The plethora of options available to today’s readers is amazing and continuously growing. The more inclusive the medium, the more inclusive the bookish community should be. Bookish snobbery is elitism and there is no room for it in the book community. At least, that’s how I think it should be, and here’s why you should too.
Read What You Want – There Are So Many Genres
The idea that one needs to read and appreciate the classics to be “well read.”. Read classics or contemporary, or if you’re like me, an eclectic mix of everything. I’ve met plenty of “well-read” readers who thought the monster was the villain in Shelley’s Frankenstein. If you haven’t read it yet, or you’ve only watched the horrendous adaptations, the title tells you who the true evil is. Whether you prefer to pick up a romance over literary fiction or fantasy over non-fiction your choices of reading material do not lessen your bookish cred. Genres exist because there are people who want to read them. Forcing one above another was the cause of the term “guilty pleasure” and forces people to feel like they have to hide their reading choices. “Classics” were not always looked upon with the reverence that they are today, and the books some are looking down on from the contemporary era might one day be the classics of the future.
For all my fellow English and Lit majors out there who feel their degrees give them a leg up on the rest of the bookish community: I beg you to remember that the majority of literature picked for anthologies and classroom instruction was by people who intentionally ignore masterpieces by women and people of color. The amount of literature lost to history because some privileged man in a dark and gloomy library decided certain writers’ works were not worth their time due to their sex or race is heartbreaking. One can love the classics without pushing an agenda that oppresses others.
Click here for a list of books by POC writers that should be promoted more. Here is a list of books written by women that deserve more attention.
Reading is Reading. Period.
The argument that listening to an audiobook is not the same as reading the book is true in only one regard and only part of the time. It’s true the eyes are not physically reading individual words on a page or screen. At least if they’re not following along with the ebook or physical copy at the same time. Listening to the book gave that reader just as much enjoyment from it as reading it did for you. The author’s work was not diminished by the readers listening to it. So why make that person feel as if their chosen medium is lesser than yours?
Privilege plays a part in this argument, and it’s called ableism. Books in braille, for those who are blind or have limited sight, take up too much space and are extremely expensive, not to mention not widely available. Dyslexia and visual motor deficits are just two disabilities that some readers struggle with. Audiobooks make reading more accessible to these groups of people. There is no need to tear them down just because you were able to do what they are not.
Paper Vs Digital – There Is No Contest
I am guilty of loving a good old-fashioned heavy book in my hands, if for nothing else the smell and nostalgia. However, I am an avid ebook reader, as well. My Kindle Library is six times the size of my personal hard copy library. After collecting for almost 25 years, I’m halfway to owning an “official” library. I use to never leave my home without a book in my purse or my kid’s diaper bag. There’s bound to be some downtime while I’m out where I am able to whip out my latest read and immerse myself in the pages. With the arrival of the ebook, I liberated space, and my back, from the heavy burden of carrying around one if not two books.
The gluttony with which I buy and hoard books is insane. But space is limited, so I buy or borrow ebooks. Buying only the physical books I absolutely loved (at least that’s what I tell my husband) to add to my trophy shelf. And if I loved it enough, an audio copy, too. eBooks are also cheaper, which makes them more accessible to those who have a low income or who are savings savvy. On average, you can buy 3-5 ebooks for the prince of 1 physical book. Another great attribute, if I finish a book, I can immediately download another and continue my happy bibliophile ways.
There is no room in the bookish community for snobbery. Looking down on someone for what or how they consume books says more about you than it does about them. The bookish community is one of solidarity and inclusivity. It’s ok to have your preferences, but don’t make someone feel bad about theirs.
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