The other day I got to thinking about stereotypes and snobbery when it comes to books and reading. I still remember the day I bought my first serious boyfriend home. We’d been going out for 3 weeks and were still in that less talking more can’t keep our hands off each other new relationship faze. We really didn’t know much about each other at that point, anyway he came into my room and stared bug eyed open mouthed at the pile of books on my bedside table. His shock soon turned into confusion as he asked “ you don’t read!...do you?” in an amused voice. Truth was I wasn’t that surprised. I’d gotten it since high school. I went on to tell him that yes I loved books and reading and why should he be so surprised? He then answered that I didn’t look like the kind of girl who read books for fun. As I said this wasn’t the first time someone had said that to me but it’s the one in my memory that most stands out. As you can probably tell from my blog I’m very much a girly girl, always have been although it really came to a height of constantly wearing pink and loving anything glittery in high school. I was never one of the popular crowd but I wasn’t exactly a misfit either. I was in a fairly respected clique and whilst I wasn’t right at the top of the high school popularity chain I was still fairly high up. The popular girls would invite us to parties and things so I guess we were considered “cool” to some extent. So because I was one of “those girls” people always found it shocking when they learned that I was a big time nerd behind the perfume and pink. I had a brain and liked to exercise it regularly by reading.
Another time that stands out to me was when we were waiting for an English class to start, I noticed this girl who was considered really uncool reading a Harry Potter book. That kind of stuff never mattered to me and of course being a book worm I was hugely excited and went right up to her and had a good old natter about good old Harry and Hogwarts. It wasn’t until I got up to leave that I realised that *everybody* was staring at us, whispering, wondering why I was talking to this girl. Wondering what on earth we possibly had in common.
Although since high school my extreme legally blond faze has calmed down, I am still at heart a very girly girl. So even to this day if I meet a reader 90 per cent of the time they’ll look down their nose at me. Because I enjoy YA and Chick-lit there not “proper” books and so I’m not really a serious reader. How dare I try and talk about a classic? Surely I’ve only watched the TV adaption? Go back to your vampires little girl and let us real readers discuss books. I’ve been stereotyped my whole life and as a teenager that was hard. I never felt like I quiet fit in with any group of people. The “serious readers” would snob on me for not reading “proper” books and my friends just wouldn’t get why I liked to read full stop. People have never really understood how I could be into so many different things and I think it hurt a lot of peoples brains trying to figure out a label to put on me. It wasn’t until I found the world of book blogging that I discovered people who got me and didn’t turn their noses up at the fact that yes I read chick-lit and preferred YA to other genres but I also love historical fiction and classics and fantasy too. I’ve found people who love books from all over the world. Who have different races and interests and personalities, who read all kinds of books completely busting the geeky stereotype that goes along with a reader.
I feel that these days since the popularity of twilight reading has definitely become more accepted and I’m glad of that. I’m glad that more and more people are discovering why reading is awesome and that people are embracing the types of books they like to read without fear of judgment. It may sound trivial but not feeling like I fit in made a big difference to my confidence in high school and it makes me want to use my blog to change people’s perceptions on reading. Reading is fun and you should never feel ashamed for reading what you like to read. Read Young Adult and hold your head up high, heck read Mills and Boon and don’t try to hide the cover at the beach! Support the books you love because if you don’t show your love for them how is anybody else going to discover them? So here’s a note to anyone who’s ever asked me why I liked to read, who’s ever been either shocked that I could possibly enjoy a book or that I enjoy reading a certain type of book. I LOVE books! And you should really try it some time. Because it truly, freakin’, ROCKS.