For as long as I have been a book lover, I’ve dealt with snide remarks about books. When I am in public, I tend to hear comments about how boring books are or how someone ‘can’t read’. The comments do not hurt me. However, they do need to be addressed.
Believe it or not, your comments aren’t original. As a book lover, I have heard negative statements about reading many times. You trying to act cool by stating you don’t enjoy reading has no effect on my love for it. However, I don’t blame you for your ignorance.
Being that I am in high school and am a young adult book blogger, I realize that most people in my school don’t enjoy reading. My peers find it unamusing and associate it with being ‘nerdy’. I don’t think it is their fault for being oblivious to how amazing reading is, I believe most of the blame goes to schools (well, to schools that I have been to where I have validation for my comments). In schools, especially on the topic of summer reading, we are limited to the genres we read. Of course, every year we read an abundance of classic novel. I do understand the motive behind this but we should try to read modern novels, too. Also, I feel that schools should allow students to experiment various genres. Personally, this year was the first time in my school career that I got to experience other book genres. I have never been to a school that has read in the fantasy genre, which is a popular category, especially in YA. If schools only allow students to read realistic fiction, then how do they expect fantasy lovers to find a passion for books? Not to mention, there are many influential fantasy books to read. Finally, I feel that schools teach you to read for studying purposes and not for fun. I understand the importance of learning to analyze and annotate novels. However, you cannot expect students to enjoy literature when you only teach them to interpret the story. When you make reading seem like homework, that is how students will see it.
I had an idea that for each classic we study, we read a modern novel that coincides with the classic’s theme to observe how perspective changes throughout the year. That idea gives students who may not like the writing style of a book written decades ago a chance to have the modern novel redeem their feelings towards reading. Also, I believe that we need to expand what we read. Newsflash, realistic fiction and classics aren’t for everyone. Many people would rather read fantasy, paranormal, and other genres that are as influential as what we normally read in school. It should be obvious that perhaps it is not the reader’s fault for not enjoying books but the habits inflicted on them.
For example, my one friend was never a reader. Of course, she read books but never considered it a favorite hobby. One day, I recommended that she read one of my favorite books to see if she would like it. She accepted the book and is currently reading it. She says she loves the story and I always catch her reading it in class. My friend was convinced that she wasn’t a fan of reading but it was actually the genres she read that she disliked. Without my book recommendation, she would never know how great books are. Everyone is a reader once they find the books they like to read.
In the end, I feel people give reading a bad reputation because of their ignorance to other genres that we do not read in school. In all honesty, I would never have been a reader if I didn’t decide to try contemporary, young adult reads. In the end, books are like any form of entertainment: once you find what you enjoy then you are good to go!