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Old 02-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #106
fjtorres
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Originally Posted by alucarda View Post
How am I wrong?
Over-statement.
"You are what you read" kinda implies that the content of a book defines you.
Problem is, that logic can take you to weird places.
Reading a romantic book doesn't make you a romantic anymore than reading a (modern) book where the protagonist is an unrepentant racist make you a KKK member.

This whole thread is precisely about the myths that try to link specific reading genres to stereotypical cliches; "LitFic readers are snobbish brie and wine, liberal arts graduates incapable of programming a DVR!" being just one. "Or, comic book readers are nerds and geeks incapable of even talking to a member of the opposite sex."

You may or not have meant it that way but that is what "you are what you read" leads to.

Some of us are eclectic enough in our reading that nothing we read comes even close to defining us in any way. And even if all a person reads is from one genre, that still doesn't tell you anything about their personality, IQ, social skills, or grooming habits, other than the fact that they like to read that particular genre for unfathomable reasons.

Humans are complicated and their habits and rationale for doing anything tends to be irrational so they can't be summarized in short-n-snappy sentences. Trying to do so tends to annoy many of them, too.

It may not be *wrong* to try it but it does bring pushback.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:53 AM   #107
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fjtorres, I said, "You are what you read. Or at least some part of you is."
How convenient for you to drop the last part of my statement.
I never claimed that I want to summarize the individual based on their reads. That would be ridiculous.
And identifying people with books is really your misrepresentation of what I said. Yes Im so naive (and possibly crazy?) I think I'm an Elf because I read Lord of the Rings /sarcasm

My point is choices a person makes in reading does say something about who they are. (I guess we have to agree to disagree here) Is that such a radical idea? It doesn't explain them 100% but if someone is reading only one type of books chances they will have much more to talk about (regarding these books) with someone who does the same thing then me. Providing I never read their type of books, or that I simply don't appreciate that genre.

And I appreciate you saying that people personalities are complicated, but I think our choices do say something about us.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:14 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alucarda View Post
My point is choices a person makes in reading does say something about who they are.
And I appreciate you saying that people personalities are complicated, but I think our choices do say something about us.
And I think you can't tell anything *meaningful* from the outside.
That is the disagreement.
Trying to analyze people (without a personal relationship) based on any one facet of their habits is going to lead you astray more often than not.

All that you can glean from what a person reads is that they read that.
The linkages simply don't generalize.
(Shrug)

Mostly I was pointing out why you got blowback; the statement is overbroad.
You can believe what you want but, right or wrong, stating it that way will bring reaction.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:20 AM   #109
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I like to read Golden Age pulp S/F. E.E. Smith, C.L.Moore/Henry Kuttner, the big guns, of course.

Of course, I like to read other things, too.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:35 AM   #110
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Well, if you are what you read, I am a quite strange mix of many things ... I like high-brow classics but also enjoyed reading some of the kids' fantasy books.

I think I am both a snob myself and the target of snobbery. I'd sometimes sneer (at least secretly) when I see that people only read the cheesy stuff. But I've also been laughed at for liking Harry Potter, and I can stand that.
To be honest, I don't want to be seen in public with everything I read, I do appreciate the discrete outer look of my Kindle ... not that I'd really read stuff like 50 Shades, but still ...
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:41 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
And I think you can't tell anything *meaningful* from the outside.
That is the disagreement.
Trying to analyze people (without a personal relationship) based on any one facet of their habits is going to lead you astray more often than not.

All that you can glean from what a person reads is that they read that.
The linkages simply don't generalize.
(Shrug)

Mostly I was pointing out why you got blowback; the statement is overbroad.
You can believe what you want but, right or wrong, stating it that way will bring reaction.
Everything we do brings back a reaction. You haven't said anything new there.
And I think in choosing books we will read, we act. We do. So that also brings back a reaction.

And you're oversimplifying my words again.
"Trying to analyze people (without a personal relationship) based on any one facet of their habits is going to lead you astray more often than not."
I was doing no such thing. I simply stated that choices you make in reading can tell me what your preferences are. I ask again, what is radical about that? Lets say I know you have read 100 romance novels last year. No non-fiction, no historical novels, no fantasy, no sci-fi.
I will have very little to talk about the books with you since I read none. And the fact that you read only romance and I read none tells about the temperament and character of both of us. This is what I meant by sensibility.
Is that so hard to get? Maybe we both love parrots and we can chit chat about them for hours and relate on that level, but books? No.

Judith Butler talks about "suspended judgment". And I agree with her in terms of judging the individual ethically. But this doesn't apply to your reading preference if all you do is read romance/whatever. I am not judging your moral character, I'm simply judging your reading preference based on the books you have read. Radical isn't it?

Forgot to add, it is never simply one habit only. We rarely have conclusions about perfect strangers. And if we do, they usually dont mean much to us anyway. It is much more common to relate to a friend, a parent, a co-worker, a lover.

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Old 02-22-2013, 09:05 AM   #112
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I don't think you are a book snob just because you read or don't read specific genres and don't see the attraction in other people's tastes. I don't like trashy romances nor war stories, books about vampires and historic fiction leave me cold, but it doesn't mean I look down on those kinds of books, or people who only maybe only read about vampires. It's just different tastes.

Quote:
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And I appreciate you saying that people personalities are complicated, but I think our choices do say something about us.
Yes, what your reading preferences are, and that's about it.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:12 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by alucarda View Post
And the judgment began
How am I wrong? Is it because I accept that I can't relate to all the people on reading level? I think that's only realistic. Do you think I can discuss about Foucault (I'm currently reading Society Must Be Defended and I love Foucault hihi) with somebody who mostly reads tripe like Harlequin romance?

