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Close Encounters with Book Snobs

writingA recent article on Book Riot raised the question: What is a book snob?

The takeaway from the article for me is:

What makes a reader a snob is making the leap from judging a book to judging its readers- when we go from “this book is bad according to x standards” to “this book is bad and therefore people who read it and enjoy it are inferior to me.”

My first thought was I wouldn’t be able to pick out a book snob even in a crowded bookstore, but it is possible I may have encountered a book snob or two.

1. Oprah Book Club Snob

A former co-worker of mine once swore adamantly that she would never ever read something picked by Oprah. She said people who read those books couldn’t think for themselves and were a bunch of sheep in Oprah’s cult. She spat all this out like it was poisonous to even sit on her tongue. Since nothing I was reading at the time even remotely resembled a book, I just smiled and nodded.

2. Alternative History Snob

I once joined a science fiction book club and the first book I read with the club was Fatherland by Robert Harris. The book is an alternative history where Germany wins WWII. At our meeting, when the gentleman who chose Fatherland asked everyone for their opinion, he was immediately attacked by a number of people. They were outraged that he picked this book, it wasn’t even science fiction and what kind of person read this disgusting piece of trash. I couldn’t believe how they were yelling in his face and pointing fingers at him. This is how it felt to be on Jerry Springer. The gentleman got up and left, and so did I.

3. Books-to-Movies Snob (or possibly Cinereader, as defined by Book Riot)

I used to hang out with a group of moms and the movie version of the books we read together just so happened to be coming out within a few months. So we would read the book and then go to the movie, babies permitting. I didn’t care what we read or saw. It was gratifying to do something just for me that was outside of being a mommy. The book I remember the most from this brief reading jag is The Time Traveler’s Wife.

4. Chick Lit Snob

Occasionally, I will pick up a book that is shamelessly geared towards women with a pretty cover and a cute tongue-in-cheek title. My husband will roll his eyes when he gets a whiff of this and we will debate the market for these books and why women read them. I’m pretty sure he has even said to me once, “That’s not a real book.” Um, yes it is! And yet he probably knows the storyline to Bridget Jones’ Diary better than I do.

5. Children’s Lit Snob

No matter what I say or do, I can’t seem to convince my preschooler that he will like Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle or Robert Munsch if he would just give their books a chance. Thousands of kids over the years can’t be wrong, I tell him. If you would just let me read the story to you, I’m sure you’d love it. He refuses as usual and we leave with the usual Little Critter, Maisy the Mouse, Curious George and Richard Scarry’s Busytown. So who do you think is the snob in this story?

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2 comments on “Close Encounters with Book Snobs

  1. lauratfrey
    May 16, 2013

    I’m a partial Oprah snob. I will read the books (I mean seriously, there are great books on there) BUT I hate having an edition with the Oprah seal of approval. I don’t want people to think I only bought it because Oprah said so, ya know? Yep, pretty snobbish!

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  2. Laurie C
    May 30, 2013

    hee hee I never thought about children’s lit snobs! Robert Munsch’s book always struck me as quite creepy, as did The Giving Tree, and I don’t think my kids gravitated towards them either! They do have their own tastes from quite early on. I think they learned fast which ones Mommy was willing to stop what she was doing to read any time, and which she only read under duress!

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2013 by in Headlines.

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