Friday, May 11, 2012

why the f*ck friday (2)

Welcome to a new weekly meme post. I'll be asking myself a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "Why the f*ck should I have to care?"


I had an incident with a coworker this week over a book. She was excited to be reading something and I asked her flatly "Is it an adult book?" She responded back that it was and I said "I don't care." She then struggled to explain the plot me. To save us both time and frustration I told her "I'm never going to read it. Don't explain it to me. We're not going to discuss it and I'm just going to glaze over while you talk about it. Just. Stop. Thank you."

While that was rude on my part I have often wondered why I have to care what a coworker or acquaintance is reading? It's a deeper question than that, though. Because I glaze over and tune out when people are telling me about things they've read all the time. It's not that I don't care, it's that my reading habits are very different.

Okay. Really? I don't care. The excuse is that my reading habits tend to differ from most adults. For instance: most adults don't read YA, most adults read an average of one book a year, most adults don't like reading and tend to force themselves through a book, most adults watch television more than me (at least this is what it's like where I live).

So the question isn't why the f*ck should I care anymore. It's why the f*ck should anyone care what I'm reading? I'm not anyone special, but I do tend to mention this blog, I do tend to mention reading a lot, and I could talk the right person's head off for an hour. I could sit around and Twitter at you guys all day and discuss Insurgent for weeks because you guys are the right people.

The Right People (a list):

  • Coworkers who read.
  • Bloggers and internet people who read.
  • Family members that read.
  • Friends who read.


The Wrong People (a list):

  • Strangers.
  • Coworkers who don't read.
  • Family members who don't read.
  • Friends who don't read.


Maybe I'm just asking for it: I mention books because they're central to my life. This week I talked about koalas for a good five minutes because I read it in some book. Next week I could be discussing how toasters are made.

Their face when you explain you haven't
heard of that particular book.
I think I'm running out of energy. Any reader has experienced this frustration. The moment where you're reading in public and you get asked asinine questions like "Are you reading that?" "What's it about?" "Is it any good?" "Have you read (insert book you've never heard of)?"

For readers there's this whole big universe of books, for non-readers who read that one book a month but claim the reader title: there's a universe of ten authors, and if you haven't heard of them it's a f*cking travesty.

So here's my question: why the f*ck should I care? I don't, so I don't feel obligated to go through the chit chat associated with a book I'm not interested in. I think it's a time saver for me to just say "No." Or is it rude?

The odd part of this entire incident is that I've fulfilled a fantasy of mine: that fantasy involved telling someone I didn't care what they're reading, and that if they wanted to, they could always start a blog. Rude or not I feel satisfied that she's enjoying her book, I'm enjoying mine, and that we don't have to talk about it.


And those are my thoughts for this week's why the f*ck friday. Feel free to dispute me or berate me below. I enjoy hearing the bookish and nerdy thoughts of others.

38 comments:

  1. Perhaps you could find a reaction that fits somewhere between Caring and Being a Dick.

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  2. Love this question/post!! You are my kind of people! Why wouldn't adults read YA? They were a teen, they may have teens, and it's freaking brilliant! I think most people key in on the young part of it and assume its an easier reading level. Not always the case. I know people ask what I'm reading and give me the funny look when I say it's a ya or describe the book. But oh we'll, they asked and I like it.

    Ive suffered listening to people go on about books I don't care to read. I tune em out. Now I pay attention to the cover, author or title before asking questions. If I don't know, I don't ask.

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    1. I have found some YA novels to be much more complicated than some "adult books".

      I think the problem in this instance is that I didn't ask and I didn't care to know. So I found it extra annoying.

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  3. 1. I love this feature!
    2. I definitely can relate. It's so frustrating talking to a non-reader about books. It's like "dude. No. You don't know what you're talking about. Just stop." Lol

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    1. 1. Tequila Kitteh (that's the name of te mascot for this post) thanks you.

      2. Yes! Exactly. But remember, they're allowed to be an expert because they read that one book this year. Or Twilight.

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    2. 1. Tequila Kitteh? Nice! Up for adoption? :P
      2. Hahaha very well put

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  4. Gah I completely understand the frustration of this post. When people go to tell me about what they're reading (the wrong people; not the right people, as you said) and then are shocked that I'm "supposedly an avid reader but haven't read a single Alex Cross (by James Patterson) novel" (real quote) I'm just like no, please. No.

