The book community is not without its flaws. While I can say that most of us are very welcoming in general, it cannot be denied that sometimes we harbor nasty attitudes as well. Below I list what habits I think need to go.
1. The Elitist Attitude
This topic spans so many so I shall make separate points below.
1a. High-handedness. That “I read the book before it was a movie” or that “You didn’t even read the book, only watched the movie therefore your opinion is invalid” statements. I get it. We’re proud readers. But we should be mindful of how we come across with these statements. Sometimes, it can sound arrogant and demeaning to whoever we are addressing.
1b. The judging attitude towards non-readers. Related to 1a above, this too is unbecoming of us. Different strokes for different folks is not just a saying, it’s the truth. It’s not our place to deem a person ‘lowly’ for not being a reader. Some enjoy a visual experience and some auditory. If you ever thought a person is beneath you for not ‘reading’, check yourself because you are being toxic.
1c. Genre shaming most notably to romance readers.
That “I’m better/smarter/cooler/edgier than you because I read non fiction, classics, general fiction and NEVER romance.” This issue has been going on since forever and sadly, I know it will continue because if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that the world will never run out of bigots. Lucky for me, I’ve never met one in real life (maybe I did but forgot about their boring existence) but on the internet, they’re ubiquitous. This is a sincere attempt at asking you guys to change for the better.
1d. Alienating certain members of the book community.
Related to 1c above, some readers don’t shame romance readers but exclude them instead. I don’t know which is worse: openly hating the romance group or not bothering to acknowledge our existence at all. As a voracious romance reader, I feel the disparity between “normal readers” and romance readers.
Just last week I found this tag yourself kind of game (what kind of reader are you based on tv/movie characters) and there isn’t even a choice for those people who love to read romance! But then again, this can be attributed to the fact that there isn’t actually much tv and movie representation for the romance book lovers; which then leads back to point 1c (being shamed for loving it) as one of the reasons we lack representation; or it could be just the general stigma around the genre that’s why no one deems it worthy enough to be a character personality.
1d. The unforgiving attitude towards people who made wrong statements about your favorite book. We get feral over our favorite books, I do this too, but sometimes we go overboard. Take this instagram comment section for example.
The content posted is a video called “Random Recs Pokemon Edition” all about recommending books to certain Pokemon characters. The girl in the video made an incorrect statement about Percy Jackson. Her statement verbatim: “Oh, I feel like he would enjoy Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, that whole series because you know, he can relate to the main character having control over lightning.” The fans didn’t take it lightly.
I just felt bad for her. I’m sure she meant no harm and besides, it’s hard thinking of books on the spot but some people in the comment section acted like she made a grave mistake. There were all kinds of pompous sounding comments like, “I know more books than her,” etc. There was even a comment about her voice…
These reactions are completely unwarranted. It’s not like she was hating on the book. There’s a time and place for everything and this definitely is not it. I would have understood the extreme reaction if the girl left a hateful remark about Percy Jackson but that wasn’t the case at all – she simply made a mistake. Suffice to say, it was disappointing to see members of the book community act like this.
2. Buying books we don’t read
It’s your money you can spend it the way you want but on a practical standpoint, that’s money wasted. If you can’t stop buying them, just please make sure to read. There’s nothing sadder than a book unread, gathering dust on a shelf. I’m guilty of this too so I should really take my own advice (lol).
3. Tagging authors to our unfavorable reviews.
Respect them. Several have voiced out their dislike of being tagged on stuff like this. We’re allowed not to like a book but we don’t need to flash this onto their faces. Goodreads and our blogs are enough. Books are their babies, their brainchild, so I understand how hurtful negative feedback can be. Even tweets and comments with just the teeniest criticism can be uncalled for. Again, be mindful of what you say on their social media accounts because they can see them as opposed to just blog posts or Goodreads reviews. Words are are powerful so be responsible when using them.
Like previously stated, there is a time and place for everything. We can all fight back if our beloved books are being hated on. We don’t need to be rabid ALL THE TIME and worse, towards people who don’t deserve it.
Ultimately, what I want to emphasize is to have a balance between rationality and kindness. Differences cannot be helped but attitude can be adjusted.
As always, happy reading and have a great week!