Discussion: Book Snobbery

Posted August 16th, 2013 by in Discussions / 6 comments


Let me set the scene: You’re a reader in a public space (park bench, public transportation, library) and you whip out the most recent best seller in your favorite genre. More than likely you’re so engrossed in you book that you don’t notice the derisive looks being cast in your direction. You don’t even know it but you’ve been a victim of book snobbery!

Things like this really get my blood going. It is incredibly aggravating to me that people get all riled up about stuff like this. Irrationality gets to me faster than anything else. I can’t see why complete strangers should care what it is I’m reading or why. I’ve chilled quite a bit in my old age but I too have been guilty of book snobbery before.

Granted when I read the books I realized how wrongity wrong I was. BUT it’s taught me a valuable lesson and it’s partly why I became a blogger: never judge a book. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, title, author, publisher, genre or intended audience. That’s not to say there won’t be books that you won’t be books that you won’t like because one of the qualifiers above but don’t count a book out without a solid reason.

I’ve admitted that I’ve committed the sin of book snobbery. I bet you’re curious what books I counted out for no other reason than snobbery! Well here’s a few that I can remember:

  • The Harry Potter series – That’s right. It’s a good possibility that I would have never read one of my favorite series had my uncle not purchased the fifth book for my siblings and I. I remember watching a news report about the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the chaos from a few bookshops. I remember laughing at those people. I became one of those people for the last two books.
  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood – Sexy vampires, what? I can’t tell you how hard I fought my mother on this series. Typically we read the same books. We swapped back and forth. She begged me to read these books. I refused. I’m sorry I just couldn’t understand how vampires could be sexy. Then I FINALLY read Dark Lover. I almost missed this series but luckily my momma didn’t raise no fool!
  • The Twilight Series – Prior to Twilight I had not read young adult. Young adult at that time wasn’t a new genre but it was growing faster than it ever had. I particularly thought that the covers were so dumb. I even asked my sister to buy me the books for Christmas because I wasn’t going to be buying them.
  • Have you ever been a book snob? Have you ever been a victim or book snobbery? Share your story!



    6 Responses to “Discussion: Book Snobbery”

    1. Jessie @ Jessie's Book Place

      I don’t know if I’ve ever been a victim of book snobbery. However, I have been accused of being “retarded” or “slow” because I don’t believe people should talk to someone who is reading. I tend to block everything out while I’m reading and then later realized someone was saying something to me when they turned to someone else and said something completely rude, as if talking to me while I was reading wasn’t rude to begin with.

      As to being a book snob… When I usually see someone reading because I think it’s rude to talk to them when they’re reading, I try to get a look at their book, only to 80% of the time get their attention. If it’s a book I have a low opinion of for no real reason, I’ll still ask if it’s a good book (because now I’ve already got their attention by looking like a moron trying to look at their cover, not my intention, but whatever). And I’ll try to look interested while they rave about the book, I figure it’s the least I can do since I interrupted their reading.

      • Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter

        I know that I have but it’s never been anything very drastic; just one of those “looks”. It happens particularly when I’m reading a romance. I bought a bookmark that says “SHHHH!! I’m reading.” right across the bookmark. It’s black with white text. People at my office frequently walk into our break room and start up a conversation with me. (I even go at such a late time so that the break room will be empty!) A lot of time I don’t answer but there are a few people who if you don’t answer them, they just carry on the conversation with themselves. If someone gets really persistent and I don’t want to talk, I just push that bookmark forward on the table. πŸ™‚ I also have some great book covers from Hide-a-Cover that pretty much sums it up well. I haven’t bothered with trying to explain their rudeness. πŸ˜‰

        Well at least it’s because it’s not just your type of book and not that you think they’re choice of book proves some kind of deficiency. I haven’t come across many people who get that point across as intelligently as you do. It’s usually a lemon faced “You read THAT?!”

    2. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

      I don’t think I’ve ever judged anyone for what they’re reading … mainly because I read a WIDE variety of books, from YA to MG to romance to erotica. I mean, if we’re reading and see OTHER people reading, why should we judge? Reading is a good thing! But you are right, there are certain books out there that will get you weird looks from others. I like to think they’re just jealous because they’re not comfortable reading that book in public. πŸ™‚

      • Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter

        I read such a variety too! I completely agree with you. I just don’t understand why people take such issues with what people are reading. It’s such a waste of time and effort. I kind of hope that people will go and pick up a book because they felt so strongly about what I was reading. πŸ™‚ Got to think positive.

        A few months ago, I stopped using book covers because I hope that someone will say something so I can explain why it’s a good book and why they should read it; however, I did get some looks with some of my Hide-a-Covers. πŸ˜‰

    3. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

      I’m guilty of book snobbery, but it’s usually only placed toward the books and not those that read them. Unless the ‘critical editor and reader’ in me is going on full force, then it might be towards the fans…For instance Twilight: I read the first book enjoyed it, read it again and it seem like every flaw was present so even though I read the rest of the series I get really really irritated when someone screams out how amazing the series is. But to each their own, right? I have to fight myself on it sometimes because I just want to shake people and give me a stack of better books, but that’s not my place and it’s rude. lol. I’ve gotten better about it since I started blogging 3 years ago, and now I can easily see what people like in the books I hate. I’m also a big snob about books that go from being fan-fiction to published books…I’m more lenient towards classic retellings which is unfair but I guess I figure since most classics have free copyright now due to the time passed it doesn’t make it as icky to me. I’m trying to break that particular stigma as well, because book snobbery = bad.

      • Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter

        At least it’s not blind book snobbery. πŸ˜‰ You have clearly defined rules. Lol. Don’t get me wrong, I totally roll my eyes over some book lovers’ enthusiasm. I just don’t judge them because of what they’re reading. Does that make sense? Like, I’m totally going to make fun of you if you’re all gushy super “OMG!! THIS IS THE BESTEST EVER!!!” BUT I won’t be all like “You are so immature because you read books (young adult) that are completely beneath your age range.” Completely different. πŸ™‚

        I would say that you’re not so much a book snob as a book pusher! πŸ™‚

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