    Also I have found that there are a shocking amount of adults (maybe this is just my family) exempting my Aunt who is a librarian, who simply do not understand what YA is. A few holidays ago, I attempted to explain what I review on my book blog (also explained 'what the hell a book blog is') immediately asked if I read "Twilight" and then proceeded to ask if I was a little old for 'children's books' because obviously if it's called 'Young Adult' and it's not "Twilight" then it's a children's book. (Which, I suppose, if you want to be really technical, it is BUT not with such a negative connotation.) But that's a different issue entirely. :P So yeah everything I read is dismissible to a lot of people but I MUST PICK UP an Alex Cross book, apparently.

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    1. Right! Right! RIGHT! I love this comment. I have had the exact same experience, except it was Clive Cussler.

      It is hard to pin down what YA is. It encompasses a large amour of sub genres as well. So I feel your pain. And speaking as an adult, I will read whatever strikes my fancy.

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  5. That is not rude at all. I glass over all the time with co-workers about a lot of things...not just books.

    I am older than you, read YA, read more than 1 book a month, and next to never watch TV...so be careful about stereotyping adults. And YES...I do care about what you are reading. There are A LOT of great books that I NEVER would have discovered if you hadn't been talking about them.

    While we may have different opinions on some books...that is what makes discussing them that much more enjoyable. I appreciate getting someone else's perspective. Clearly...Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter isn't a 1* book to everyone and Divergent/Insurgent isn't on everyone's 5* shelf.

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    1. Thank you!

      I think I've reached a point where I've been diplomatic enough. I can't only go so far with some people.

      I almost consider unsolicited book advice as worse as unsolicited life advice.

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  6. I'm a librarian and it amazes me when people come in ready to read a book and as soon as I tell them it's a YA they suddenly don't want to read it or my co-workers feel the need to warn the patron that it's YA. Or they read it and go "It was good for a YA book."

    We talk a lot about books, and for the most part my co-workers all have similar tastes. That being said, I'm picky about what I read so it bugs me when I say I don't read a particular author and the person goes on and on and on about them and how great the books are and I should read it.

    I also can't stand people who just assume because I read a certain genre I read all books in that genre. You do one reading challenge about men in uniform and now every romance about a man in uniform is brought to your attention.

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    1. Thank you for commenting!

      I mean, I guess I'm guilty of this as well. Except I have found myself saying "It was good... for a celebrity biography."

      Oh gosh. I get that about science fiction. I say "I like science fiction." And then about ninety scifi authors get named. I'm not sure people are aware of how many books are published every year.

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  7. I love this post. It is my favorite by far. Bonus points for using George Costanza as a diagram.

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    1. Sometimes I invoke the Great Constanza to help me out on the blog.

      Delete
  8. I guess I'm lucky in that I work in the children's department, but I ran into this in my MA program. However, I was lucky to have professor who encouraged me to pursue whatever I wanted and a lot of my classmates, if they haven't come around to all my book loves they don't talk down to me because they get to know me. It's become more pleasant to surround myself with people I care about and who care about me than to bug out about people who don't. I'm lucky to have found a group, but it took awhile.
    I kinda think you come off as rude in your example, but then you don't give a lot of context for that one exchange.
    I guess I wonder, are you unhappy where you are, like seriously dissatisfied and need a change, or venting? Everyone vents. It's normal. And it is rough to have a live and let live (or read and let read) when others really insist on not reciprocating. So yeah.
    But you also have decent support here, so there's that.

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    1. I can't really give much context for it. While those are almost my exact words; they were a lot more kinder sounding coming from me. She wasn't offended as far as I could tell.

      I'm not really venting, not really doing anything, actually (it's easier for me to talk about books than it is insurance, I guess that's something to vent about). I was just wondering why I have to listen to something I have no interest in listening to. But then again if that were the case people would be telling me to shut up all the time.

      I love you guys. You're why I haven't just closed down my blog and walked away.

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    2. Aww, shucks.
      I guess the "I was just wondering why I have to listen to somethig I have no interest in listening to" could also be called "social niceties." You don't actually have to employ them -- clearly I don't when I shoot you a snarky tweet that, sans context, sounds jerky, and I know several people who choose to forego said social niceties because *another* synonym for social niceties is, of course, BS.
      As long as you're comfortable with that and have good friend, good books, and good booze (and snacks and a place to take a nap in the sunshine every once in awhile), then buddy, you're coming out ahead in life.
      Also, this guy just walked by and his tshirt reads "We Rent Goats." For what purpose, other than dastardly, would a person need to rent a goat??

      Delete
    3. You put it so kindly... I love snarky tweets. Even when directed at me, though.

