Reading Shame

In the Sunday Book Review portion of the NYT there was an article titled “Is there Anything One Should Feel Ashamed of Reading?” While I want the answer to be a resounding no, I must admit that I don’t read certain things because of a stigma. Perhaps not because I would be ashamed but because there’s definitely a, “you’re reading that?” kind of attitude to certain genres. Like romance. Or hard core sci-fi. Romance is expected if you’re an older single woman. Sci-fi is expected if you’re a nerdy looking middle aged man. We just don’t typically associate those genres outside a certain stereotype of reader. Which is sad. So perhaps I’ll pick up one of those books soon just so I can feel vindicated in not being ashamed about anything I read. I have seen some great reviews lately of an old cult class, Duke & I by Julia Quinn.

“No one should be ashamed, ever, of anything at all, right? Not now, not today.”

That being said, I think kids are most definitely struck with a certain shame when reading. One of the guys writing this column describes his feelings about this when he was young.

“Back in fourth grade I did something similar when, enthralled by Little Men, I moved on to Little Women. Because the title made it sound like a girls’ book, I covered my copy with a brown paper wrapper, not realizing that this probably made Little Women seem even more embarrassing.”

If we stop shaming kids for reading certain kinds of books then we wouldn’t have this problem as adults. We could read whatever we want and become better for it. Better yet, stop caring about what other people are reading and just read what you want. All of it! All the time! YAY BOOKS!


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