I just said I cant relate to them on that level, I never said I think I'm better person because of it. There are more levels to humans and this thing called empathy that if you practice it can make you appreciate other people's views. But I don't have the sensibility to read romance or erotica. It doesn't challenge or inspire me in any way. I don't find it enjoyable. Its not for me and what's wrong with that? I would guess that being more selective about your books is usually a good thing.

"It's that attitude that helps snobs."
What? Is there some snob conspiracy that I don't know about? I want credit if I'm helping

And speaking of fantasy, I have no problem with fantasy with romantic elements. I simply don't care for romance with fantasy elements.
Ok, the wrong I meant was to choose to make a judgement to not even open a conversation. How you help the snobs is that the lack of conversation. You have either become one or reinforced their belief in their snobery. IMO
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:26 AM   #114
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Yes, what your reading preferences are, and that's about it.
Yes of course. But what do reading preferences mean? Do they have any background behind them? You don't choose books randomly do you?
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Originally Posted by auntykatkat View Post
Ok, the wrong I meant was to choose to make a judgement to not even open a conversation. How you help the snobs is that the lack of conversation. You have either become one or reinforced their belief in their snobery. IMO
But people do open conversations. Its not a prejudice. Its experience based decision not to bother anymore. Because previous 50 conversations about books with that person brought nothing of value. As I said, I dont care about perfect strangers. Its the people you have relationships that are center of my claims.
Again, this is not some social movements of snobs. This is dynamics of relationship between two people.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:49 AM   #115
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I only recall one incident as an adult when a work colleague sneered (and I really mean sneered) at the fact that I read Dan Brown (wasn't reading it at the time but I was discussing it with another and the snob said something like "... I did not expect you to read that rubbish...").
To paraphrase the other discussion in this Thread, it actually told me something about his character.

But it did not make me angry. Rather, I felt a bit of pity for him.

I'm inured to book snobbery anyway as, while growing up, I was constantly criticised by my father (and uncles and grandfather and their friends) for reading "novels" this being equated to a total waste of time and it was even thought that it somehow harmed me (nobody could explain to me how).

My problem now is that because I'm seen to read a lot, some people believe that I want to read anything and everything and they try to push their recommendations on me regardless of asking if these books are even in my favourite genres, etc.
And some, when I don't jump at the opportunity, seem to take offence...
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:51 AM   #116
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I like to read Golden Age pulp S/F. E.E. Smith, C.L.Moore/Henry Kuttner, the big guns, of course.

Of course, I like to read other things, too.

Same here - this is my kind of old-timey SF, although I'm not certain I'd read Smith in public anymore. (Well, at least not with an old pulp in my hands!)

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Old 02-22-2013, 09:51 AM   #117
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Yes of course. But what do reading preferences mean? Do they have any background behind them? You don't choose books randomly do you?
But people do open conversations. Its not a prejudice. Its experience based decision not to bother anymore. Because previous 50 conversations about books with that person brought nothing of value. As I said, I dont care about perfect strangers. Its the people you have relationships that are center of my claims.
Again, this is not some social movements of snobs. This is dynamics of relationship between two people.
My husband doesn't read at all. I don't watch wrestling. Yet we talk about the books I'm reading all the time, and I know which wrestlers are which, and who's the good guy and bad guy this week. Everybody is different. It depends on your relationship with the person I think. Even though we're not interested in each others hobbies for ourselves, we like to talk about them anyway. Just to talk about what we're doing/watching/reading. I had a heck of a time explaining the Wool series to him .
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #118
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I've solved the whole problem by never discussing the books I read with anyone whose opinions I want to continue giving a damn about.

But seriously... it usually just doesn't even occur to me to care about what someone else might think of my reading preferences. Reading's always been a "hurrah for me and f*** you" type of event anyway. I'm perfectly content to have my favorites all to myself.

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Old 02-22-2013, 11:20 AM   #119
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I love space opera, military SF, historical romance, contemporary romance, fantasy (yea, even Robert Jordan), "women's" fiction, some lit fic, historical fiction, some classics, nonfiction (especially in the sciences and social sciences), all up and down the "quality" spectrum.

One of the things I love about my kindle is that I can read my book and no one else would ever know that I am reading a gay werewolf romance unless I tell them. I'm not exactly ashamed of it but when someone is putting aside their Very Serious Book to ask what I'm reading, it can be embarrassing.

On the other hand, I like reviewing the books I read. I like finishing a bad book and giving it a bad (I try to be fair and non-malicious) review almost as much as I like finishing a decent book and giving it a decent review. A wonderful book is another matter--that's a higher enjoyment independent of reviewing it for others. That's why I like goodreads--there's no embarrassment in reading your gay vampire romance if your entire group has chosen it as book of the month (but maybe I don't have my churchy MIL friend me on goodreads either!)
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #120
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We have the "scornful of fantasy" crowd, who can't see the appeal in "things that aren't real / can't happen", and so there's obviously something wrong with me for reading it. Then we have those that are scornful of romance. I'm sure I don't even have to explain all the ways this one can go downhill. This can come from men or women, though usually with different complaints. My favorite is "reading romance gives women false expectations".
Or they say it's "porn for women"--um, no it's not. If I'm enjoying this book for the story, it ain't porn. No insult to woman-centered porn here, but romance isn't it.
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