Are you a Book Snob?

Book_of_Snobs-Première_de_couvertureBeing a Scatterbooker, I’m definitely not a book snob in the slightest.  Sometimes I like to read ‘real’ books, sometimes I use a kindle, sometimes I’ll read a classic, sometimes I’ll read something ‘trashy.’ I don’t have any particular genre that I will only read at the exclusion of all others, but there are a few genres that I enjoy more than others. I also would never dare to criticise anybody for which books they choose to read or which format they read it in and why on earth would I even care?

I think the biggest problem with book snobs is that they seem to enjoy going out of their way to let other people know that their way is far superior and anybody who doesn’t do things the way that they think they should be done is wrong. Thackeray wrote a hilarious set of articles titled The Book of Snobs back 1848 which wittily describes all sorts of the different kinds of snobs that existed in the 1800’s so it seems that snobbery has been around for quite a while. And people have been quietly (or not so quietly) making fun of them for just as long! So I think it’s  time  for all of the book snobs (and the rest) to lighten up and not worry so much about what or how other people read.

Types of Book Snobs:

The ‘I never read e-books’ book snob: This kind of book snob thinks that the Internet is the devil and e-books are out to destroy the publishing industry and all books along with it. It’s strange how often this opinion gets voiced via the  evil Internet, usually with an iPhone. In reality, the Internet is a tool for communication, although definitely the best one invented so far. The publishing world has survived many technological changes and books will always continue to be made. If you prefer to read real books, that’s great, I quite like them too, but I’m not out to destroy the publishing world by reading e-books sometimes too.

The ‘I only read literary fiction/classics’ book snob: Fantastic! I read literary fiction/classics as well sometimes. I also really enjoy discovering new and self published authors whose books may become classics in 50 years or so. I do wonder why you need somebody else to tell you that a book is good, why not make your own decisions about what you do or do not like?

The ‘I only read a specific genre absolutely nothing else’ book snob: This seems strange to a Scatterbooker like me, but ok then. Don’t these people get bored of reading the same genre all the time though?

The ‘Twilight/50 Shades of Grey/Harry Potter ect are awful and I will go out of my way to read them just so I can tell everyone how bad they are’ book snob: If you are book snob why would you even read a book that you have already decided is awful? I’ve even seen reviewers live tweet their adverse reactions to books like this. For the record, I quite liked Twilight, love Harry Potter but I just couldn’t get into 50 Shades at all. It doesn’t really bother me that it’s successful. I just stopped reading once I realised it wasn’t my cup of tea and I don’t feel a need to go and tell people off if they say they enjoyed it.

The ‘the book is always better than the movie’ book snob: I tend to agree with this most of the time, and I do much prefer to read the book before I see the movie, but there are exceptions. The Princess Bride is one that stands out for me. I’m not sure if I’ve even read that book and I don’t really want to because the movie was amazing! I also started watching Game of Thrones and then tried to read the books but I just couldn’t get into them, so I’ll stick with the series for now and perhaps give the books another try in a few years when it isn’t so fresh in my mind.

The ‘I keep my books in pristine condition and will cut you if I lend you a book and you return it dog eared or with food crumbs’ book snob: These kind of book snobs obviously have control issues. I can imagine them sitting up super straight and taking forever to turn the page because they are worried about creasing it ever so slightly. And definitely no food while reading which kind of takes half the fun of reading away I think. I’m just happy to have my books returned to me, never mind if there are a few creases or crumbs here and there. I like my books to look like they’ve been enjoyed, I think it adds to their character.

The ‘at least they’re reading something I guess’ book snob: This kind of book snob is my very least favourite. It’s so condescending and implies that anybody who doesn’t read fiction is dumb which is extremely untrue and the worst form of snobbery there is. My partner, for example, never reads fiction but he is far from stupid. He’s an IT geek and most of his friends and work colleagues would agree that he is the smartest person they know by far. He just has a highly technical mind, so doesn’t get into reading for fun.

What kinds of book snobs have you come across? Or are you a book snob yourself?

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34 thoughts on “Are you a Book Snob?

  1. This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a LONG time! I totally agree with everything and every point you make – nobody likes a book snob!

    1) Ebooks are fantastic. Yes, I prefer paperbacks but they’re cheaper if you’re on a budget and they’re handy for commuters and for travelling.
    2) The “I only read classics” ugh! Okay, that’s fine, you only read classics. But that doesn’t make you better than anyone who doesn’t read classics.
    3) Again, that’s cool, you only read a certain genre but don’t stick your nose up at other genres. I have genres I prefer over others but that doesn’t make the ones I like slightly less any worse.
    4) If you like HP/Twilight/50, cool. If you don’t, cool. Leave it at that.
    5) Yes, the book is usually better than the movie but that doesn’t mean the movie still ain’t good.
    6) I totally get wanting to keep your books in good condition – I’d never write over mine or purposely ruin it but a little crease or something isn’t the end of the world.
    7) People can read what they want – Bob the Builder, Classics, the newspaper – just because someone doesn’t read doesn’t make them stupid. I love reading and don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to read but fair enough if they don’t – it’s their life. Nobody should need to question what someone else is reading.

