I used to be a lot more susceptible to embarrassment re:my chosen books, mostly because I was under the assumption that some books are better than others, and if you read the better books you were smart/hip/an acceptable human being. If you read the others, you were stupid and deserved to be shunned from the cool kids club.
The books I felt like I should have been reading were:
- classics, especially ones written by old white dudes
- literary fiction, probably written by 30-ish white dudes
- political non-fiction (not written by dudes, necessarily)
Serious books! For serious people! And I wanted to be taken seriously, like everybody else.
The books I actually read, and was embarrassed most about, were:
- chick lit/women’s lit/the more humorous contemporary romances
- anything young adult
- any book that had an overtly fantasy-ish cover
And as those were basically ALL I read back then, my whole reading life was one big stress ball of Guilty Pleasure and hiding the covers of my books while in public for about 8 years.
WHY was I embarrassed by my books? Because I was younger (high school through most of college); because woman’s lit got a TON of flake from all the serious news outlets AND EVERYBODY ELSE (as it still does!); because whenever someone asked me about a book I was reading and I told them, they got look on their face like they smelled something confusing, and that something was me.
Now I’m older and wiser and I no longer give a crap what people think of my reading choices!1 Blogging has helped, too, because nobody judges you for what you read on your book blog and I have found lots of friends who like that I read what I do.
I no longer read any “guilty pleasures”! I just read full-stop pleasures. And if somebody gets that confused smell look when I tell them what I’m reading? I don’t worry about it.
And you know what? If people can’t handle knowing what I enjoy reading, they need to do some growing up of their own.
Have you ever been ashamed to be seen reading something? Are you still embarrassed by certain books?
Don’t be! Embrace what makes you happiest and ignore the detractors. They’re so busy disapproving they’re missing out on a lot of fun.
This post was inspired by the most recent Book Riot podcast!
- I also no longer give a crap what OTHER people are reading! ↩