I used to be a book snob.
When I graduated from uni, I went through a classics-only phrase. It was all about ego. I was all about the thicker the book the better. I was especially prejudiced against YA.
I felt that I was better (for some reason) because I read intelligent, complex, lengthy, and weighty books. I convinced myself that reading contemporary fiction or YA was lesser.
I’m ashamed to admit it. But I was indeed, a book snob.
And even worse, I was a bored book snob. Some of those classics are hard to get through. Really hard. They aren’t all complex and lengthy, some of them are tedious, full of archaic language, and just plain long-winded.
I’m not saying they aren’t wonderful pieces of literature. Many of them are. (I will forever love Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte) But they also take work to read and don’t appeal to all readers.
As I gripped those classic novels and googled words I didn’t understand, I realized I wasn’t enjoying reading like I had when I was younger. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was because of the types of books I was coercing myself into reading. It was during this time that I forced myself to finish Wuthering Heights and thankfully realized it was okay to not finish a book I wasn’t enjoying.
And the revelations kept coming. I joined Twitter and found people and articles that reminded me of why I loved reading in the first place–it was fun–and that everyone should read what they enjoy, no matter what genre it fit into.
Now I read YA and comic books.
I finally allowed myself to read anything that piqued my interest, and to put it down if that interest lapsed. I explored book recommendations and opened myself up, once again, to other genres.
Some of my friends read comics. After hearing them talk about them, I slowly developed an appreciation. I went to my first comic-con having only read newspaper comics and Archies and, while there, bought my first ever comic book.
Now, my artist friends and my fangirl friends recommend comics to me and I jump on them. In the last few months I’ve read trades of Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Giant Days, and more. I’ve gone to panel discussions on writing for comics. I’ve also discovered a deep love for YA fiction. Seriously, this is a HUGE change from just five years ago.
Reading is reading, no matter the genre.
I realized reading is reading, and different genres, formats, styles, topics, and lengths are equally important. Reading is about enjoying ourselves, discovering, adventuring, and yes, learning too.
I never want to look down on someone because of what they are reading. Why? Because they are enjoying themselves. And isn’t that why we write stories too? To entertain. To discover different lives and experiences. To adventure.