Why the Reading Snobbery:Writer’s Quote Wednesday

In debates about the value of reading and books I have often had discussions, even arguments about the subject of the choice of reading matter. The argument against me runs something like this

Some books have more value than others.

Some writing is superior to others.
Classics are better than pot boilers.
Books are better than comics.
If one is going to read it should be a worthy book.

These are not discussions about those books which incite hatred or evil deeds. Nor about those text books which knowingly feed the reader false or even dangerous information. And books which come under censorship is a whole different discussion. These are discussions about reading for pleasure,for escapism.

Now there are many books I dislike, wouldn’t give house room to or do nothing for me. This is not because they are bad books but because I personally don’t care for them.

S0, why is it considered ‘good’ reading to tuck oneself up with a classic but people are made to feel slightly apologetic to do the same with a bodice ripper romance.

Why should one genre be deemed superior to another.

Why the reading snobbery?

It is good to read – in my opinion. The skill of reading enables people to navigate this literate world more easily.

It is good to read for escapism or pleasure if one wishes too. The written word can open up horizons, show alternative worlds and lifestyle. Can inform and entertain. One need never be alone if one can read. However, it is the act of reading which is good.

I am not renowned for my fashion sense, never have been – well maybe I tried back in the 60s! I dress in whatever I feel comfortable with. I extend that to life in general and so tend to read whatever I feel comfortable with, I do have a fairly catholic taste so it’s a  very  wide comfort net – occasionally I will embark on a reading challenge that leads me away from that comfort, just to ‘challenge’ me, or in the book groups I belong to I will be required to read books that I don’t normally read, and have discovered new authors and genres to add to my preferences.But this is me, I’m a bookworm an addict if you like. Others like my sister has a genre or two  at most which they feel most comfortable with, that is her.  we both gain immense enjoyment  from our different tastes.

I have read so many different types and styles of books since I first spelt out words on a Cornflake packet. Many are forgotten but more have enriched my life in some way or other.

When children learn to read the sense of magic is all around, squiggles on paper have meanings.

Adults can guide and encourage of course; but if the children are comfortable pouring over a comic what is wrong? the words are there, they are enjoying and learning at the same time.

If as they grow older they only want spies or romance, what is wrong?
If they only want erudite and mostly incomprehensible tombs (to many of us anyway) what is wrong?
Why should any of us have to read what we dislike. Schools and colleges are a different matter sometimes if we wish to learn we need to read away from our blanky:)

We should not judge others by what we read, we should applaud the fact that we can read, have access to a wider world, have a chance to live out our hopes, dreams, terrors and fears within the safety of those pages.

Each to their own.

sam johnson

This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  Writer’s Quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing.

To write one must engage with the world around. Imagination is not the everything, imagination needs feeding with experience and observation. Life is what feeds writers.




9 thoughts on “Why the Reading Snobbery:Writer’s Quote Wednesday

  1. denizb33 says:

    I agree! And debating over which book is worthy and which genre is not detracts from the joys of reading and the excitement of discovering new authors, new stories, new worlds…

  2. An excellent post! As a romance writer, I often grapple with this type of mentality, of people who think romance novels are silly or less than. I also read a lot of paranormal romance and fantasy because that’s what I write, and it’s important to read in our genre.

    But I also like to read books that challenge me to step outside of my own genre. I’ll pick up a work of historical fiction, or sci-fi, or a classic like “The Scarlet Letter” or “Great Expectations,” both of which are on my to-be-read list this year. Ultimately, I think we should read the books we want to read. We can learn something from every genre.

  3. Widdershins says:

    Probably stems from days of yore when the quantity and quality (at least of the binding) of the books in one’s library reflected one’s position is society. Completely disconnected from whether one has read them or not! :D

    • alberta says:

      There still are people like that – scattering the latest winners or must have’s around for show or decoration and how many people who bought A Brief History of Time -way back when, actually read it:)

  4. Silver Threading says:

    Good quote, Alberta. I especially like your last words about interacting with the world. Good advice! <3

  5. anne54 says:

    So true. My partner and I have very different tastes in books, but both love to curl up with our good reads.

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