Tagged: book snob

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Reviews for The Night Circus ranged from the breathless to the middling  to the damning, but popular opinion leans towards the breathless. “Beautiful!” “Magical!” “Like watching a movie!”

For me, this doesn’t bode well. I tend to look down on books that are “too” popular (book snob, remember?) and when I DO believe the hype, I’m often let down. I tried to go into The Night Circus without expectation, but I did buy into the idea that this would be a heavy-on-imagery, light-on-plot kind of book; and that was just fine, after reading a book that was very heavy (literally.) I looked forward to losing myself in a Victorian romance. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I am inspired by Eat Books and the many others who participated today. I’m going to try to slip under the wire here, as there are only about 30 mins left of Tuesday!

1. I used to steal my mom’s Harlequin Romances and secretly read them. I was so scandalized! I’m glad 50 Shades wasn’t around in the 90s.

2. I don’t have much attachment to my books. I mostly read library books, but even the ones that I do own, I wouldn’t care if someone borrowed and didn’t return, or spilled something. I feel like the words are still “out there,” so the physical copy that I own doesn’t matter too much.

3. I am HARD on my books. I put glasses of water on top of them. I break bindings. I fold pages. They fall down the side of my bed and get squished. This sort of goes hand in hand with #2.

4. I’ve never listened to an audio book.

5. I resist reading anything that’s too popular (see my post Book Snob.) Sometimes I break down and enjoy myself (The Help) and sometimes want to poke my eyes out (The DaVinci Code.)

6. I read in the bathroom. I have a drawer that always has a few books. Growing up, we always had books of quotations in our bathroom, and so did my grandparents. I kind of want to buy one for this purpose, even though those books must be pretty archaic, as I gather everyone gets their inspirational quotes from Pintrest these days.

7. I didn’t read for six months after my first son was born. I think it was a symptom of postpartum depression. Thinking back, I have no idea how I didn’t read for that long.

8. I judge people who don’t read. I’m sure this surprises no one.

9. My husband was a non-reader for a long time. He’s set a goal of a book per month this year, but he’s reading mostly non-fiction. I do not get how anyone can no read fiction. Gah!!

10. I’m reading about ten pages per day, due to wild children and sleep deprivation. It kills me, because it’s really hard to keep a story straight at this pace, but it’s what I can do for now. I cannot wait until I can read like a normal person again.

Okay, this was far too easy. I could probably write 10 more. Anyone else want to share?

More Snobbery

I came across this article satirizing book clubs on Jezebel. The article had me chuckling, but the comments are even better, and are in the same vein as my “Book Snob” post the other day. Hunger Games, Twilight, Fifty Shades; it’s all there. And Franzen, who I seem to talk about a lot, judging by my “most used tags.”

My feelings are summed up by an article title, referenced in the comments: “Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong? Yes.” It’s a review of Harry Potter by Harold Bloom, full text here. A great moment in book snobbery!

I had better finish The Idiot if I want to have any book snob cred. I ordered a Kobo reading light which should help that cause considerably. In the meantime, I added the full list of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (see “The List” tab up top), with the ones I’ve read crossed off, for your perusal. I love crossing items off lists, so pressing Alt-Shift-D one hundred times (to format the strike-throughs) was quite enjoyable!

Book Snob

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” Henry David Thoreau

(A bit of humility before I go into why I’m so good at reading and you’re not: I spent half an hour searching for the above quote. I could remember the jist, but not the actual words or the author. Then I noticed that it is literally the first thing I ever posted on this blog.)

This about sums it up. Via Perez Hilton.

I’m a book snob. I’ve been feeling extra snobby lately, and I blame Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s all I hear about on forums, Facebook, and Twitter. But wait – isn’t it a fan fiction of a young adult novel, not to mention very poorly written and edited? Okay, it’s racy, but so are lots of novels, from romance to erotica. That’s nothing new. So, what gives? And why does it bother me?

“Fifty Shades Fever” feels like the culmanation of a bigger trend towards adults reading “young adult” and/or just plain *bad* novels. And I do not mean “so bad it’s good.” I lurk in a few book challenge discussions online (people trying to read 25 or 50 books in one year), and lots of them are reading chick lit after chick lit book. Why bother? What’s the point of a challenge if it’s not challenging?

I realize that these feelings make me a snob of the worse kind. Why do I care what people read?  Who am I to decide what’s worthy of a reader’s time? But… I can’t help myself! As the Thoreau quote suggests, there are SO MANY good books. More than anyone will ever read. I’ve been working at the 1,001 books list for FIVE YEARS and I’ve read 10% of it. And I started at around 5%. I get that people are looking for a fun read or escapism, but it’s unfathomable, and even offensive, that people spend so much time reading terrible books!

The bad book by which all other bad books will be judged.

Of course, like most snobs, I think it’s okay to go slumming as long as it’s done ironically. Some work colleagues are running a fantastic bad book club. I was lucky enough to sit in on a discussion of “Flowers in the Attic”, that classic and horribly overwrought  ode to family dysfunction (and incest.) But, most of us read it for the first time as children, not adults. (Which, upon reflection, is pretty messed up – due to all that incest!)

It will probably surprise no one that I’m also a music snob, and in a former (pre-kids) life a clothes and bag snob. What can I say? I appreciate quality. And I’m judging you. Sorry. But, if you must read bad books, at least William Faulkner’s got your back:

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!”

What do you think? Do you consider yourself a book snob? Why are people freaking out about Fifty Shades and the like?