Breaking Book Stereotypes

We all know in the world outside of books–What? A world outside of reading? I know, might be hard to grasp, but it’s true–we have social stereotypes. Jocks, Band Geeks, Nerds, Cheerleaders, Ect. But, a realization whacked me the other day. (Realizations should be nicer, but they always just spring upon you when you’re not looking) Book stereo types exist and they should be broken, or at least tried to be broken. What are these “book stereotypes” you may ask? It has to do with people who ONLY read ONE KIND of book and NOTHING ELSE. Some of these include: Romance novel fanatics, Science Fiction junkies, The Classics snobs, Non-fictions stiffs, and Anime addicts. To clarify any confusion, I’ll go through them in order. (Be warned these are explained to the extreme. Some descriptors may not always apply)

romance 1. Romance Novel Fanatics:
These people are the ones who often hesitate to share what they are reading for fear of appearing unintelligent, because, let’s face it, Romance books are all they read; not to mention they may be embarrassed by the cheesy cover. You see, most of the time these people really aren’t all that into the whole “reading thing”. They just like dramatic soap-operas or heart-felt chick love stories. This way, wrapped up in a portable book, they don’t have to wait for their show to air; they can transport their portable package of happy sap along with them where ever they go, look smart, and reach happily ever after without even having to know anything past basic 4th grade English skills.
Geek 2. Science Fiction Junkies
I’m pretty sure we all know someone like this. The people who are constantly getting into debates about the logical physics of worlds set in the future and often gather in large legions to have LAN parties or watch Star Trek (the original, obviously). If you find someone who knows how to speak Klingon, likes to watch Firefly, knows who J.J. Abrams is, fights over which doctor is better, and has read any or all book by Orson Scott Card and/or Douglas Adams they are most likely a Science Fiction Junkie.
book snob 3. The Classic Snobs and Non-Fiction Stiffs
I figured both of these fit into the same type of category. One main point they have in common is that both feel they are better than the average person because they’ve read more Classics than you, look down upon you for not having read Count of Monte Cristo or because their understanding of the real world excels that of a fiction reader who spends his/her time mesmerized by silly fantasies. Heaven forbid you tell one you dislike Shakespeare. Or only read fiction.
anime Anime Addicts
Then there’s the anime addicts who are forced by the power of the anime and or manga "books" (yes, they still are books despite the abundance of pictures) to stay up till three AM reading them. They usually and enthusiastically discuss the books speaking with words so foreign, it seems almost like a different language. Unless of course they are actually speaking a different language like Korean, Japanese, or Chinese, which many do. Often times their discussions deal with figuring out whether a seemingly gender neutral character is a guy or girl or ravishing in the drawn out love triangles.

But, what’s the essential point here? It’s: why be a stereotype? Why read only one type of book or media? It only limits people’s perspectives on things. I also believe where book stereotypes begin, real life stereotypes follow. Maybe more readers should stray from their comfortable section of the library, grab a new book and break their book-stereotype. Besides, Who wants to only be one color in a world of black and white? Who wants to only read one book?

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17 thoughts on “Breaking Book Stereotypes

  1. LOL, really like this…though I must say I know the refrences you mention re sci fi junkies but I don’t really read science fiction for the most part…just watch some on tv….still, maybe I’m in denial!! πŸ˜‰

  2. L. Marie says:

    Great post! Since I fit numbers 2 and 3, I can see the value of looking beyond stereotypes.

  3. coyotero2112 says:

    Most sterotypes overdo it, but originate from some sort of tendencies on the part of a study group, no matter how small. Taken to an exteme, I think it’s called pregudice. The only book store within miles has a shelf – “Romance Novel Junk” Guess he isn’t a fan, although he doesn’t mind a sale or two to those fans.
    Later…

  4. setinmotion says:

    I would say I often fall into the trap of ‘classics snob’ or ‘chick lit fan’ but I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of reading books I wouldn’t usually pick up. When I was about 15 my dad bought me a Matthew Reilly book (basically, the manliest action-packed writer going around) yet I absolutely fell in love with all of his books.

    I do have friends though who, as you succinctly put it, like chick lit simply because it’s a slightly classier version of a soap opera, and it really disappoints me that they’ll forgo The Kite Runners or the We Need To Talk About Kevins books of the world because they’re ‘too sad’ (their words, not mine).

    Great post!

    • eservey26 says:

      I agree! It’s okay though to fall into traps every now and then: to get sucked in by a single genre’s appeal. It’s only when one realizes they’re stuck, but don’t do anything about it where people wind up in a hole–not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.

      I personally love The Kite Runner and “too sad” books because I feel the books that REALLY impact you emotionally are the ones that bring the most meaning.

      • setinmotion says:

        I agree completely! While I love books that make me feel good, I think it’s important to read books that are a bit more meaningful or deal with more complex issues, just so we can get a bit more understanding of what actually happens around us.

  5. camgirl26 says:

    I’m not sure I fit into any of these catagories. Want to diagnose my reading style? πŸ™‚

  6. Paula says:

    love this post! πŸ™‚

  7. I couldn’t agree more, fantastic post! πŸ˜€
    I find this as well, so many readers just stick to one kind of book. And being a writer, and thus, friends with a lot of other writers, I find a lot of aspiring novelists stick to reading and writing just one genre, which I just find baffling (I also laugh when people ask me what genre I write, as I jump around with each new story…I think I’m subconsciously attempting to attempt every kind of book I reasonably can). There’s nothing wrong with being into a particular kind of book – I know people love fantasy for example for the escapism, and some people love non-fiction as they learn about various things, but you can also gain massively as both a reader and writer by venturing into unknown territories in the world of books. As a writer, I think it’s almost a necessity.
    As I said, great post! πŸ™‚

    • eservey26 says:

      Thank you so much! I very glad to hear you agree. πŸ™‚ It’s the same with me too. People often ask what I enjoy reading and most of the time my answer is Everything because sticking to one genre all the time, to me, is like only eating one food for every meal: boring and tiresome. It so much more enjoyable to experience the vast array of flavors and then have the option to retreat back to your favorite comfort food.

      • Exactly – I’ve compared it to food before too actually hahaha (but oddly I know some people who like eating the same food everyday – my parents do this pretty much, which is weird…they aren’t even old yet). I tend to read several different books simultaneously, like right now I’m reading a quite challenging lit fic book, a fantasy, a comedy “how to” type book, and 2 books about neurology. I just jump between them depending on my mood.
        I’m also the same with television shows – I can very rarely sit and watch one show for hours on end without getting bored.
        I actually don’t know what my “comfort” genre is anymore. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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