I read an interesting article in yesterday’s Huffington Post that reminded me there are people in the world that are different than me. I had totally forgotten about this (apparently large) group of people.
The writer of this article finds himself surprised — shocked, even — at the fascination with comic books in today’s culture. He is also amazed at the group of people that read about vampires and zombies. The author
I was shocked and appalled by this. Perhaps it is because I hang with the bookish-types all the time, but who on earth would consider us to be REGRESSING as a culture because of what we choose to read? I prefer not to think of us as dumbing ourselves down. I’m just happy that we’re all READING. Am I alone in my thinking?
I do feel it important to mention that the writer of the article does not want to insult anyone and has “no quarrel with folks who love and enjoy these categories.” After all, he read them when he was younger. He just doesn’t understand why ADULTS are falling so hard for these genres. (You can find Warren Adler’s article here. I recommend reading it.)
I appreciate articles like this one, because it reminds me that there are people out there that are not like me. I had forgotten the ones that read the stuff that I might consider boring all the time. People who always read for enlightenment or education or some higher purpose. This is all well and good, but I am not one of those people.
I enjoy a good piece of classical literature every now and then. I also enjoy literary fiction and adult fiction and non-fiction and memoirs. I really do love these types of books and would consider reading titles in these genres in a heartbeat if they interest me. Enlightenment and education is good, y’all. However, I don’t read them all of the time, exclusively. That would make me a BOOK SNOB.
I also love science-fiction and fantasy books, like WHOA. I read to escape — like some of you know — so this is my go-to genre. But I don’t read exclusively science-fiction and fantasy. If I did, I would be a BOOK SNOB.
I am a Christian and read Christian non-fiction and the occasional Christian fiction. I don’t read exclusively in this genre, because I am not a BOOK SNOB.
Lately, the biggest chunk of what I’m reading (if you’ll hang with me, I’m gonna tie this all together, I promise) is paranormal and dystopian mixed with science-fiction and fantasy. This is my favorite, but not my one and only. I read adult and young adult titles in these genres. Let me explain why:
There is NOTHING like reading a book that is so gripping, so exciting that you can barely stand it. Then talking about it with the world — whether your real life friends or your blogger friends or your Twitter friends — with quick words or quick typing fingers. The “OMG!” and “WHAT?!?” conversations about books are the BEST, and these conversations (at least, in my experience) are happening with the paranormal, the dystopian, the post-apocalyptic, the sci-fi, the fantasy books! Zombies and Vampires, Mr. Article Writer. Zombies and Vampires…
From my experience, these books are so popular because of their WOW factor. And the WOW factor extends from the young adult ages into the adult ages, so even suggesting that we’re dumbing-down our culture is stupid. Even the not-so-great zombie and vampire books breeds bookish conversation, which breeds more reading.
If the confusion and opinions of the writer of that article mirror those of the world, then I think the world needs to get a grip and move on to some real issues.
There’s a little something for everyone out there. It’s the same as everyone having their own way of making their coffee or tea, and everyone enjoying their own styles of music. There’s room enough for everyone and their individual reading preferences in this world. Why don’t we spend more time being EXCITED that people are READING then worrying about WHAT people are reading and if it is regressing our culture? I’d happily interact with a reader who is super-duper excited about zombies, vampires, and comics ANY DAY over a stuffy ole’ judgmental reader who only reads classical literature for enlightenment and questions me because I enjoy the paranormal stuff.