I read a lot – obviously, which always encourages people around me (friends, family, random strangers) to ask what I’m reading. Most of the time, I’m happy to relay this information. Sharing is a good thing, after all. But there are some times when I hesitate, when I pause before opening my mouth, because I’m just a little bit embarrassed to tell the truth.
In my mind, any reading is good reading. If it gets you to turn off the television, fabulous. But sometimes I feel like the reading choices I make aren’t the “right” choices or the “good” choices – that the books I’m reading aren’t “literary” enough.
In some cases, it’s because I get the sense the person I’m talking to has very particular reading habits. In other cases, it’s a rather vane desire to look like a serious reader. Whatever the reason, there are times when I get this uncomfortable feeling that tells me I should be reading “better” books.
It’s completely ridiculous, of course, because everything is relative. What’s better? What’s good or right? It all depends on the person, on the book, or even on the situation. Why should we have to defend our right to like whatever books we want to like? Why does it sometimes feel like a contest to see who can read the “best” books?
So I’m throwing off the proverbial covers to come clean:
I like Twilight. And Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, historical romance novels (or really any romance novel), chick lit, Judy Blume and most books that would be classified as children’s or young adult books (even though I stopped being a young adult years ago).
I also like Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Orson Scott Card, Kurt Vonnegut, James Joyce, Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood.
I refuse to choose between what some people consider “good” and “bad” literature. I like what I like. Sometimes that means a book that’s award-winning and critically acclaimed. Sometimes that means a book that’s simultaneously incredibly popular and derided by critics. Why should I have to choose, when the most important thing (i.e, the act of reading) is the same, regardless of what you read?
I’m well aware that there are people in this world who fervently believe that it does matter what you read and who believe you should only be reading “good” or “quality” books. And that’s okay. They’re allowed to think that, because we live in this great place that lets us believe whatever we want. I happen to have a different view of things and that’s okay, too. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.
Tell me, bookworms – do you ever feel like you have to hide what you’re reading, because someone might find it lacking? Have you ever embellished the truth when someone asked you what you were reading? What books or authors do you hide sometimes?
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