    And I am done. Thank you for this post!

    Jenny xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Such a wonderful post and it’s so true. I’ve studied Literature, the place for book snobbery and forcing students to agree with your opinions as a teacher. I think the number one purpose of reading is having fun, read something you enjoy as there are so many books for so many different people and for all of them someone has worked very hard. I love stories and read anything with a good story. I don’t care what the genre is, I want to keep broadening my horizons. I love it when people are passionate about books. And fortunately there are so many, so there’s something for everyone.
    There are the YA is not for adults snobs. That’s one I don’t understand. Drawing a parallel line, if you’re in your seventies or eighties you’re not allowed to read books with younger main characters any longer because of the age gap? Everyone would find that a weird thing to snob about right? But not if you read YA while you’re not a young adult, then it’s all right to say something about it.
    What keeps amazing me is that people don’t learn from history. There have been shifts in what’s supposed to be high culture and literature for centuries and often what we now see as a classic was considered trash in the time it came out. So why condemn Harry Potter for example as those books will probably be around for many generations to come and when the years will pass the status will rise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Suze for such a thoughtful comment, couldn’t agree with you more 🙂 I think Harry Potter will definitely be classed as a ‘classic’ some day.
      I forgot about the YA is not for adults snobs! I enjoy a lot of YA books and I’m definitely not interested in reading about only 80 year olds when I’m 80! I think it might be a short list.

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  3. Hahaha this is brilliant, though I have to admit I’m a bit of a ‘I keep my books in pristine condition and will cut you if I lend you a book and you return it dog eared or with food crumbs’ book snob’, but I’m kinda OCD and funny about things like that, so I don’t mean it from a sense of snobbery haha 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 I have to admit, I’m probably in the minority with that one, but I do love old books with little notes in the margins and things like that. My books would probably freak you out! I always take care of other people’s books though xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • With old books I can totally get it, I love the musty smell and old feel of them etc and I like to think about the journey they been on, the peoples lives they’ve touched (Although I’ll still then be super delicate!). I think when something is shiny and new, that’s when I find it most difficult – I struggled to even write in textbooks at school, it still felt wrong haha xx

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  4. I despite book snobs! I love ebooks, I love Harry Potter, I even enjoyed Twilight (I read it in one sitting, it was ADDICTIVE, man). I read all sorts of genres and I love movie adaptations and think they can sometimes be better than the books, but the one thing I am an actual snob about is keeping my books in pristine condition.

    It’s just…I LOVE having them all pristine and gorgeous. In fact, I hate it when the pages get yellow just from having to hold it in the same position all day whilst reading. It’s also part of the reason I now read more ebooks than paperbacks, because that way I can’t get my paperbacks yellowed or smudged.

    I just love pretty, clean, pristine books. I’ve given books to friends before and they’re like “You haven’t even read it!” and I’m like “I have, I just keep it nice”. I literally don’t care how other people keep their books, but mine have to be perfect. Which is a total transformation as I always used to buy books at the second hand book stores here. But ever since I discovered Amazon, they must be BRAND NEW. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Twilight is addictive! I had a Twilight movie marathon a couple of weekends ago and even my boyfriend was hooked, not that he would admit it of course.

      I definitely understand the attraction to nice, new books. I’m just hopeless at keeping them that way!

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  5. Fun post, Jade.
    My favorite bit of book snobbery is when someone says “I don’t read so and so because I’ve heard they’re awful/scary, etc.”. How do you know how they are if you’ve never read anything by them?
    Also, I like my books in good condition. I’m Ok with a little crease but if you return them with food spots or bent pages you’re off my BFF list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post!!!!!! Love it. Oh yes, those who think there is something ‘better’ about a paperback – if I one more person talk about ‘the smell and feel of a real book’ – who the hell goes about smelling books???? Yes, yes, okay, a new paperback is a lovely thing, and I do get the scent thing really, it’s just that this has become such a cliche. I suspect some of the people who poo-poo ebooks have scarcely even read one – after all, it is the words on the page that matter. Perhaps if they read a book so good they just wanted to keep turning the pages, they wouldn’t mind that they can’t smell it….

