Confession: I Am Not A Book Snob
Everything I am, everything I will be, can be traced back to books. Whether I learned it in a book or I got the idea while reading a book, or when I decided to write one.
I am not a literary snob. I would love to be one, but I just can’t.
I’ve read most of the classics, whether in school, at someone’s recommendation, and because for a while, I thought I just “should.”
“Gone With the Wind” and “Pride and Prejudice” are lovely, Homer’s “Odyssey” is certainly epic, and “War and Peace” was often tedious for me. But these aren’t the books I read for fun or for escape.
However, “Little Women,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Animal Farm,” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” kept my rapt attention for hours.
I read “The Secret Garden” over again, feeling terrible for poor Mary Lennox. I reread the “Anne of Green Gables” series every few years, watching Anne grow up, wishing to visit P.E. Island, and rooting, every time, for her and Gilbert. I read “The Giver” quartet again, and think about what life would be like with no deep emotions. I read “1984” and see only parallels.
But the weighty tomes of ancient history, the heavy burden of war, the intrinsic narcissism of an autobiography (unless comedy writers!), I often don’t enjoy with the same abandon, and I have figured out why.
I read the news every day, either from my phone while still laying in bed or on the computer as I start my work day.
I am not reading the news for fun, I’m reading it to learn, to stay informed, to be a contributing member of society who is at leas tangentially aware of major world and country events and issues.
Books and reading, for me, is an entertaining escape from life. I might be off on a pirate adventure, deep in the midst of a space battle, at war in another country, on a stroll down a quiet English lane, or falling in love with the handsome prince.
For this reason, I find it difficult to sit down and read a lot of nonfiction. When it comes to learning about a topic or diving deeper into writing standards and best practices, I prefer to do this in the short-form content of online articles, wikis, and how-to tutorials.
When I curl up with my coffee, tucking my bare feet bn eneath me in my favorite gray armchair next to the eastern window, as sunlight pours over me or as rain plinks against the window, I am reading for fun.
I LOVE READING. I love it. I was the kid who would tuck a book in my lap and read in class, the way kids now will text under their desks.
When my mother wanted to punish me, she couldn’t simply send me to my room, as that is where my books lived. She would physically take away the book I was reading, which crushed me.
If I am a passenger in a vehicle, I’m either reading or asleep.
I love reading because it gives me a way to feed my imagination, build my creativity, see whole new worlds through the eyes and words of another.
I am absolutely dumbfounded and flabbergasted when people say they “don’t read” or “hate to read.” How is that possible? With the millions of stories and billions of characters, the endless supply of different topics and stories, there is no way you hate to you.
Perhaps you simply haven’t read something you love, yet. My nephew “didn’t like to read” until he got some Batman and other superhero books, then suddenly he couldn’t put down the books long enough to cram a PB&J in his tiny face.
My love of books has given me many things: an affinity for a beautiful turn of phrase, a vocabulary beyond my years when I was a child, adventures I dream about, and later, my love of writing.
But a book snob, I am not. I like John Scalzi and B.V. Larson, L.M. Montgomery, Judy Blume, Ann Aguirre, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, JK Rowling, and more!
I won’t read something JUST because it’s a ‘classic,’ just as I won’t not read one for the same reason. Good books are good books, and though ‘good’ can be somewhat quantified when it comes to books, what YOU enjoy, what YOU love about books is up to you.
So, I am not here to judge. Read whatever you want, from fanfiction to trashy romance to fairy tales to spacefacing sci-fi adventures to the classics.
As long as you enjoy it, then I’m happy.
Like I said, I wish I could be a book snob. It would be so fun to sip tea, with my pinky out, staring disdainfully down, beyond the point of my oh-so-patrician nose, and discuss only highbrow things and fancy books.
But alas, I love reading anything that will take me on an adventure.
What do you love to read?