Random Musings

Let Them Read

This might be a tad bit of an awkward post, considering I’m definitely going to make a confession during the middle of it, but it’s something that’s been on my brain for a while now, after randomly reading a tweet about it (and I can’t remember where the tweet came from or what it said, unfortunately). But basically, the underlying message is this:

Let them read.

Them is anybody and everybody. Read what, you might ask? The simple answer is: whatever they damn while like and perhaps without the judgment, to boot, yeah? Let’s stop shaming people for wanting to read YA because they aren’t “real books”. Or fantasy because it’s not “real literature”. Whatever the genre, age range or type of book, there is probably someone out there bashing those who love to read it. Hell, it can come down even to a specific book.

Now, full disclosure, this is something I need to work on, too. I definitely used to make fun of people who read Twilight and enjoyed it. When reading regency romances, I called them my “guilty pleasures” and used to actually be ashamed that I read them and loved them as much as I did (and still absolutely do), refusing to purchase any, only checking them out from the library and even not writing reviews over them, because I didn’t want others to think of me as “less of a reader/writer” because I’m addicted to sitting down on a Friday night and devouring a good, smutty regency romance in one sitting (the steamier it gets, the more likely I won’t put it down until I reach the end). Even when I did start writing reviews, I used to clarify and make very clear that these were my guilty pleasures and not the only thing I read.

I know, right?

Bullshit.

I’m quite ashamed by that, to be completely honest. It took me a couple years to grow up, honestly, and realize how ignorant and incorrect that opinion is; how you should never judge someone on their choice of book or genre or even if they read or not. Instead, you should be championing the books you both love or celebrating the differences in opinion, capitalizing on the chance to learn about a new genre, series or author that differs from your usual wheelhouse through someone who that is their jam.

I am actively reminding myself of this and working on not being judgmental of others’ book choices and I wish more people would try to do the same. Granted, I’m not saying you need to bury your own opinions about the books you’re reading. You don’t have to love every genre. Though I’ll adore a historical or regency romance, I have almost zero interest in contemporary romances. But that shouldn’t mean I judge those who love them. Likewise when I read a book, I shouldn’t be afraid to voice my real opinion about it, why I truly loved or hated it, backed up with the rationale behind those emotions/opinions. But, if someone else loves a book I hate, I shouldn’t automatically think of them as less or their opinion invalid or wrong.

I’m not sure why this is has been sitting with me so much lately, but it really has. No one should ever feel ashamed to like what they like, especially in the book community. It’s one of the most welcoming communities I know/am a part of and I hate that we are creating disconnect within ourselves in this regard, by shunning people for liking something that has brought us all together: books.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at: a bookworm who loves fantasy of all kinds (but especially epic and urban), slowly getting into sci-fi (usually the lighter, the better), but also enjoys the occasional thriller, mystery or historical fiction, while devouring regency, fantasy and steampunk romances in one sitting (the steamier, the better). I’m not ashamed at all of my passion for these genres, because they help me escape the world and bring me joy in a way nothing else can. I’m also a bookworm who used to be a little too judgmental of others choices, but I’m working to change that, too.

Cheers.

PS: Shameless plug moment, but over at Erlebnisse, by book review blog, I recently participated in a weekly meme, Top Ten Tuesday, where the theme was highlighting ten bookish bloggers people should know. Full transparency, the post didn’t reach as many people as I hoped (and I was hoping it’d reach a lot, because I highlighted some really fantastic bloggers who I’m hoping can be a little more well known), so I’m linking it here, in case anyone wants to take a look! Please read it here.

8 thoughts on “Let Them Read”

  1. Not being ashamed of what you read definitely takes practice, especially when there are people who think they are better than others because of the books they pick up. It’s not even the shame that might keep you from sharing, but the feedback you receive. I’m glad you are taking a strong stance, not just for yourself but for all those who are made to feel bad for what they read.

    1. Thank you, Alicia! You’re totally right! Now that I’ve really stopped to look at it, it’s mind blowing how negative a reception can be over someone’s reading preferences and it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  2. Hear! Hear! I’m so sick of being judged for liking Fast and the Furious movies. I know this was about books, but I’m always apologizing for liking those movies and qualifying it. Why can’t we just like what we like? If you don’t like it fine, that’s cool, but don’t discount me or make me feel less than just because I do.

    So I’m with ya on this! Stop judging people reading by the covers!

    1. Oh gosh, yeah, I could go on and on and on about other mediums, not just books! The amount of judgment people receive is mind-blowing and honestly, completely unnecessary. Hopefully we can lessen that kind of reception in general in the future!

  3. *Smacks head* I’m an idiot. How am I just discovering that you have a book review blog?! I’ll be stalking through all your posts later today. 😀

    And so much YES to this post!! I get so sad when people tell me that they feel guilty about liking a particular genre (usually romance), and angry, because other people have made them feel that way.

    So yeah, love what you love and all that jazz. 🙂

    1. Oh Kathy, thank you so much for following and checking my book review blog out! It’s prolly because running two separate blogs instead of one is a bit weird (and I’m always debating whether I should combine the two) but thank you for checking it out!

      I have found it most common with romance and with YA, of all things. It is really sad (and aggravating, you’re totally right) and I *hate* that I used to act the same way! Now, I’m just trying to create as welcoming and open a space as I can in my corner of the internet.

      That should be a shirt, honestly. It’s so applicable to so many things. 😉

  4. I’m okay with people reading what they want, because if they love something that’s cool, but I get pretty opinionated about the things I don’t like, Twilight being one of them! (I couldn’t get past the first few pages, but I never review anything I DNF!)
    I saw that same Twitter post I think, or something similar, which listed fanfiction as a perfectly okay read. I read a lot of it these days, especially romances between characters which never happened in the shows or original books, but who had so much chemistry! It’s fun, but so few people respect it.

    1. I think there is a difference, however, between being opinionated highly over something you didn’t like and being able to explain why and then judging someone as lesser when they have a different opinion. For me, I used to fear as being judged as lesser for my love of romance novels, which is why I hid them for so long. But I think writing a review and being like, “I think this book sucked and here’s why” is totally fine. It sucks that people have that same sort of mentality towards fanfiction, though! I don’t read it (mostly because I just run out of time) but I know it is AWESOME and why people have to pick on others who enjoy it is beyond me.

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