    I’m a total convert. It’s not just the convenience thing, it’s the fact my Nexus is more comfortable to hold and prop up somewhere, AND I can download the next one in a series I can’t put down, for £1.99 at 10 o’clock at night. Works for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Terry xx I think the whole ‘smell of books’ things is a bit of a strange cliche too! It’s fun for about a minute and then if the book is any good you should be thinking about that, not what it smells like xx

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  7. Haha…. and then there’s the genre snob —- I review a lot of chicklit for Amazon..but if I mention it in certain company, I and the books are very much looked down upon. Joke is on the snobs – chicklit is one of the best sellers on Amazon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved it! I was a fantasy genre snob until I found Twitter, then I discovered the most incredible variety of authors and became hooked on…all of it! Totally agree with GoT too. I’ve also just watched The Maze Runner with my sons, we loved the film, I’ve since bought the book but am scared to read it now! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! There are too many good books out there of all genres to only limit yourself to one kind. I haven’t read or seen The Maze Runner so I’m not sure about that one. I say give it a try and if it’s too difficult to get into try it again when the movie isn’t so fresh in your mind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good post, Jade. A little confused on the “reading books you hate snob”. It seems a person can’t win – if they continue reading a book they hate they’re a snob, but if they stop reading a book they hate, they aren’t allowed to hate it because they haven’t read it? /confuzzled

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    • They are 2 different things. The ‘I only read a specific genre absolutely nothing else’ book snob refuses to read books outside of a specific genre and the ‘Twilight/50 Shades of Grey/Harry Potter ect are awful and I will go out of my way to read them just so I can tell everyone how bad they are’ book snob do exactly that, they pick a ‘trashy’ popular book and then go out of their way to tell everyone how bad it is.

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  10. Awesome post! I like to think I don’t fill one of these categories,

    The “the book is always better than the movie” book snobs bother me SO much. Books and movies are different and require different approaches in order to be good. There are a lot of book adaptations that are good films in their own right without being straight page-to-frame transfers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fantastic post!

    While I do appreciate the ‘niceness’ of a well-produced paperback, the important thing about a book is always the writing. And whether or not it’s ‘meant’ for you, or if it’s officially a classic, or whatever – if you like it, it’s okay to like it.

    I wish all the world were this open-minded.

    Keep up the good writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m a rabid reader and will read pretty much anything that comes my way. I rarely read two books in a row that fall into the same genre (unless I’m in a series). I have some favorites, and of course there are some genres I rarely pick-up. Luckily, I haven’t run into too many book snobs in my life; though I have encountered a LOT of the opposite. People who do not read at all presume that since I’m such a reader and so “smart” that they’ve put me into the “snob” category in there own mind. I’ve encountered people who feel that what they read must be inferior and are embarrassed to talk about books with me. One guy was actually surprised when we got into a conversation about Garfield comics. Comics are the only thing he enjoys. He thought so lowly of himself as a reader, and so highly of me as one, that it absolutely amazed him that I regularly checked Garfield books out of the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with all your classifications and have met almost all of them 😦 The one type I might apply to myself is the “I only read one genre” snob, but I’ve been working hard to overcome that. Reviewing for Rosie Amber has definitely pulled me into other genres – YA, urban fantasy, sci fi, historical fiction, chick lit. A fellow blogger recently induced me to read a graphic novel. That is NOT my favorite type of book.

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  14. Love this post – it’s so true! Though I do dislike it when I lend books to people and they break the spine by bending the cover right back. Argh! Aside from that, I’m with you every step of the way 🙂 (ps – It’s a bit hypercritical of me to be so bothered about spine-crackers, as I do a lot of reading in the bath and sometimes the books get a little soggy if I drop them by accident…)

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  15. I know this post is old, but I have to reply …

    Self-confessed book snob right here! But reading your lovely post, I don’t think I fit cut-and-clear into any category. I am a book snob mostly because I am desperately in love with literature. I read anything as well as it’s well-written, and sometimes enjoy something trashy just to give my mind a rest. I read lit fic, chick lit, non-fiction, classics, fantasy, comic books … everything, as long as I enjoy it!

    My books are certainly well-loved and not in pristine condition. I’ve even had to replace some that I read so many times they LITERALLY FELL APART. My dog stole a couple off my bedside as a puppy and ate the covers off them – I still keep them.But I don’t lend them to anyone except my dad – I’m allowed to keep my books as I like, but yes I will cut someone who thinks they can destroy them for me. And oftentimes they never come home, which feels like having teeth pulled for me.

    The movie-book snob is one I waver on. I usually see a movie and then buy the book if I enjoy it, or if it’s a classic I read the book first. I’ve seen all of GoT and read all the books. I’m trying to challenge myself to watch the Harry Potter movies – I’ve seen a couple as a kid, but grew up with the books and hate to see the story desecrated … so I’ve not seen any of the last four, or the third one. Often I don’t like the way I feel about watching a movie and not seeing the story portrayed the way I’ve imagined it – it just feels wrong.

    Ugh. So yeah, I’m a book snob – but I swear I’m still okay to be around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alanna, thanks for your comment! 🙂 I don’t think you sound like much of a book snob at all. I really regret watching GOT before I read the books because I’ve tried to read the first one a few times now and just can’t get into it. I think I’ll try again when the TV series has been finished for a while.

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