Friday, August 12, 2011
a house without books is like a room without windows.
There is no beauty in being a book snob.
A few days ago, I began reading a book titled, "So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year Of Passionate Reading" by Sara Nelson. The premise was promising - chronicling the authors' goal of reading a book a week for one year. Unfortunately, it has been a challenging read...I can't get past my resentment, caused by the third chapter.
Nelson writes, "People notice what you read and judge you by it. Which is why if I were going to read Danielle Steel, I wouldn't do it at the office. But Nine Parts of Desire speaks to anyone who might be listening: I'm smart, it says. I'm concerned with current events, it announces. I am a serious person."
This is the very worst kind of book snobbery.
Reading is not about image. Nor is it a vehicle to appear smarter or superior to other people. Books are not about status. The experience of reading should ideally stem from a love of words and the adventure of falling in love with a book.
To read Danielle Steel locked away at home, makes Nelson no better than the woman reading it on the subway. The only difference between the two, is that the latter doesn't hide herself away due to societal pressures.
In my first year of University, my classmates and I shared our favourite authors. Largely, they boasted about Charles Dickens and David Foster Wallace. I said Meg Cabot. They snickered, writing me off for the remainder of my University career. By the time I made it into my fourth year creative writing class, most of the people who snickered were long gone. Passion surpassed superiority.
My advice to Sara Nelson would be to stop worrying about the literary judgment from others. Ultimately, living your life that way will only lead to misery.
I don't believe in high or low art, I believe in being passionate about what you love, and never making excuses.