I like to think I’m a pacifistic and generally nice person, but if one thing makes me want to start throwing furniture it’s people being snobbish and awful to each other in totally unnecessary areas. One of these is most definitely the brand of elitism that comes from people who read books looking down on those who don’t. I mean come on, there are far more grievous issues in this tumultuous world of ours, and you’re making the time to turn up your nose at people who take interest in non-novel forms of entertainment?
It’s a huge and stupid problem that manifests itself in all kinds of forms, reinforced naturally enough in a lot of fictional character types and translating into the real world. It’s almost a classist thing, if you trace its roots back to past eras where only the privileged were literate. Or perhaps it stems from the (perfectly grounded, if you end up among the wrong crowd of cranky schoolkids) stereotype of people being teased for being bookish, causing said bookish people to retaliate and want to protect their safe space, or take the opportunity to rise up and be the bully they always feared. For the record, not everyone does this. As with most forms of isms, it’s only a select and vocal percentage that manage to ruin it for everyone else. But it is something that’s ingrained in us as readers, I think, whether we notice it or not.
A lot of book heroes, for example, are book readers. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s totally cool as it gives the real-world book readers an immediate connection with the character because, whatever magic or adventure might make their lives different, at least they share a hobby. And reading is one of those fantastically immersive hobbies, essentially and easily becoming a way of life. However, the distinction we should make is that it’s those who love stories that share this love, not just those who read (though obviously in things written before movies and the internet and stuff, that’s not an option), and also enforce that your heroes can be perfectly relatable and lovable even if they can’t get through a book. Continue reading