Greetings, all! Tonight, I will be posting my latest review, but first, I will be doing something I wouldn’t normally do, and going on a slight tangent. My apologies, but I appreciate you sticking with me, and also, I’d love to hear some of your opinions on the matter as well.
As any blogger, writer, reader, reviewer will know, taking time out to form an opinion and share it with the world can be exhausting, especially if they’re done at a rapid-fire rate. Don’t get me wrong, I adore reading, so therefore, I adore discussing books of any sort with the rest of my many reading communities and bibliophiles even more. Here’s where the frustration comes in. Again, my apologies. Bear with me for a few paragraphs.
This morning I received a comment via one of my social media accounts that, to me, was down right rude. I won’t delve into details, and I feel awful even bringing it up instead of shutting up and moving on, but it’s been on my mind all day, and since I really enjoy what I do in bringing reviews to you all, it put me off instantly.
Book “shaming”, especially among fellow readers, is unacceptable, at least to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a healthy debate and varying perspectives on plots, genres, characters, etc, but to outright make someone feel bad for the material they choose to enjoy is not fair. Am I alone on this?
I understand that lately I’ve been reviewing numerous romance novels, but that should in no way discredit who I am as a reader. Everyone has their preference when it comes to books, as we do with almost anything we enjoy, so to publicly make someone feel down for their choices seems a bit of a low blow. Granted, I could just remain silent and not bring it up again, but I’m curious if others have felt this way in the literary community.
On a personal note (and this will sound like bragging, but I PROMISE it’s not. I’m just trying to plead my case and let you know who I am as a reader), I spent years at university with English as my field of study. I have two degrees majoring in English, and I’m also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society. I’ve spent countless hours and minutes dedicating myself to taking exams and writing thorough research papers on a variety of literary materials. I have a full shelf of all kinds of Norton Anthologies. I wrote my thesis (25 pages) on aspects of crime and corruption in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. I’ve studied syllabi chuck full of James Joyce, Virginia Woolfe, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, and even the unknown poet of Beowulf (to name a few). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed aspects of American, World, and British literature as well as Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Journalism, Creative Writing, and the Structure and Origins of the English Language.
Long-story-short, I am obsessed and passionate beyond words with all things literary, from both the reading and writing perspectives. I truly care 150% about what I’ve spent years at school learning, and even more so, networking with people across the globe about our shared adorations. I lose myself in many many many stories and a plethora of genres. Romance novels, for example (I use this genre because it seems to be the one I get the most criticism for reading), have their own niche and shouldn’t be pegged with such negativity, nor should its readers. I’m not saying you have to LOVE a love story, but to immediately pass it off as a “sex book” with zero substance and discredit the reader/reviewer is not the way to make your point and put someone in their place. Yes, these books have intimate scenes in them, and I’m not denying that, but they do also have a plot, a purpose, a story to tell, and characters with soul and spirit. They’re the written version of a romantic movie or television show. The masses enjoy seeing it when it’s on the screen, so please stop penalizing it when it’s written on the page in front of you. I genuinely believe you can take away something from everything you read, so instead of letting negativity from a stranger go, I felt I had to say something and shed light on the overall situation. I know friends of mine have dealt with similar “shaming” situations, so I’d be really curious to see what you all think on this matter.
All I ask is that we all attempt to respect each other and at least treat each other as adults when it comes to personal literary preference. If you don’t care for my reviews or have no interest in the book I’ve chosen to discuss and share with you, don’t read what I have to say. I won’t be offended. I will, however, find it disrespectful when you take time out of your day to come to one of my pages and make me feel as if I lack intellect because I enjoy some of the books I do. Instead, I urge you to please move on to a book that sounds genuinely interesting to you and suits your style better. Don’t make me (or anyone else for that matter) feel badly in the process. Nobody gains anything that way. I try to read a bit of everything and share it with you all, but honestly, romances are enjoyable and really easy to get through. After coming off of a big series or a large novel (as I just did with the Outlander series), I like to kick back with something a little lighter. Please don’t make me feel guilty or silly in the process.
On a more positive note, I thank those of you who have had kind words along the way and who make it worth while to keep going with my posts. Getting excited over a story is one thing, but to share a mutual love of the same story with people all over the world is something else entirely. That’s honestly my favorite part out of reading and reviewing… getting to geek out and fan-girl with my fellow bibliophiles. I don’t care what you read, the important thing is that you’re reading. Don’t you agree?
Keep the noses in the books, people!