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Old 02-06-2021, 01:30 PM   #1
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Article on Readers Versus "Book People"

Thoughts on these two opposing articles?

I saw Book Riot's objection response first to alert me to the original article.
Back-Talking The Tone Police: Book People Are Not Your Enemy . The writer objects to what she/he sees as a condescending tone toward "book people".

I went to read the original article, We Have to Save Books from the Book People, and the main theme of it is initially defending the integrity of the all-mighty classic from those readers who embrace social media to the point where they are, as the article states later, "flattening genres", whatever that means.

I agree with a few points in the main article to an extent, but it takes an unusual turn later and seems to turn into an almost rant against "book people", who I'm supposing from the article's intent to say aren't the real, serious readers?

The paragraph rant further down the article starts with this -


"A reader is someone who is in the habit of reading. A Book Person has turned reading into an identity. A Book Person participates in book culture. Book People refer to themselves as “bookworms” and post Bookstagrams of their “stacks.” They tend towards language like “I love this so hard” or “this gave me all the feels” and enjoy gentle memes about buying more books than they can read and the travesty of dog-eared pages. They build Christmas trees out of books. They write reviews on Goodreads and read book blogs and use the hashtag #amreading when they are reading. They have TBR (to be read) lists and admit to DNFing (did not finish). They watch BookTube and BookTok. They love a stuffed shelf but don’t reject audiobooks and e-readers; to a Book Person, reading is reading is reading."

Definition aside of "book people", the paragraph alone is not necessarily damning, but it continues to where it's more of a mocking tone.

Can a "real reader" versus a "book people" not do the same thing in regard to:

"Book People often feel they’re being demeaned or mocked for liking genre fiction or listening to audiobooks. They also tend to buy into the idea that books are a kind of empathy machine—that reading good books can make you a better person—which makes books that explore ambiguous morality nothing short of dangerous. "
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:35 PM   #2
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Personally, I think the article on Book Riot hones in on what the article writer objects to and got offended by, leaving out some of the main points of the article in the first place --- but that the original article does end up in a bizarre, almost finger-pointing line. Ironically "We Have to Save Books from the Book People" seems to in its way warn against a type of eliticism that can exclude certain books or tropes, but then seems to want to grow a line between "readers" and "book people", mocking and minimizing the latter.

To believe in this is to assume "book people" in the definition given cannot actually be true, legit readers in comparison to an "actual reader". This is something I find strange, as you'd think being a reader and lover of books can transform some into "book people" when they meet the book world on social media platforms and want to delve into that further - BookTube, BookTwitter, BookTok, Blogs, Goodreads reviews as mentioned, Pictures of books on instagram. I'm certainly not assuming that means they're not 'serious readers'.

I proudly self-identify as both as "reader" and "book people" from these definitions. I haven't been one who makes a bookish Christmas tree, but I'll admit I've been slightly tempted Hell, this weekend I'm participating for the third year in a row in the #24in48 weekend read-a-thon, challenges on Twitter and Goodreads, my Instagram feed is mainly books, etc., etc.

I'm also curious on mentioning e-books and audiobooks in some of these examples. Curious on others thoughts on both articles.
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:34 PM   #3
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I've been a reader all my life, but I've never been a book person the way it's described here. Not because I think there's something wrong with that, but because I enjoy reading as a private and solitary activity. I'm not interested in discussing books or swapping recommendations. But certainly I don't think that people doing so aren't serious readers. Perhaps a few enjoy the show more than the actual reading, but surely they're a minority.

Now I'm certainly one of "the e-reader people", being an active member of MR. I don't use social media practically at all, so no points there.
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:40 PM   #4
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I found "We Have to Save Books from the Book People" irritating, full of strawmen and silly gatekeeping. Basically, it gasps "Oh no, someone is enjoying books The Wrong Way!"

I found it somewhat amusing that the author writes "Book People often feel they’re being demeaned or mocked for liking genre fiction or listening to audiobooks." in an article which, as far as I can tell, mocks so called "Book People" for liking genre fiction and listening to audiobooks.

I'd guess the article is written mostly to accumulate hate clicks.

"Back-Talking The Tone Police: Book People Are Not Your Enemy" is a good rebuttal.
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:16 AM   #5
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Even in the 18th C. there were people that stocked their library and showed it off but didn't actually read books.

One solution is to totally ignore Social Media and read a book instead.
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:44 AM   #6
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Even in the 18th C. there were people that stocked their library and showed it off but didn't actually read books.

One solution is to totally ignore Social Media and read a book instead.


Exactly! Unfortunately, humans have this horrible tendancy to feel compelled to compare things and declare whatever THEY like to be superior to everything else.

Reading is a singular activity as far as I'm concerned and I read for MY pleasure. I couldn't care less what anyone else is reading or what they think about my reading material.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:05 AM   #7
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My reaction to the articles tends toward “a plague on both your houses.” I’m finding it hard to see why people care on either side, except internet. People will like what they like.

In essence, it’s a recurring argument here; see, for example, this thread. As far as I understand the camps, I’m more a reader than a book person. And if I’m honest, the arguments in the pro-“reader” article resonate more with me. I think people should be familiar with the classics, that no hardship is done to schoolchildren by making them read them, that Lolita is a great novel and not an apologia for pedophilia, and that if you spend more time engaging in ancillary activities than actually reading, perhaps you don’t like to read as much as you think.

However, I also admit I think in terms of TBRs and will refer to DNFs, I keep lists of books read at Goodreads where I also pick up recommendations from like-minded people and I even participate in an internet forum that’s at least tangentially related to reading.

At base, this is about perceived snobbery and the resentment engendered by it. But I think those involved enjoy their respective high horses and/or outrage as the case may be and need the other to indulge.

ETA: cfrizz beat me to it and much more succinctly.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:49 AM   #8
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At base, this is about perceived snobbery and the resentment engendered by it. But I think those involved enjoy their respective high horses and/or outrage as the case may be and need the other to indulge.
Ah, that's what I was thinking of. And now instead of the letter page the Anti-Social Media amplifies the invective of every camp.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:03 PM   #9
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I can remember way back when I was in high school and genre books were looked down on by the what were called at the time, the literary types, those who though you should only read "high brow" books like were taught in English class. My take is read what you enjoy reading and don't worry about anyone else. I'm not real big on the whole Goodreads thing and all that, but it's easy enough to ignore if that's not your thing.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:05 PM   #10
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There are snobs everywhere, evidently now they're telling us what to read. I don't mind letting the snobs be snobs - that's their nature and it must give them some semblance of happiness. I actually find entertainment in musing about what goes on in the brains of these self proclaimed superior beings.

I'll call your Moby Dick and raise you a Dresden Files.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:22 PM   #11
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Reverse snobbery is still snobbery. There’s that verse about removing the mote in your own eye; both sides are bad at it.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:32 PM   #12
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Read a book, pet a book. Use social media, or don't. I don't care.
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:52 PM   #13
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Reading is a singular activity as far as I'm concerned and I read for MY pleasure. I couldn't care less what anyone else is reading or what they think about my reading material.
This is how I feel about reading books.
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:31 PM   #14
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Started the Jezebel article... "sci-fi/fantasy" "genre fiction" Who is flattening genres here?
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:50 PM   #15
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Read a book, pet a book. Use social media, or don't. I don't care.
I agree. Different tastes, and all that.

I admit, I am a bit puzzled at those people who post in this thread that they aren't interested in talking about books and reading with others online -- on a forum dedicated to talk about books and reading, and in a thread where we talk about different perceptions and tastes around books and reading
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