When someone asks you what kind of books you like to read, what do you tell them?
Do you tell them the truth?
Do you tell them you read all kinds of books?
Do you tell them you read something they would approve of?
Why do we do this? Why do we keep from telling people what we like to read?
We do this because people are judgmental. Some people like to find whatever they can to judge others on.
Why do they do this? Who knows. Maybe to make themselves feel better about something, maybe because they are board, but for whatever reason, they do.
As a reader and blogger, I feel that people should be free to read whatever they want to read. Everyone loves different genres of books: romance, science fiction, comics, the list of options is never ending.
I asked people on Facebook to share with me what others have said to them about what they read….here are some of the responses I got:
Kyla Linde (author): YA (young adult) and romance. I’m too old for YA. YA has no plot. It’s okay for kids but it has no real substance. I was once told that I’m far from classy because I write “YA trash novels”, whatever that means. Romance is I write it. People learn quick to shut their mouth.
Anonymous: Fantasy or YA: how old are you?
Anonymous: It’s hard to be a reader and to be honest with what you read. I love romance, paranormal romance, and fantasy. When I told people I loved the southern vampire books people looked at me and just said “true blood, it’s just sex/porn”. It pissed me off. I’ve read Nicolas Sparks and love his books. I also love Harry Potter and Dan Brown and I adore Lord of the Rings more than anything. That is acceptable but explain I love biker books and the occasional Mills and Boon and again with the judgment. I want entertaining, I want happy ever after, I want to escape normal life. People suck but I find the people that read Booker Prize Winners don’t read as much as I do. They don’t have count downs to the next release, they can’t count 100’s of people around the world as friends or say they know the author. People judge but f*** em’ I adore my Lani Lynn Vale, Nina Levine’s, Jamie Begley, etc and I will continue to do so.
Crystal Locicero: People always discount my Goodreads reading challenge because they say “smut and porn” books don’t count as much as classics or non-fiction. Haters gonna hate. Lol.
Anonymous: I read all genres of romance, and I always get the look – why romance that fluff shouldn’t be considered literature. I say @##@ you, I love it. I read it and I am not asking you to do so, so go away
Anonymous: I actually catch more crap for my “internet book friends” than I do for the books I read. As if you guys aren’t real people and actually some of my favorites! I don’t have a lot of friends who read as much as I do, so I join Facebook groups with people who do. So what? My book preferences tend to lean toward dark and twisty (super Smut on occasion) and I just keep it to myself. I have a 10 year old daughter, and I’m not prepared to answer questions from her about why there’s naked people all over my book.
Erika Lang: I read all things romance, no matter how dark and twisted or light and clean. I read it and I’ve had people refer to it as “oh she’s reading those smut books again”
Anonymous: I don’t tell people what I read anymore. Fantasy: they make fun yet watch Game of Thrones. Dark: you’re a pervert but they watch 50 Shades. Romance: is soft porn. I read what I want and simple don’t discuss anymore.
Anonymous: “I can’t believe you read smut! Why don’t you read something with substance? Or to better yourself?”
I flipped on her when she said this to me!!
Then I realized, I don’t care. I’m happy. Genuinely happy!! She can’t take that from me.
Ashley Hunter Barvell: Most of my friends don’t say anything about the romance to be honest. Hubby likes it. Lol. But god forbid I read Dan Brown. I’ve had so many heated discussions with my uber religious family about his books, it’s not even funny anymore. They always ask how I can read it and I tell them it’s because I have an open mind and my beliefs are different anyway. But when someone says “oh you’re reading mommy porn”, I always respond with a big smile and say “yup” proudly.
Anonymous: “Romance: Bodice-Rippers, that’s not how it happens in real life, that’s just trash” and my personal favorite that someone said to me (a young lady in her early 20s – no offense, but it makes her statement make more sense) “My mom reads those,” she said in a condescending voice.
I once had a man I barely knew tease me about reading romance when HIS wife reads interesting thriller/mystery type stuff and I told him as straight faced as I could, “You know, statistically a man whose partner reads romance gets laid 64% more often. Would you like for me to make some suggestions of good romance writers for her to try?” Shut him up.
And it drove me absolutely batty when customers would come in and complain that their child or grandchildren would only read manga because they’re not real books. “Actually, they are. And at least they’re reading, and THAT’S the most important thing.” I lost a couple customers that way…
The list below is the list of different book genres on Amazon. Inside each of these genres, there are sub-genres inside sub-genres inside sub-genres. There are so many different books someone could choose to read.
- Art and Photography
- Biographies and Memoirs
- Business and Money
- Children’s Books
- Christian Books and Bibles
- Comics and Graphic Novels
- Computers and Technology
- Cookbooks, Food, and Wine
- Crafts Hobbies, and Home
- Education and Teaching
- Engineering and Transportation
- Gay and Lesbian
- Health, Fitness, and Dieting
- Humor and Entertainment
- Literature and Fiction
- Medical Books
- Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
- Parenting and Relationships
- Politics and Social Sciences
- Religion and Spirituality
- Science and Math
- Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Sports and Outdoors
- Teen and Young Adult
- Test Preparation
As adults, we are always encouraging children to read. So why can’t we as adult encourage other adults to read. Even if they are not reading the same types of books as you, they are still reading.