      I'm getting over social niceties. They take too long and I have books to read, darn it.

      I am comfortable, I have a good friend, I have a great blogging community, and tons of wine. I think I'm good.

      It could be a stage goat. For movies and stuff. #bestguess

      Delete
    4. Idaho's burgeoning film industry would have goats.

      Hey, maybe they'll film the Thor sequel here and I'll get to meet that dreamy-yet-misunderstood Loki! *dreams*

      I have perhaps said too much...

      Delete
  9. I love this post. It's very rare to find the right kind of person who shares the same reading style and it always seems that the wrong people are the ones that find you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

    It's kind of like when you're friends start having kids and they talk about nothing but their kids all the time. I don't think it's rude to say you're not interested. I mean, if a neoNazi sat next to me, I wouldn't be interested or feel obligated to hear them out, so why would someone with what I feel is boring taste in books get my time and attention.

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    1. Yes! I can't seem to find anyone else who enjoys YA except for people on the internet. I might not even know about some great authors if it weren't for this blog.

      Good example. See, the things about friends having kids, though, is that I'm single without kids... so that kind of puts a hamper on the friendship. But still, great example.

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    2. I also had to make my boyfriend a reader. I fell in love with him before he admitted that he wasn't really a reader. (His reading for college classes through me). I don't normally condone the "shape up or ship out" mentality, but something had to be done or our relationship would not have worked out.

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  10. I love this post.

    I work in a bookstore.. I love YA and a few other genres. I do not enjoy Non Fiction..it's really hard for me to find something that interests me. But those all tend to be the MOST OBNOXIOUS customers. When I'm ringing you up, unless I comment on the book you are buying bc I've read it and want you to know there is another in the series or by the same author..I don't want to talk about your reading choices. Please don't go ON AND ON AND ON when I don't give a f*ck about what you are buying....really I'm not going to buy it or read it ever...so just walk away with your book and leave me alone so I can ring up another customer or go back to doing whatever I was doing before you started your rant.

    Thanks....haha

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    1. Oh goodness. I couldn't work in a bookstore. It would drive me bonkers because I've heard the questions you guys get asked. I once heard a woman ask "I'm looking for a book. It has a red cover. I don't know the title or who wrote it..."

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    2. Actually I got asked those types of questions a lot when I worked at Chapters. 9 times out of 10 I could tell exactly what book they were talking about. Unfortunately, that was because it was usually an Oprah Book.

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    3. "Have you read that one where they walk around America and everyone is dead?"

      "Yes. It's called The Road."

      "Have you read that one where they..."

      "Yes. It's called The Road."

      That went on for about a year, and it still happens ever now and then.

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  11. Nice post.I Your post reminds me of the ordeal my sister had to go trough just to get to read whatever book she chose, at any time she chose to.
    My sister and I come from a very small country. To this day I don't know if they have public libraries there.We did not know book stores or libraries existed until we came to the USA and got introduced to them in High School.

    The point to this long back story is this: My sister married someone from that small country. She literally had to fight with her husband and in laws to stop bugging her about reading and always "having her nose in a book". After many discussions,(i.e. it's like watching TV except you are imagining it in your head instead of watching it on the screen), they finally gave in. She was happy UNTIL they started bringing her all the books they could find at yard sales. She was annoyed. She had to educate them. Just because one likes to read does not mean you want to read or hear about ANY/every book out there.
    So, good for you for standing your ground.

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    1. Thank you!

      I can't imagine going through that ordeal only to come out with too much help. I find it mind boggling frustrating.

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  12. I don't have many friends or family that like to read so I am usually the one talking to them about something they don't care about lol. But when it comes to other things I don't mind listening since they take the time to let me jabber on.

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    1. I wonder if it's the same in families where they watch a lot of TV but everyone enjoys a different genre. Like "Oh gosh. Here Frank goes on his reality TV tangent again."

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  13. LOL I can relate to this post! It's so funny when non-reader friends tell me that they've read something really good and they want to talk to me about it but I'm not really interested because it's not something that I've read. I don't go for bestsellers and that's what usually what non-readers pick up. So frustrating when people assume that just because you're a reader, you've probably read well-known titles.

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    1. I might go for bestsellers off of the bestseller YA list, but I haven't read Stephen King or any of those people in decades.

      Well of course! You're a reader so you've heard of every author. Right? Right?

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  14. I just read this again. Why? I don't know. I don't even know.

    Just be nice, even to the extremely neurotic people.

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    1. I will be completely nice to the extremely neurotic people.

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