The New Year posts of other bloggers are always interesting. Sometimes they’re inspiring, sometimes they’re good for a little schadenfreude, and sometimes they’re just appalling in a “I can’t believe they’re into that” kind of way.
I’ve discovered, while looking at these other bloggers and their reading lists, that I have become a Book Snob.
I’m not sure how this happened, since I grew up on a steady diet of genre literature. Take a look at my Goodreads account– it’s chock full of mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and even (gasp!) romances. I’ve read all kinds of dreadful crap and loved every minute of it. I have a picture of myself somewhere, as a hugely pregnant 19 year old, with a thriller novel in my hand and a vague “Why are you photographing me, I am reading” expression on my face. I have read more sleazy novels than I care to remember. In fact, I only recently gave away my copies of the Clan of the Cave Bear novels. I didn’t want the kids to read them and their barely-disguised p0rn elements.
Yet here I am, looking at other people’s reading lists and feeling a sneer building upon my lips. Sneering at other people’s reading tastes? How . . . snotty. Snobbish. How HIPSTER. Ugh . . . I have succumbed to book snobbery, and at such a late age, too.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been reading the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels list. After so much suffering, I feel a little disdainful of light reading. I’ve made it through a James Joyce novel, for goodness’ sake. Do you know how painful that was? How can anyone compare reading a 50 page e-book to reading 200 pages of Joyce? It’s like comparing a flu shot with dental surgery.
Goodreads tallies them up the same, however, so Joyce is worth one “point” just as a little book of household tips is worth one “point.” I read a lot of little nonfiction books, but I usually don’t even bother entering them into Goodreads. It’s more trouble than it’s worth . . . and I don’t want “How to Organize Your Kitchen” to be cluttering up my list of Faulkner and Nabokov and Hemingway. So snobbish I have become . . . .
I must try to combat this late-sprung snobbery, however, and I can only combat it in the ways I know how– by reading more non-snobbish books. So I’ve put an ample number in my Goodreads goal for the year– 52 spots for those high-falutin novels that I have to struggle through with sweat on my brow and curses upon my lips … and 52 spots for novels and nonfiction that I read simply for enjoyment. I think it’s a fair trade. And if some of those books are somehow “unworthy” to be counted the same as a classic of Western literature, well, who’s counting? (Besides me) Maybe home organization tips and quickly-outdated soft science books deserve their own kind of a tally, a tally of the boundless hope we bring to the world when we aim to improve ourselves or expand our knowledge.
I’ll try to remember to add ALL of the books that I read to my Goodreads account, too. Okay, so maybe I didn’t want everyone to know that I read a lot of silly books. Maybe I wanted to seem erudite and well-read. But that’s just vanity, isn’t it? It’s the same as showing off your fine new car or your fancy shoes. Unbecoming, to say the least, and probably a sin to boot.
So here’s to beating back book snobbery, one fluffy novel at a time. Goodness knows, I’m writing light novels. I should let my love of them show! 🙂