This week, I found a very interesting post by Amanda Nelson on an awesome website called Book Riot which lists the sort of things that a stereotypical book snob might say and then a “translation” for what they really mean. It’s a very humorous and tongue-in-cheek piece which isn’t meant to be taken very seriously but it got me thinking about book snobbishness and which statements are the sort of things that I might say…
E-reading isn’t REAL reading. = I need my personal preferences about my hobby to be validated as the only right and moral way do to a thing.
Not guilty. I read printed books and I read eBooks. As I have said elsewhere, e-readers are great for travel but I still read a lot of printed books.
Making crafts out of old books is a DESECRATION! = I’ve never seen a library dumpster.
Not guilty. I’ve seen a few blog posts about this and some of them are pretty cool.
I only read prize-winners/confirmed classics *sniff*. = I don’t know how to think for myself.
A little bit guilty. I do follow literary awards but I don’t buy entire shortlists as soon as they are released and I am still willing to try other things which have not been nominated for major prizes.
Book bloggers are killing literary criticism! = I’m an aging white man in publishing and I don’t know how to think for myself.
Well, I very much hope not and I’m definitely not guilty of saying this. In fact, I wrote a post last year in defence of book bloggers and how non-professional critics have a right to voice their opinions too.
Oh, I’ve never heard of that book. Was it reviewed in the NYT/on NPR? = I don’t know how to think for myself.
Not guilty. I read newspaper reviews but I would never use them exclusively for recommendations without consulting other sources.
I would never read the tripe that is Twilight/50 Shades/Oprah’s Book Club selection, and I am going to tweet that statement 50 million times. = I am still as worried about being cool as I was when I was in high school.
Sort of guilty in that I tend to go for literary fiction rather than automatically following what’s popular just for the sake of it. On the other hand, I’ve just had a look at Oprah’s book club website and it isn’t all that bad – at least there is a wide selection.
The book is always better than the movie, no exceptions. = I’ve never seen The Godfather or The Princess Bride and also I am no fun at parties.
Not guilty of the “no exceptions” part. As I wrote in my post about book-to-film adaptations, I acknowledge that some very good films based on novels have been made. However, in a lot of cases, I would still say that the book is usually better than the movie because that’s just how these things are…
Rap music is not poetry, but Joni Mitchell/Bob Dylan/Belle and Sebastian is. = I am racist.
Not guilty. I don’t really go in for poetry that much but I think any genre of music can have a story to tell.
I refuse to use an e-reader because I just love that old book smell. People who do not love that old book smell are not real readers. = My favourite perfume’s base note is mould.
Not guilty. The smell of a book isn’t particularly important as long as it’s not really bad.
People who shop at Amazon for books are evil. = I have disposable income and like to make moral judgements about people who do not.
Not guilty. I don’t buy printed books from Amazon but I have a Kindle and occasionally I receive gift vouchers to spend on eBooks. I might judge people who only ever bought stuff from Amazon purely out of laziness though.
I would NEVER dog ear pages, crease a spine, or eat food while reading. = I have unreasonable expectations about how much the people to whom I bequeath my books when I die will actually want them.
Guilty. I look after my books and I would be reluctant to lend anything out to anyone I thought wouldn’t look after it properly. Accidents happen but most are preventable. I still hope that my books find a good home when I’m dead though.
I guess it’s good that they’re reading at all. = I will internally judge you until your reading tastes morph to match my own, which are far superior to yours because I read more books written by white men who live in Brooklyn.
Not guilty. I wouldn’t deliberately try and make someone feel bad about what they choose to read even if it’s not to my personal taste. I don’t even read all that many books written by white men who live in Brooklyn.
I don’t have a TV because that would cut into my reading time. Did I mention I don’t have a TV? Hey. You there. I don’t have a TV. I don’t get that TV reference. = I am not all that interesting. Also, I watch three hours of Netflix a night on my laptop.
Not guilty. I love reading but I also love TV. It shouldn’t be considered to be a second-rate past-time.
I don’t care if the main character is likeable. It’s the PROSE that’s the thing. = My ability to tolerate insufferable jerks makes me better than you because you’re obviously only reading for escapism, which is an inferior motivation for reading.
Guilty but this is more because unlikeable characters and unreliable narrators are often so much more interesting than perfect heroes.
I’m not a romance/crime/Western reader. I mean, I’ll read LITERARY genre. SOMETIMES. = My kitchen is full of quinoa and kale and soy ice cream. Someone please validate what a grown-up I am.
Guilty as far as most romance and Westerns are concerned but I do read some crime fiction. My kitchen is definitely not full of quinoa and kale and soy ice cream though.
I don’t understand adults who read YA. You’re a grown-up person, you should read grown-up books. = I don’t like dancing in the rain or ice cream cones or trampolines or whimsy and my neck tie is too tight.
Depends on what it is as YA can be a bit of a hazy genre. I might question an adult who read YA romance and nothing else but there are plenty of other YA books which can be enjoyed by older people too.
Overall, I am a little bit of a book snob when it comes to the quality of what I read but I would never let one single source dictate my reading and I am reasonably open about trying new stuff.
Are you a book snob? Which statements are the sort of things you might say (with or without irony)?