RANT: “Why Are You Reading That?”

RANT: “Why Are You Reading That?”

Have you ever been reading in public and ashamed of what you’re reading? Do you ever take off the cover of a hardback so no one can see? I do. Or felt the need to justify to someone why you are reading a particular book? I have.  

“Oh, I am just reading Percy Jackson for nostalgia purposes. I promise they are actually really good. It’s just for fun”

Why do we feel the need to do this? I know that, for me, it is because I have been judged in the past for what I read. I have been told that the book that I am reading is, “too young for you” “the cover looks lame” “that’s not REAL literature” … and so many other opinions that are judgemental and unnecessary. It has never made sense to me that one book has more validation to be read than another. When asked what my favourite book is, my immediate reaction is to name one of the very few “classics” that I have read. As much as I do love Pride and Prejudice, I don’t find that it has any more merit asa  “good” piece of literature more than Fangirl. There are books for everyone, and each one is important.

People will argue that novels with more symbolism and foreshadowing and irony and all that, will be more important and influential pieces of literature than ones that are “just for fun”. I have learned so many important lessons from middle grade and young adult novels that would not be considered “well written literature” by scholars, and I have read “important” works of literature that I learned nothing from, in fact thinking they were bat shit crazy. What makes the classic coming of age story, Catcher in the Rye, a more validated read than Harry Potter and The Philospher’s Stone ? Maybe the reason lies with the realism, but what a person chooses to learn from a novel should be more important than the view of how influential the book is to the masses.

As a 20- year old, I teeter on the edge between Young Adult and Adult literature. Novels are classified into age categories generally based on the ages of the protagonists but have been mistakingly classified as the age of the reader. When I read Young Adult fiction, I may or may not be close in age with the protagonist of the story, but it rarely matters to me. I can still relate to the character if they are younger because I, at one point, was at that age and can still learn things from those younger than me. Because I lay in the middle of the road where I may or may not be the same age as YA characters or adult characters, I have been getting more and more judgement for the books that I read.

You read “Those type” of books people say, with their noses turned up and contempt dripping from their eyes. YES! I DO! I don’t want to be ashamed of what I am reading, I don’t want readers feeling superior to other readers, I don’t want anyone to hide what they love. No one should have to hide what they love, no one should feel bad they they want to read about faeries at the age of 20 or 35 or 80, because IT DOES NOT MATTER. why people feel the need to stick their noses into things that don’t concern them is beyond me, what my reading of a young adult contemporary or someones reading of a harlequin novel has to do with anyone else does not make sense to me.  If a man at the age of 30 wants to read The Hunger Games… so what? Everyone should be able to read what ever they want and no one should judge people for reading.

I love reading. I can love Percy Jackson and also love Outlander. I can love cute high school contemporaries and also violent epic fantasies. I ca love a silly and fun book and also one that contains deep meaning.

Never let anyone tell you that what you are reading it stupid or silly or unimportant. You have a right to love what you love. Don’t cover up those covers or justify to others that your book has worth, because it does. and if you are one of those people that judges people for what they read… WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU…  just , don’t. Let people be what they want to be, it is no consequence to you. literally, NEVER judge a book by its cover, and NEVER EVER judge a reader by their book.

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