With phrases such as ‘guilty pleasure’, books labelled as trashy, ebooks/audiobooks (by some) not considered reading – it seems there are certain protocols within the book community that seem to deem one book (or bookworm) better than another.
So I wanted to talk about that a little today (briefly touched on it in this post too) – because what makes one reader better than another? Or one book better quality than another?
I’ve noticed that there seem to be certain books or readers that read these books that are seen and stereotyped more often than not.
One book genre that seems to be disregarded more than any other is romance. Particularly the more explicit ones (Fifty Shades, looking at you). They’re probably the books labelled as ‘trashy’ and ‘guilty pleasures’ the most, but why are some people ashamed of reading them? And why are they labelled trashy? I know sometimes the writing is called out as not being the best, and they can be considered a little cliché – but does that mean they’re better books? How can you measure something that’s personal preference?
Middle grade books
Specifically, adults reading middle grade books. This is definitely one that I see quite a lot too – especially in middle grade recommendation posts/reviews. Adults reading books that are not adult (or at least YA) is often considered as ‘weird’ and is often questioned. But again?? Is there really anything wrong with reading a book you enjoy just because it’s not aimed at your target demographic? Look at Harry Potter – originally categorized and aimed at middle grade/9-12 years old. But is now one loved and enjoyed by everyone of all ages, not just children! I’d even go as far as to say that now, there are more adults reading HP than the original demographic, as people have grown up with the books.
The theme of 2018 and 2019 seems to be hard hitting books – are there that many ‘fluffy’ books being released at the moment? A lot of them seem to be focused on messages and morals, and sharing important themes within the novel – which is super important!! But at the same time, I know a lot of readers who tend to shy away from reading these types of books for various reasons, but does that really make you any less of a reader? I myself find that sometimes, a fluffy book is exactly what I want! If I’ve had a long day at school or I’m feeling stressed, reading a hard hitting book that’s difficult to read isn’t always what I’m looking for – and that’s perfectly okay!! Although it is important to read these books and these messages, we aren’t always in the right head space to read ‘heavier’ books, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.
Then, there are the things that we aren’t always doing – which some people believe makes you a worse bookworm/reader.
Not analysing books
Ignoring the ‘should you write in your books’ debate, which is a whole other discussion in itself, there can be the misconception that to be a proper reader you have to analyse your books. Highlighting favourite quotes, making a note of the significance of this adjective, or this event happening. Why did Dickens use the extended metaphor of the fire? What is the significance of Romeo using oxymoron, ‘O brawling love, O loving hate’ (knew the english lit GCSE would come in handy x). But it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a reader just because you don’t tend to analyse or annotate -sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the book as the book.
Classics being a no-go
I admit, I personally do love classics (Olivia @ Purely Olivia wrote a fab post on why we should read them) and so I would recommend them! But classics are not for everyone, in fact not all classics are for everyone. There are some classics I love (Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre), and some that really don’t appeal to me and it’s likely I’ll never read (like Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick, Dracula). So it’s okay if you don’t want to read classics or don’t enjoy them – it doesn’t make you any less of a reader, or the books you read any less quality!
So, in conclusion. YOU AREN’T ANY LESS OF A READER FOR ENJOYING (OR NOT) CERTAIN BOOKS. Reading is for enjoyment, so you should read whatever you want! Why force yourself through a classic/adult/non-fluffy non-romance etc book that you’re bored about and doesn’t really benefit you just because you feel like you should? Books at the end of the day are for entertainment and leisure purposes. Reading shouldn’t be a chore at the end of the day, and it doesn’t make you any worse of a bookworm for choosing to read certain books over others!
I’m not really sure what the purpose of this post was in all honesty but I wanted to address a few things I’ve seen said about these genres etc and how certain books are not necessarily better than others! It’s all personal preference at the end of the day!