So, not too long ago I read an article that basically amounted to saying that E-books are driven by "Downmarket" genre fiction. By downmarket she means all fiction that aren't highbrow, prize-winning or classic literature.
Of course, the article raised a lot of heckles and the poor soul who wrote that article came under fire from readers everywhere.
It seems that there is an inherent snobbishness that exists amongst people, which results in many readers being ashamed of admitting that they love reading books that fall in any other category besides intellectual tomes.
We posed the following questions to our readers: Are you a book snob? Have you ever been made to feel bad about what you're reading? And do you hide what you read so that people don't judge you?
Here are some of their thoughts and responses:
For the love of prize-winning literature
Hmmmm. Maybe I am a book snob, but I honestly DO enjoy the prize winning variety more than any other. Most of the time anyway.
Occasionally I will read, and even enjoy, something more ‘lowbrow’ (apologies!) but most of the time when I do I just get annoyed with the naïve style / transparent plot / bad writing, etc.
Nothing wrong with the young adult genre for an adult, though; as long as it is well written! I have read some beautiful YA books, and I am double your age, Tammy!
(It should be noted here that I confessed to being a huge fan of Young Adult literature)
Hiding the self-help reads
I will admit to hiding ridiculous self-help books in the TV cabinet when I hit the dating scene after a miserable breakup. One has no choice, unless you want to be branded as a bunny-in-the-pot type and never get that call for a second date.
I thought buying a copy of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum some years ago was rather suave. However, take your review of A S Byatt’s book, treble the intricacies, explanations and scientific diatribe by three and you’d still not know what the hell is potting in Foucault’s Pendulum. Well, I certainly didn’t. It was just way too academic to enjoy.
For the rest, I at times buy books that are causing a hype in the media – only to realise that the hype is about as overrated as a US box office hit that is yet to screen at local cinemas. By the time it reaches us, our expectations are so ridiculously high, that we are left feeling pangs of after-matric-ball disappointed. I think this ring true of books due to the fact one’s taste in literature differs from that of the next person. It’s much like a cat – a very personal pet.
The sexist book snob
Never mind book snobs what about Sexist Book Snobs?
A friend of mine at our monthly book club gathering listened with great interest while I read the back page of my latest purchase. “Oh that sounds right up my Dad’s alley” she said. “Please may I borrow it for him?”
Obviously, I had no problem and duly handed over the book. Instant shock and horror on her face when she saw the author. “But this is a woman!” she cried. And the problem is ….??? Well, apparently, her father is of the opinion that women can’t write good literature and that we’re only good for (and I quote) “the fluff stuff!”
Well, eclectic reader that I am, I CERTAINLY would debate that. I do agree that women can tune-in to their lighter side AND make a decent living of it, but what about our Austens, Brontes, Kellerman, Eliot et al? Do they not warrant a mention? Grrr!
Sexist book snobs are the worst!
It's all a matter of personal taste
I think being a book snob is subjective - if you want the world only to see you reading highly intellectual/ thought-provoking works - fine by me. That is why there are so many choices out there! To cater for everyone's needs.
In my case, my work is challenging. Even my personal live can be challenging with a toddler pushing 2.
My (maybe-not-so) secret indulgence is a "mindless" chicklit fiction novel. (You said trashy in your newsletter - I say tomato, you say tomatoh). I can lose myself in a novel where you can kind of predict the end (they always end up together) with a couple of unexpected twists and turns and maybe a good couple of laughs as well.
When I tell people this is my genre of choice I always try to describe it in the light of a Bridget Jones diary set up (but in some cases even that may be more elegant).
The point is chicklit works for me, for now. I have gone through phases where I though Harry Potter, Twilight and the Girl with the dragon tattoo series were the best books EVER but often I have lost myself equally in books by authors I have never even heard about.
Lastly, my new rule (with the compliments of samples from Amazon via my Kindle) is the one chapter rule. If after one chapter I am not engaged or curious or entertained by the writing style, I will stop reading and move on. Life is too short to "battle" through a book. There are so many out there waiting to be read and I am moving on eagerly to meet my latest Prince Charming.
I hide what I love reading most
I love young adult, historical romance, Twilight, Hunger games, horror and even paranormal romance. And yes, I do hide it.
My husband would only consider looking at a book if it is non-fiction and I have friends who come over and look at my bookshelf and say they also only read non-fiction. I am almost made to feel "down there" intellectually because I enjoy those books.
Don't get me wrong, I also read non-fiction and other more highly acclaimed books. The difference is I read books I want to read and because it catches my attention. Not because it won some prize. I wish I could just say stuff it but I find it very difficult :)
Are you a book snob? Or do you secretly hide what you read to avoid having people make you feel bad about your genre preferences? Share your thoughts with us below.