Silly movie lover! The book is always better than the movie. Stupid reader! How can you possibly read (and enjoy) that blasphemous ebook? Quit wasting your time rereading and discover new authors! It’s your duty! Did you know you’re reading the wrong books? What? You like genre fiction? Embarrassing! The publishing industry is going to hell! You must singlehandedly save it!
Yeah. These are the messages gleaned from roughly two seconds of scanning book-related news this morning.
You guys: I am so over book guilt.
Remember back in the day when there wasn’t really an Internet and there wasn’t really a way to tell what other people read and enjoyed? On the one hand, it was a dark age. We couldn’t find our people. The bookworms among us were lonely pariahs, appreciated only by English teachers and the occasional nerdy friend. But there was an upside—fewer chances to shame people for their reading choices. Fewer ways to declaim their reading habits as all wrong, really. Fewer must-read lists, don’t-ever-read lists, and finger-wagging “experts” telling us how to enjoy our books. I’m no Luddite (in fact, I adore ebooks and use them extensively, both for my research and my fun reading). It just bums me out to see people using this amazing, connective, powerful Internet tool to crap all over one another. (Notable exceptions, like the #WeNeedDiverseBooksBecause campaign, make me smile.)
How about we just celebrate…reading? How about we show off our book selections (or rejections) with pride, knowing that though every single title we choose might not be someone else’s cup of tea, it’s valid and legitimate? How about we take a chance and try something new, or passé, or in a format that makes us uncomfortable? How about we encourage one another to read up a storm, whether we love periodicals, genre fiction, or High Literature?
This probably counts as a vagueblog, but who cares. I’m off to love the hell out of words and the people who love them back.