me inferior? A liar for suggesting I’m a serious reader when I’m quite clearly (ahem) not? Unworthy of the title ‘reader’ or ‘bookworm’? As if!
Bugger off book-shamers. If anyone’s not worthy of the title then it’s you! We’re a community, us book-lovers, and anyone who wants to put us down, who wants to divide us, or who wants to create hate for the sake it, is most definitely not welcome!
You know what annoys me most about book-shaming? There is absolutely no need for it. It’s nonsense. I suppose it’s like almost every other type of hate in that respect. What I like and what I read has no negative effect on book-shamers at all. Maybe it’s the only way that they can boost their own overwhelming sense of inferiority, or perhaps my mother was right about the nasty folk all along – they’re just jealous. Silly book-shamers.
Personally, I like to read from a variety of genres but it’s true that often, I favour fantasy
and light sci-fi. It’s true that sometimes, I go through phases of reading nothing for weeks and then go through bouts of reading a book a day. I’m not a fan of romance or chick-lit, and I tend to stay away from over-hyped bestsellers purely due to a fear of anti-climax. I enjoy YA too. I haven’t read all the classics and there are some I blatantly dislike, despite popular opinion (Charles Dickens for one, Jane Austen for another), but I have read and loved others (Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy, for example). The thing is, though – and I’ll say it again – it doesn’t matter. No-one has got the right to tell me that I’m wrong.
Reading’s a hobby, not a chore. It’s supposed to be fun! There are no rules, and the way I do it doesn’t affect the way you do it. In fact, we can do it completely differently and still say we’re enjoying the same thing – because we are! If you want to read cheesy romance, good for you. I prefer magical elves myself, and the odd historical novel – and if you can mix the two, all the better (hint hint, you authors out there).
We need to stop doing each other down for what others like to read, and we need to stop doing ourselves down too! Phrases like ‘real books’ and ‘guilty pleasures’ should be wiped from our vocabularies, because there’s no such thing – what have you got to feel guilty about anyway? And whatever you’re reading – be it Shakespeare or 50 Shades of Grey – you’re not alone. Both of those are popular because even though they are completely different, lots of people like them – some people even like both – and that’s okay.
So I’m declaring war on book-shamers. I’ll fight, tooth and nail, with anyone who says I am, or anyone else is, ‘doing it wrong’. I’ll ignore anyone who tries to lord it over me with their book choices or the amount of books they’ve read this year, and I’ll be proud of my choices. I’ll take joy in my reading and share it with the world, no matter whether I decide to read high-brow literature or pure, beach-read escapism (and yes, sometimes I like a bit of both).
Join me, won’t you?