Are you ever ashamed of the books you read?

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.

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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.

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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! 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.

community gif whatevs

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!

11 thoughts on “Are you ever ashamed of the books you read?”

  1. I do feel that way sometimes (like when I read fifty shades of gray a few months ago) but I’ve mostly come to the same conclusion that you have: books are great and I won’t apologize for reading books that make me happy, no matter who wrote them or what genre they are or even if they feature a girl in a ballgown on the cover!!! Long live books. 🙂

    PS, I loved the Community gifs. 🙂

  2. This is absolutely the right attitude. I didn’t read much growing up (I became a voracious reader in about high school and even then, I only read classics) so my reading has always been kind of private but recently for example I read the entire Twilight saga in a couple of days and really enjoyed them. I so don’t want to get into a whole debate about it so I logged them into Goodreads but didn’t give them a rating and moved on. Does Breaking Dawn promote anti-choice? Yes, it probably does. I can see its problems but I can also really enjoy some of its better aspects.

    1. It is totally possible to acknowledge a thing has problems but still enjoy that thing. I feel the same way about my beloved superhero movies: there are some huge problems with them, and I see that and want to fix them, but I still like watching them.

  3. There are some times when I get a little embarrassed…but I do try not to be. Sometimes it’s hard though, particularly with romance and YA. But I don’t feel embarrassed about reading anything on my blog, only in public. I could care less what people online think of what I’m reading haha…it’s the “ooh what’s that book about? What are you reading?” type questions that trip me up and make me feel weird. But I’m hoping that I can get over it eventually…I’m sick of care whether or not people are judging me for what book I’m holding in my hands. AT LEAST I’M READING!

  4. I don’t get embarrassed about WHAT I’VE READ, but I occasionally do get embarrassed about what I’m reading. Ie I don’t mind talking about the fact that I read romance novels, but when someone asks me what I’m reading and it’s a Sarah MacLean romance novel, I do get a bit embarrassed about that. I’d prefer to be able to say I’m reading something a tad fancier. It’s a failing in me, I know!

    1. Aw! Don’t worry, it’s a “failing” in a lot of people. <3 Everybody wants to be thought well of, which isn't that big of a deal. The real problem comes when people disparage certain books just because of the genre and/or the stereotypes surrounding the people who read them.

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