No Shame In Books
by P.E. Mari 7:00 am 6 comments
When I was younger, I was a very different reader than I am today. Today, I look for depth and read darker stories as well as fantasies. When I was younger though, I didn't want to read about problems. I wanted to dream about somewhere happy, where I could have a place.
I read a lot of books that are labelled "guilty pleasures". This can include so called "trashy" books like the cliched paranormals, and a lot of chick lit. You know, the type of books where everybody was rich and everybody was loved. The stories weren't about life changing things. Usually, they were very petty- it was about competition, jealousy, and there were often tonnes of designer brands.
Slowly, I evolved from those books. At some point, I had read every single Poppy book in existence, from Gossip Girl to the A-List, to Secrets of My Hollywood Life. I don't know what happened, but somehow I did a complete 180 and grew tired of those books.
Now, years later, when I look back at what I read as a tween, for some reason I feel a little embarrassed. These books were by no means classic. They weren't impactful or with exceptional writing. They were frankly, entertainment. And in some way, I feel a little embarrassed when I think of having read them, and other books like Twilight. Why was I so taken with something that was obviously unhealthy for me?
It was unhealthy. No, really. As if I'm not already an extremely competitive person. The books themselves were completely blameless, but I had these images of perfect and what life should be like and they were completely unrealistic. It wasn't like I needed a real book to show me reality; I needed a fantasy. Somewhere to escape to, sometimes. They were exactly what I needed, and I think they helped me a lot too. I learned pretty fast about the popularity/rumours scam, and my life has been very drama free maybe because I saw all the mistakes being made in those books and vowed never to make them myself.
The biggest issue I still have is why do I feel embarrassed for that? Why should I ever feel embarrassed for reading a book?
When I was younger, I used to read Warriors, this epic series about tribes of cats. It sounds a little out there, but I swear, it was brilliant. These books were both thrilling and heartbreaking. At some point, the quality of the series dropped a little and so my biggest memory of them is a conversation I had with my older cousin.
To this day, I have never felt embarrassed about the cats, but again, why should anyone ever be embarrassed for reading?
There's a lot of snobbery that exists. I've heard stories of twenty-somethings being looked badly upon for reading YA. Hell, one of my friends even thinks YA is nothing but shallow romances. And these people are totally misinformed, but in a way it's hard to ignore them. I don't read classics, and I feel in some way I will be judged for that. Like, I'm supposed to be a bookworm so doesn't it make sense that I'd read the 'best' writing?
When I really think about it, I realize how wrong it is to be embarrassed for having read any book. Who gets to judge what book is classy and what isn't? Shouldn't I just read books based on what I like? At the end of the day, I read books based on my tastes for my own reasons, not so and so's reasons. So screw feeling guilty.
Don't. I know this problem also stems with me, because I can be an arrogant person, but I swear I'll try to stop it. We're allowed to have our own tastes, and I can't control if I don't like something, but I think the fact that someone is reading a book they enjoy should be encouraged, regardless of what it is.
Like people always say, insult the content, not the reader.