The other day when I was (somewhat) spasticly searching my local bookstore for a copy of Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” I noticed something that not only saddened me but also pissed me off. (If I’m to be blunt about it.)
As I walked around (pulling a multitude of books off the shelf that I didn’t need but had to have) I saw a woman (maybe 25ish if I had to guess) shuffling up and down the aisles (much like myself) with a book in her hand. The first couple of times I passed her I took little notice of what she was actually doing. I was on a mission after all and I would not be deterred, but by the fourth or fifth time something caught my attention. Each time I would pass her (or in most cases get within 10 feet of her) she would quickly lift the book to her chest and scamper off to another area. I’ll be honest, at first I thought she was just super skittish, or that my horns were showing again, but after a few more investigative appearances (at which point I’m sure I embodied full on stalker qualities) I realized the problem wasn’t me…it was the book she was skimming. She was embarrassed to be seen with it. At that point I left her alone. Having a restraining order filed against me is not my idea of a good time, but it got me thinking…
Why are we embarrassed by our literary choices?
Are we so judgmental of each other that we don’t feel comfortable reading what we like in the presence of others?
Is there a secret society of book police that will plaster your face in shame across social media for liking something that wasn’t written a century ago?
Please explain it to me because I just don’t understand!
Why do we hide what we enjoy instead of sharing it with others?
The most beautiful thing about the human race is that we are all different. If we were the same, life would be incredibly boring. We all enjoy different things, especially when it comes to books. So why are we sometimes afraid to let people see what we are reading? I am the last person who is going to judge anyone when it comes to literature. Hell, my library looks like it’s curated by a schizophrenic. Literary fiction, horror, YA, historical romance, middle grade fart joke books, you name it…I’ve got it. And I’m proud of each and every one of them. With the exception of the occasional “sorry for the mess” I don’t apologize for my books before I lead people into my personal Mecca. Instead I spread my arms wide and say “Happy Hunting!”
Yes, I have some books with some fairly risque covers. Some bursting bosoms, sweaty kilted Scotsmen, and flesh dripping zombies (which might cause a few of my church friends to turn red in the cheeks) but again…I don’t care. Because they are just BOOKS! They don’t define me as a person. They only define how I like to spend a fraction of my free time, and even THAT is no big deal.
So what…you are an adult who likes to read YA. Welcome to a very large crowd.
So what…you enjoy the swoony women of Regency romance. Have you ever heard of the RT convention?
So what…you enjoy obscure literature that none of your friends have never even heard of. I bet there are a few thousand Facebookers out there who would like to have a conversation with you.
Whatever it is you enjoy reading…ENJOY it! Don’t let someone make you feel like you are reading the wrong thing. There is no “Life” required reading list. There is only a “You” required list.
It is YOUR party, read what you want to. Proudly.