Article published on February 12, 2016.
One of my pet peeves is the way that certain books/genres are deemed more valuable, important or worthwhile than others and those who read outside of those favoured categories are criticised, especially by other readers. I went to a book event only last year where we were asked to introduce ourselves and say a little about our reading habits.
I had no hesitation in sharing that I preferred to read women’s fiction, YA and fantasy, but astonishingly this was met with judgement and scoffing from another reader. Fortunately, I’m absolutely comfortable in my reading habits and don’t feel any pressure or obligation to change, but it made me aware of the sort of prejudices, snobbery and competitiveness that can and do exist. And for me they have absolutely no place in reading.
Reading is about inclusivity not exclusivity, and all readers should feel free and confident to read whatever they want without fear of judgement or belittlement. The more genres available, the more choice there is, and the more people will find something they like reading and get the pleasure and joy from doing so. Reading is not a competition nor a race, there are no prizes for reading a certain genre or style. And whilst we all have some genres we’re not as keen on – yes me too, but I’m not going to tell you which – they all have their place and are worthy and valuable to their readership.
What I love about NB/Nudge and the six communities is that they celebrate this diversity, don’t dismiss any genre out of hand and hold them all with the same regard, which is a true rarity. I’m looking forward to giving the BookGeek genres their rightful spotlight and showcasing what they have to offer. But above all I hope other readers will be proud to be BookGeeks (or BookDivas/BookChaps etc) and won’t ever feel cornered into believing otherwise. But if anyone tells you sci-fi/fantasy/YA doesn’t matter, just send them my way.
The Maker of Swans by Paraic O’Donnell