Readers usually have strong opinions and they never easily back down. It’s what I learned from observing avid readers other than myself. Most are extremely passionate about the books they like, the books they detest, and their varied reasons to read.
I for one used to love reading only for the entertainment it provides, but now I also read to learn how to write the way seasoned writers do. People close to me started to notice that I spend a big chunk of my salary to buying books every other week. I read some of them as soon as I get home, while others are stacked up in a tall pile. I actually have a dozen more on my to-read list. Others question my spending habit on books and I usually argue with them to the death.
If you insult or judge a voracious reader by the books he reads or even by his habit of consuming words for his thoughts, always remember to protect yourself. You’ll never know how passionate people like us come back at you.
Here are the 5 common reading myths non-readers (and readers) think about reading:
“THERE’S NOTHING TO LEARN FROM FICTION”
I love fiction. This is maybe because I want to expand my creativity more than the bliss of knowing how to write one. So when someone tells me that fiction is rubbish, I pause for a while and take a deep breath, stopping myself from smacking the person who said it.
In fact, there’s more to learn from fiction. You just have to choose a great one to read. Take The Catcher in Rye or 1984 or The Little Prince, or even thousands of other novels you might have not known. If they weren’t that helpful, then why did your high school teacher require you to write book reports about them?
Fiction always does have a moral lesson in the end just like non-fiction. If not, you might have missed it in the middle part of the book or you are not just that contemplative of what you are reading.
“WHO’S GOT TIME TO READ?”
You bury your head in a book, and someone passes by and judges you for wasting your time. He comments on your hobby, you respond with enthusiasm, and then he rolls his eyes and tells you he has zero time to read.
The truth of the matter is, everyone has the time to read. It all boils down to setting priorities. If one has the time to play sports or watch his favorite Netflix series, then he has absolutely time to read. He just hasn’t thought of giving reading a fraction of his time yet.
“READING IS FOR LAZY PEOPLE”
There’s nothing lazy about a person whose intention is to finish a 5-book boxed set of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in two weeks! Unfortunately, readers are always called lazy slackers who just sit all day on the couch and read gibberish.
With all honesty, undermining readers is a huge mistake. Just like writing or tackling numbers, reading consumes mental energy. It improves comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and all other things you can learn from reading alone. It’s an activity, but only for the nourishment of the mind.
“MY OPINION ABOUT BOOKS DOESN’T COUNT”
Guess what: Your opinion greatly matters. Many readers are afraid to express their opinions about a book. Professional book reviewers from The New York Times can be so intimidating that uttering a simple interpretation on a book feels so stupid.
But you know what? Maybe everyone else who has read the book thinks the same thing like you do. Their thoughts may slightly differ, but to heck with that. As long as you’ve got something to say, then be confident and let your thoughts be heard. You don’t have to dwell on highfalutin words to sound smart or be a professional book critic to have a genuine opinion.
“I HATE READING [INSERT GENRE], THAT’S ONLY FOR [INSERT INSULTING NOUN]”
Ha! I’ve got a collection of novels written for the adult audience, but I also like YA reads. When I mentioned to a colleague recently that I just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green and absolutely love it, he quickly responded, “What? You’re reading that stuff? I hate YA, they’re only for kids.” And just like the tamed animal that I am, I inhaled a lungful of air, closed my knuckles, and looked away.
People who judge based by the book’s genre are called book snobs. I honestly used to be one, but I remembered that I loved reading everything when I was a child. So I am no longer such a douche. I even got to the point of defending the honor of Twilight (the book, not the movie) because it kept me awake during my college days.
But of course, in order to feel that you are not wasting your time, you have to read the books that you really like. If you love historical fiction or classic novels, then do so and ignore the book snobs around you. As long as you read something, then you, my friend, are reading.
There is always someone who will mock what you’re reading or give unsolicited comments about your “unproductive” hobby. However, just the thought of you reading is already something to feel proud about. These days, only a few people consider themselves as readers; hence, you should be commended in taking up such rare activity.