“50 Shades of Grey” is the most talked about book in the nation right now. Whether or not you’ve read them, I’m sure everyone has heard the debate surrounding the books. I for one have seen so many people either admitting to reading the books and being “book-shamed” for reading something so trashy, or debating how the books could be so popular in the first place. I found the following video that was published by Book Riot after one of their vloggers posted online that she was reading the book and was inundated with malicious email about how she could be reading these “horrible books.” I for one loved the vlogger’s attitude toward the subject. While she freely admits that she did not really care for the books, she was horrified at how negative the response toward them was. The video covers the argument that to be well-read you should be reading across genres and that no one should be criticizing what another person reads. Her basic message is pretty much the same as this blog’s, that we don’t care what people are reading, we just want them to be reading!
I know that I myself have often felt the impact of book-shaming. I try to read a good mix of all genres. While the genre I gravitate towards the most is literary fiction, every once in a while you just want to read something relaxing. Every couple of books I love to pick up a young adult, fantasy, or even romance novel. It’s nice to read something that isn’t as much of a challenge, where you can just relax and get into the book. However, I am much more likely to talk to other people about whatever literary fiction novel I just read than the romance novel, and it seems I am not alone.
When I was looking at an article about the rise of self publishing and ebooks one statistic really stood out to me. Nearly 40% of new romance novels were being purchased as ebooks, compared to only 25% of all other books. To me, this shows that people are less likely to buy the physical copy of a romance novel and display it on a bookshelf in their home compared to a more “socially acceptable” book. When you read a book on a kindle, no one knows what you’re reading, so people choose this medium for their “worse” books. I think this is totally crazy, people shouldn’t care about what you’re reading, at least you’re reading something! People should be more accepting of other’s tastes and shouldn’t be trying to push their own agenda of what a “real book” is on people. Just remember, everyone has different tastes, and that book that you think is so great may be seen as trash by another book snob.