Books. They are everywhere. Most people read them. But for whatever reason, people who read have tended to be branded with the mark of the geek.
Is it because people who read tend to be seen as loners? I certainly was. Is it because people who read tend to look for escape? I certainly did. Is it because people who read tend to want to consume more knowledge? I certainly did.
Reading seems to be more socially acceptable today than it did twenty years ago. Or it just might seem that way since I know myself better and care less what people think of me, but I really think it’s the former.
And I hate to say it, but I really think reading became popular when every book that was every published started getting turned into movies. It became cool to say, “I read the book long before they made a movie out of it,” and “Oh, the book was so much better.” These are the kind of things I used to get punched in the face for saying (okay not really, but I did get ignored and kind of became a social pariah).
A part of me is glad. As a lifelong reader and lover of books, I used to long for someone to discuss stories with. I was never able to find anyone (expect maybe my librarian- yes she was mine) to talk to about the characters that I loved and someday hoped to emulate.
A (big) part of me is jealous. Books were my special friends. I had them first. They were my sanctuary. No matter how bad the world outside was, books could always soothe me.
It is, I think, a very geeky thing to love something fiercely and then when other people realize how great it is (and it ultimately becomes popular) become upset with them for not realizing its amazingness sooner. We argue with people and tell them they aren’t true fans of whatever geeky thing we love because they weren’t fans from the beginning.
I think at our core, we just want to be accepted. And whatever our geeky thing is, it gets us. But we don’t get these ‘popular’ people who are now taking our beloved things (in this case, books). We don’t want to be associated with these people who have, for so long made fun of us, for the very thing they are now claiming to love.
At the end of the day, I want people to buy more books (but it’s mostly for selfish reasons- I don’t want them to start only putting books out on eReaders). But I don’t want them to buy my books.
Let them keep buying Jennifer Weiner, Danielle Steel and Jodi Picoult (Full disclosure: I’ve never read anything by any of these authors. But I don’t want to either. And with so many books out there, I want to read, I’ll leave these alone).
FYI: Sorry I know this post is a little rambly but that’s how I felt writing it so I didn’t want to edit it too much.