Reading keeps your mind working, it keeps you thinking. You can learn so much from reading and not even realize it.
The book ReSYNC Your Life by Samir Becic talks about 10 ways reading can not only help your mind, but your body.
- Stimulates the mind –Studies have shown that if you are constantly stimulating your mind, you slow the progress of mental diseases can even prevent them. Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing its power by sharpening its logical ability. The brain, though an organ, operates very much like a muscle – you have to exercise it to keep it healthy and strong.
- Acquire knowledge – Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are and the more able you become to tackle challenges. Even if you ever were to lose everything you physically possess, your brain has an unlimited capacity for storing and using knowledge you’ve acquired all your life. Use it!
- Expands your vocabulary –The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. These words will inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary and being articulate and well-spoken is bonus point in many professions. Knowing that you communicate to your employers and your peer with confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem and can aid you as you advance the career ladder. Studies have shown that those who are well-read, well-spoken and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly and more often than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs and global events.
- Sharpens writing skills – This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a positive effect on one’s own writing. Observing the various styles of other authors, journalists, poets and writers will eventually be reflected in your own writing style. This is the same way for many artists – as musicians influence one another and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose, poetry and news by reading the works of others.
- Hones critical and analytical skills – Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put your critical thinking skills to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”. That same ability to analyze details comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot, determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved. Even in real life, critical thinking skills are essential. Being able to solve problems given certain elements are a part of daily life – from finishing a project for work to figuring out how to navigate difficult relationships, possessing critical thinking skills are necessary in all walks of life.
- Improves memory – When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, histories, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall.
- Boosts concentration – In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we attempt to juggle several tasks at once. Studies have shown that in a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via online chat and/or in person), keeping an eye on social media and monitoring their smartphone. This type of behavior in which we are constantly distracted causes stress levels to rise and lowers our productivity. While reading a book, however, all of your attention is focused on the story—causing the rest of the world to fall away as you immerse yourself in every fine detail seen from the point of view of another. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.
- A fun source of entertainment – There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Whether you choose to nourish your inner escapist or feed your brain with new knowledge, step away from the computer for a little while, crack open a book and feel free to replenish your soul for a little while.
- Feeds your imagination – The story of a book will absorb your mind so let your imagination fly. While you are reading, you are building images, faces, places, colors, settings and stimulating your creative juices. You connect all these creations and making changes while you keep reading as your worldview expands. Allowing your mind to explore a new literary world opens the door of new ideas, subjects and situations that can get you thinking on trying new experiences.
- Reduces stress –No matter how much stress you are going through at work, in your personal life or anywhere else, reading a good story can help you take your mind off these difficult situations. A nice novel can help distract you, while an interesting article can slip your mind out of your problems of that present moment. All allow you to relax and release any tension, especially if you’re reading a subject you are personally interested in.
So, I encourage you to keep reading. Keep reading whatever you like. Read your fantasy, read your romance, read your suspense.
I’ve also had the ‘You’re to old to read YA and what could you find interesting in them. I’ve also been asked how I can review a kiddies book when my kids are not little anymore – doesn’t mean they weren’t once little and I know a good kids book when I see one.
Oh I just remembered one – I don’t read horror books, been asked am I too scared – no I just think they are far fetched.
Love this post, there are genres I avoid as they don’t interest me, but I don’t judge those who gravitate to them.
46% huh? My hubby is always happy when I read romance. He gets just as happy when I read suspense/ thriller stuff so what does that say about me?! Ha.
My oldest daughter is about to turn 12. She has struggled with reading since the beginning. We homeschool so I’ve always let her go at her pace. I refused to get her reading interventions when she was still reading beginning chapter books last year. She loved them. People gave me all kinds of advice and suggested all kinds of books she should read. Drove me insane.
I love reading and I’ve always received a lot of comments about my choices, but I ignore them because reading is such big part of my life and I enjoy it.
Love this post. I don’t like, religious, historical, dystopian, sci-fi, sad books, mental health stories. I will read most other books.
This is SO spot on. I get judged because I still enjoy older YA books. But I never judge anyone for what they read. You do you, boo!
I loved this post. So good and in depth. And I love how you ended with some of the benefits of reading.
I’ve been judged by people who are my age for reading classics, or for reading very big books, because they don’t understand how I could enjoy those myself, without having to read them for school. I’ve also been judged for liking to read in general, because someone like me should be ”a social butterfly and go out every Friday night” (no kidding, someone actually said this to me).
Oh, I’m with you on this one! I’ve never found myself judging anyone based on their choice of books. At least they are reading, whatever it is! I would not pick up a romance book for example, but i can see why it might appeal to others.
Every now and then i notice that i’m just full of random bits of facts, and it’s all because i’ve read them in some books and somehow remembered them 😀
I have thought about doing a post like this. As a 30-something, it’s often awkward when I tell people that yes, I read YA (or even middle grade!).