Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly discussion feature where I tackle various book or blogging-related topics. Today I’m going to show a little self-awareness and discuss how I can sometimes be a bit of a bookish snob.
One of the first topics I wrote about for this feature was book snobbery (Kernels of Nonsense, #3: Book Snobbery) which focused on how some readers fail to recognize the relevance of young-adult or children’s literature and this often translates into “book snobbery.” But there is a different form of book snobbery. Now I don’t consider myself a book snob per se, but I have a few views that might be considered snob-ish. I’m trying to work on these because I know not everyone is the same and I can be wrong sometimes, but still, I find myself turning my nose up a little when certain topics and book discussions are brought up.
1. I’ve seen the Harry Potter movies, so I don’t need to read the books.
Now if you have no interest in reading the Harry Potter books, that’s fine. If you didn’t like the movies, that’s also okay. If you picked up the first HP book and thought “nah, not for me”…okay, that’s fine too. But don’t sit there and tell me that watching the Harry Potter movies is equivalent to reading the books. I love the movies, I’ll always have a soft spot for them, but for me Harry Potter is not the movies. Harry Potter is seven amazing books with great characters. They are years of devotion, of rushing to the store the morning of the publication dates. They are two am reading and texting my best friend to see what page she is on. They are a whirl-wind of happiness and sadness, of tissue box after tissue box and an epilogue that still moves something in me. They are the reason I love reading so much. But yes, I will try to have patience with anyone who says this to me, I’ll take a breath and try my best to respond in a calm voice, even if I find their opinion offensive.
2. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but ——
Whenever I see someone give a high rating to a book I hated or a low rating to one I love, I sit there and stew for a bit. Usually I shake my head and move on if it’s the former, but the latter scenario usually elicits a different kind of response from me. Are you kidding me? You don’t understand anything! What is wrong with you? Why can’t you see how wonderful this book is? What do you mean he was a boring character? Do you not see how complex this is? It’s very dramatic, but it takes place in my head, so it’s kind of okay. I’m trying to be better at this, but it’s so easy to judge other people for not appreciating the books you love.
3. Books aren’t for everyone.
Oh boy, I’ve tried really hard to agree with this opinion. But I just can’t. Maybe it’s because my love of books borders on the irrational. Maybe it’s because I understand that there’s a wide range of books out there and therefore, believe there is something of interest for everyone. I also happen to think that books are one of those rare things that has the power to resonate across different cultures and time periods. Much like music has the ability to speak to people on a universal level, I believe books also offer a similar shared experience. I don’t necessarily think I’m better than you for believing this, but I do think I’m right.
4. Books are obsolete.
This kind of comment can take on many forms. From telling you that physical books will soon disappear because of the popularity of ebooks to telling you that reading is no longer a relevant pass time, I’ve heard this many times. Now, my reaction might actually be my own fear speaking. I refuse to entertain the thought of a world where I have to reach for my tablet to read a book instead of my bookshelf or a world where libraries and bookstores no longer exist. Now being part of the book blogging community, it’s difficult to imagine people refusing to read, the thought actually disgusts me a little. I understand that we’re in a digital age, one in which we are fed images left and right, but to say that this form of new media (youtube, twitter, instagram) can replace reading, is an insult.
5. Reading is boring.
You’re boring! Sorry, my inner eight-year old took over for a moment. I’ve heard this so many times, I’m almost unfazed by it. In a way I do think this is part of the reason some people believe “books aren’t for everyone.” Guess what? Reading one book does not give you insight into every book. Reading a boring book does not mean they are all boring, it just means you picked up the wrong one for your particular tastes (it can also mean that it was just a bad book). What’s boring about murder and dragons and magic and general mayhem? Out of all of these, this is the one that generally elicits a silent response from me, usually in the form of an eye-roll.
Now be honest, are you a little bit of a bookish snob too? What kind of things have you rolling your eyes? Share your thoughts in the comments!