There is a snobbery amongst book readers that I despise in a furious way. One I wish did not exist. One, that if I must be honest in this Sunday Confession, I used to participate in.
I, your hippie-always preaching acceptance and tolerance-people loving-give the shirt off her back-has a hard time saying no-the one who refuses to make others feel bad-Sparkly Poetic Weirdo, was a snobby, snickering book judger.
I know, I know! How cruel and foolish I was. But I, like many before me, got sucked into this sick elitist mindset that only the classics were cultural and anything else perused and appreciated was most likely trash. Ohh, the time I spent lamenting about the sad choices my friends made with their books. When they spoke of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel I shook my head in the most condescending way and asked, but did you read Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky or Rand?
Their brows would arch, their scowl would start and confusion would color their face. What did these authors have to do with the books they were reading?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
In my mind nothing new was golden. Nothing new has withstood the ages. Nothing new had merit. Sadly, new to me meant a poor regurgitation of any ideas that had come before and a sad attempt at a literary endeavor.
It started at a young age and I must confess...my mother was my enabler. I did not know I was starting down a path of rejection and was setting myself up for failures by only collecting titles and authors just to say I read them rather than reading for the pure thrill of it.
In 4th grade I was obsessed with Homer and tried to check out The Odyssey and Mrs. Manion, the school librarian who I both loved and hated, refused to let me check it out. She kept steering me towards the Babysitter's Club and Judy Blume books which I was obviously too mature for so I kept jumping for the book I truly had my eyes on. She said she needed my mother's permission so I could check it out and smugly handed over a slip my mother had to sign. When I went home with that slip and explained to my mother she wouldn't let me check out a classic my mother signed that form so fast that I swear there was steam coming off that paper. She added that any classic I wanted to check out was more than fine with her.
I brought that glorious slip back the next day handed it over, this time with a smug smile plastered on my face, while Mrs. Manion still tried to talk me into something more popular, more age appropriate, something a little lighter but no I was certain I needed it. So I got it.
I won and lost that day.
I was blinded by the aged books, the dusty jackets, the stories that many have read and idolized for many years. I fell for the cultured image and classic reads shutting out the new reads. Judging those who dared to try the new novels.
By chaining myself to the older books, to the classics, to a selection that was never ending but also not evolving or growing, I limited my imagination and only hurt myself.
And really...all the classics are not all they are cracked up to be. The Old Man And The Sea? Clockwork Orange? The Fountainhead? What the hell Rand?
Eventually something changed inside me, and thankfully so.
It pains me to admit this as a diehard Potterhead but I shunned the books for a long time. I was annoyed at the popularity and the hysteria. I refused to read them on principle. What principle you ask...I'm not sure. Idiocy seems like the logical answer.
Bear with me, this brutal part is cringeworthy, I watched the movie, unwillingly at that, before I read the book.
Ughh I know a part of me dies inside when I say that! We all know how beautiful it is to read and see the scenes unfold in our wild and free imagination before some director cuts scenes that mean so much and changes the slightest things so it could fit his image.
I watched first. But in this case it was okay, because if I had not watched I would have never read the series that I have now read many times over and fall in love with each time more and more.
Yes. I admit I am a reformed Book Snob. I love Gaiman, King, Rowling, Green and anything else that tickles my fancy. I read 50 Shades and WAY better smut books afterwards. I enjoy the silly romance novels, murder mysteries and anything about Amish people. I do not care if it is penned by a best seller, withstood the sands of time or scribbled over night.
I ask you, beg you, invite you, to not be that asshole who mocks someone else's literary choice. Whether they like Twilight or The Grapes of Wrath it is not your place to judge them. It is not your place to try to bring them 'up to a better standard'. Share what you love to read in a noncondescending way but also let your friends and family love what they love. Do not shame them. Do not mock their choices. Do not ram your suggestions down their throats. Let them read what makes them happy, what puts a smile on their face and connects with their hearts.
If it is words that speak to my soul I am reading them and not giving a damn on who judges me or what they think. Books are our escape, our fantasies, our ability to live a million lives in a lifetime.
The only classic I search for now is the classic way I enjoy a good book, hot tea and a comfy couch when I need to lose myself and find meet friends.
Today's Sunday Confession about Classic was hosted by the one and only witty writer More Than Cheese and Beer. Please do not forget to stop by her page to check out her confession and the other brave bloggers who joined in and her Facebook page to see any Sunday Confessions and her awesomeness that happens daily.