Life Thru the Lens 25/52... on book snobbery, and how to recover
Readers are snobs.
Yep, I said it!
I am a reader, and yes I am a snob of sorts. Unlike other readers who find their particular opinions (and snobbery) from what type of genre is best, I find myself looking down my nose to those who do not read. The first step to recovering from book snobbery is admitting it, right... smile.
It's not because I think I am better than the average non-reader, it's that I know what they are missing. A world full of adventure and intrigue, solitude and gut wrenching grief, unrestrained laughter and pure joy, a set of words strung so tightly together with brilliance and glory that they change your life forever.
Reading is a means of escape for me. It is a world I can travel too when I am grinding through the the drudgery of every day life. Reading is the road that has taken me through the deep depths of despair and dropped me off the other side of the mountain with hope and joy. Reading makes me a time traveler catapulting me to bygone eras, and cultures, incapsulated in the times of sand. And, it breaks my heart to know there are people in the world, masses of people, who do not experience the emotional, spiritual, and physical journey that reading can be.
I have two non-readers in my house. Oh, they read, but they prefer not to. "I do not have time", "I do not enjoy reading", and "I'm just not a reader."
But, in my house we call those elbows; maybe you have heard the saying, "excuses are like elbows, everyone has them." You make time for what you love, therefore you simply have not found a genre of reading that you love. And, here is why....
"What people value in their books- and thus what they count as literature- really tells you more about them than it does about the book." ~Brent Weeks
... I really detest that quote, because it's the underlying words, written between the sentences, that make people become nonreaders. It's the bland statement in judgement that tells people, "oh that is not true literature!" A cookbook, a comic book, fiction because true readers only read non-fiction, self-help because there is no way that fiction could change your life.
Okay, confession time....
I LOVE: children's storybooks, and young adult books, and I happen to find cookbooks immensely riveting. I find immense joy in historical fiction, literary fiction, biographies and memoirs.
I HATE: self help/personal growth books, romances, and sci-fi just isn't my thing, but.....
It's not about measuring up to what other readers "think" reading should be. Or, how what you read tells people more about you than the books you choose. It is about finding a set of words strung together that without them a piece of your essence would be missing, unearthed, forever lying dormant in your unread soul.
I read a quote that said, "If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast, or how far. It doesn't matter if today is you first day, or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." ~ John Bingham
And so, to end my snobbery, and to encourage all the nonreaders out there I would say.... If you read, you are a reader. It doesn't matter what genre you love, or if others approve of it. It doesn't matter if you read twenty books a week, or one book every twenty weeks. There is no reading requirement, no intellectual reading guide, no reading rules to follow. Just find something you love, that changes your life, and read.
Top 5 Recommended Reads from my 2016 reading challenge...
5. Be Frank With Me... a funny book
I have to state that I read this book because 1. I adored the cover on it, and 2. it was suppose to be funny (or someone led me to believe that). For me, it wasn't funny at all. It was more of a emotional entanglement that left me longing to hug the characters and tell them to: move on, grow up, have courage, and it'll be okay. I'll let you read the book so that you can figure out which character belongs to which sentiment.
“’Frank will be okay, Alice,’ Mr. Vargas said. ‘He’s an odd duck, but brilliant children often are. It may take him a while, but someday he’ll figure out how to live in the world of ordinary mortals.’”
4. The Artisan Soul; Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art... a self-help book
As I have mentioned, I am not a self-help book reader. However, I wanted to read this book solely based on the title. From page one I found myself ravenously highlighting scrumptious sections and quoting random tidbits to the people in my life. I would rank this book with "Love Does" by Bob Goff, which is less about self-help and more about a life story lived and how it might impact the life you are living. You do not have to be an artist to throughly enjoy this book.
“I have come to realize, after over thirty years of studying human creativity, that the great divide is not between those who are artists and those who are not, but between those who understand that they are creative and those who have become convinced that they are not.”
3. The One in A Million Boy... a book with a number in the title
I am currently reading this book for an on-line summer book club I belong to. It's Anne Bogel's book club from Modern Mrs. Darcey. I am about half way through and will be finished with it tonight. I might miss a little sleep, but it is one of those books that is worth the sleep deprivation. This book is laced with grief and hopelessness, and the conflict of the soul to find joy and faith once again. As one reviewer said, Monica Wood "...has a beautiful way of telling the 'truth' of human emotions and just plain 'life'." I could not agree more.
".... this was their story, pieced together from the tatters..."
2. Life After Life... a book 500+ pages
This book is a big fat summer read coming in at over 500 pages. The writing was mesmerizing to me and I found myself reading sections of the book over and over just to absorb the words; I simply could not put it down. This is a hard book for me to recommend because I feel like it is one of those books that people either hate, or love. Since I loved it, I want everyone to love it. Life After Life is a historical fiction book that has a twist to the premiss of the book which captivated me from the second chapter.
“Later, when she understood that it was the last time they would all be together, she wished she had paid more attention.”
1. The GoldFinch... a book with a color in the title
At 700+ pages this is not a book that you carry to the beach with you. Or, maybe you would. After all, I would take this to the beach. However, The Goldfinch is not a light summer read. It is gritty, full of emotional and social issues. This book made me wish I had someone to chat with about it. Not necessarily because I loved the entire piece, but because I found discrepancies throughout it, and wanted to see the book through another pair of eyes. Also, I felt the author didn't quite know where to take the end of this book.... like a ton of great reads I have indulged in lately. I'll admit I wanted the book to end in a very different way, and because of that I really, really wanted to talk with someone about this book.
Why recommend it as your number one pick then? Because, I am a sucker for a book that creates a great debate around the table.
"....beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful."
WHAT GREAT READS ARE YOU READING????
(tell all because I might not want to read it, but other commenters might be intrigued.)
WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?
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