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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Soapbox Moment

Okay, I'm going to get on a soapbox and you may be offended. Every time I talk about this I get people all uptight and they decide that I'm being sanctimonious or pushy or that I want them to do what I say. 

Is this about people vaccinating their kids? 


Is this about the war on women? (There is one, you know.)


Is this about the separation of church and state and the fact that the Founding Fathers most certainly did NOT found the United States as a Christian nation?


No, it's about books. More specifically, the books that people say they will positively will NOT read. Now, I get in a lot of trouble when I post about this. If you want to see examples, there are two threads on the Goodreads site, I will refer you to:

The Shining by Stephen King

Ultimate 2015 Reading Challenge

Now, when I was a kid, I was a very picky eater. Many times I would have food put on the plate and say "Ick!"

I didn't want to eat it and would say I hated it. This would really upset my dad - especially if he knew I'd never tried it - so he would give me an extra spoonful. 

So, when I hear someone say that they won't read science fiction or romance or horror or that science fiction, romance, horror, crime/mystery isn't REAL literature, that is the first thing I think of. Obviously, they need an extra helping.

Now, maybe they don't want to be told what to read, maybe they think they must know best...

Maybe they've tried and think they're right. Maybe they've had a bad experience. I can understand that. I had a bad experience with a book written in the first person once and didn't read books in the first person for DECADES afterwards. (Hey, I think I can be forgiven in a murder mystery when the narrator turns out to be the one "whodunit".)

But it just seems some people are just doing it for the same reason I wouldn't eat Brussel Sprouts. However, with one big difference, I didn't eat many vegetables (and bean sprouts) because I didn't think I'd like it.

It seems to me many people won't read science fiction, romance, horror, et al, because they feel they are better than that. That, in some ways, they are low-rent fiction. That they are for entertainment value only. 

Another problem I have is that, yes, you may have had a bad experience with science fiction after reading one or two books. But, do you know how many sub-genres there are? Wikipedia lists 49 different types of science fiction genres: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Science_fiction_genres

How about mystery? Westerns? Horror? Romance? 

Can you rule out all of romance because you hated 50 Shades of Grey? (Full disclosure: though I read quite a bit of romance, I refuse to read this because I have a philosophical objection to BDSM.)

Do you have any comments? Are there any books you won't read? Why? Do you rule out entire genres or subgenres? If so, what is your reasoning? 

Do you think I'm unreasonable? Sanctimonious? Is there a better way to get on my soapbox without upsetting people? 

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  1. Nice one Kirsten. I don't subscribe to the notion of not reading an entire genre of book just because you didn't like one book. That said, I personally don't read horror as a genre because I have an overactive imagination at my best and coupled with ideas from horror books, you never know what you will end up with. Brr!!! I just scared myself by writing that.

    -The Minion

  2. For a while I refused to read books written in the present tense. Then, because there are so many these days, I gave up, and I will read them if they're good. But they still bug me. They seem precious and self-conscious.

    But as far as genre is concerned, I can understand that people do have strong likes and dislikes. There's only so much time to read, and there are so many great books, that you have to be pretty ruthless in selecting. So I suppose I'd say I won't read westerns because they don't interest me, except that a friend of mine harped on me so much to read True Grit that I bought it, and it's on my to-read list. I also don't like sports, but I wouldn't rule out reading a sports book if it was so good that it hooked me.

    But really, when people talk like that, they're just showing that they're narrow-minded. It's sad, but it's their loss if they miss out on wonderful stories as a result. Right?