I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a book snob, a strange thing to say for a lifetime comics/science fiction/fantasy/horror/mystery fan, but there you go. Perhaps more precisely, I’m a snob about books versus other media.

But in my defense I’ll maintain that I’m getting better as I get older — more tolerant and accepting and less snobby. Perhaps not coincidentally, I think my takes in reading material are getting more diverse too.

In any case, let’s all enjoy 30 things to tell a book snob.

1. People should never be made to feel bad about what they are reading. People who feel bad about reading will stop reading.

2. Snobbery leads to worse books. Pretentious writing and pretentious reading. Books as exclusive members clubs. Narrow genres. No inter-breeding. All that fascist nonsense that leads commercial writers to think it is okay to be lazy with words and for literary writers to think it is okay to be lazy with story.

3. If something is popular it can still be good. Just ask Shakespeare. Or the Beatles. Or peanut butter.

4. Get over the genre thing. The art world accepted that an artist could take from anywhere he or she wanted a long time ago. Roy Lichtenstein could turn comic strips into masterpieces back in 1961. Intelligence is not a question of subject but approach.

5. It is harder to be funny than to be serious. For instance, this is a serious sentence: ‘After dinner, Alistair roamed the formal garden behind this unfamiliar house, wishing he had never betrayed Lorelei’s trust.’ That took me eight seconds to write. And yet I’ve been trying to write a funny sentence for three hours now, and I’m getting hungry.

Go read all the rest of the suggestions. Then fire up your reading device and/or dig deep into your bookshelves and read any damn thing that gives you pleasure. (Me on Goodreads plus my 2012 reading.)

Now, at the end of the day, I tend to think music snobs are just as bad. It would be fun to see a
“30 things to tell a music snob” post somewhere. Of course, most of the points would be similar, but slightly different.

Maybe we can invent one in the comments?

I’ll start:

1. It doesn’t matter whether or not the musician is living or dead, young or old, it’s all just music. If you like it and it gives you pleasure, that’s all that matters.

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    April 26, 2013

    Snobbery leads to worse music. That one carries over directly.

    So does “Get over the genre thing.” McCartney got the idea for the piccolo trumpet part in “Penny Lane” from listening to Handel. Conversely, many classical pieces are based on folk songs.

  2. #2 Nick Theodorakis
    April 26, 2013

    Your music quote reminds me of something Duke Ellington once said: “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”

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