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 person 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 had 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.


  1. These are some of the best words you've written. So well said, Shannon. I agree... Reading a book to appear a certain way is using the cover as an accessory-kind of pointless.

    This is why I have no shame when I pull out sophie kinsella books on the subway ;)

  2. Aw thank you. Every time you read Sophie Kinsella on the subway, know that I applaud you. :P

  3. Agreed. So many people are quite book snobbish. I love Meg Cabot. And if you like her, you may like Jenny Crusie. I love love love her books xx

  4. Wow, this is such an amazing post!!! Really well written, I strongly agree with your views, reading top sophisticated books by so called top authors in the society just because you want to be recognised totally does not make sense. I love what you said "being passionate about what you love and never making excuses", bravo. I am proud to say I love reading Harry Potter when many has snickered in my face.


  5. @Jade - I haven't heard of Jenny Cruise before, but I am absolutely going to check out her books! Thanks for the recommendation! :D

    @Erika - Thank you so so much! I love that you shamelessly read Harry Potter. That's how it should be. If people love reading something, then it is a great book, regardless of what other people think. <3

  6. Very good point you made here! :) I'm a book lover too :D but I've never faced this sort of snobbery before... therefore thanks for sharing ! ^^