Friday, July 6, 2012

why the f*ck friday (9)

Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer 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 are you reading that?"

To really attempt to answer this question we have to go back approximately three days. All the way back ti July 3rd. Be prepared for a mental flash back that comes out like a bad Vietnam war film.

It was humid and hot. The Man With the Sunglasses had just discovered my blog. He leaned forward and asked a question that was more a statement: "You read a lot of girly books." To which I replied back "You eat a lot of Cheeto's." It was true. He ate a lot of Cheeto's. "People will think you're gay he said." I kindly started walking away stating that "People will think you're fat."

I suppose that there's an issue here that I don't know about. That reading something like A Northern Light or Sarah Dessen novels should be taboo for a male. Well, boo-fucking--hoo I tell people. To most guys I tell them "You'd have something to talk about with most girls if you read Twilight." It's true. I'm certain there are some girls that can talk about the foooootttttballlll. But just about every woman can tell you about Twilight. To most girls who question what I"m reading. Oh wait. They don't question what I'm reading. They talk to me about it and love that a guy reads.

"You're right! I shouldn't
be reading that!" - said me, never
So, why the f*ck are you reading that? Not Twilight. That book you're not suppose to be reading. I've read Ann Coulter for fun, Ayn Rand to torture myself, and Sean Hannity because I wanted his bizarro point-of-view on a few things. Sometimes I read things for perspective or ideas. It's so I can have a better understanding of the world and other people.

Reading other things that are outside of my comfort zone doesn't make me a better reader. It makes me a more understanding person. I was once asked by a male coworker for help. He needed a graduation present for his girlfriend. Outside of years of dating advice I've also read a ton of books in which a female art student was a central character. That girl really appreciated her gift.

So, why the f*ck are you reading that? What genre gets you out of your comfort zone? Do you do this often? Is it a conscious choice? Have you had an experience where someone has told you you shouldn't be reading that? Do you know any book Nazis?

Side note: The Kindle is the greatest invention to grace this planet. It's saved me a lot of trouble. I can read a book with a pink cover without the pink cover. Of course, I'm now more public about my reading, but I'm also more prone to tell people to fuck off now.

That's it for this week's why the f*ck friday. Different opinion? Similar experience? Similar thoughts on this subject? Post it below in the comments. Feel free to berate me, praise me, or buy me some fancy coffee. You can even tell me to f*ck off and then buy me a coffee. I enjoy hearing the bookish and nerdy thoughts of others.

39 comments:

  1. I am actually coming from the other side of things lately. I see people reading Fifty Shades of Gray, or they mention it on facebook and I have to hold back from commenting because my mind is screaming WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU READING THAT TRIPE? DON'T YOU REALIZE HOW POORLY WRITTEN IT IS? IF YOU WANT TO READ EROTICA THEN PICK SOMETHING THAT WAS AT LEAST EDITED!

    This reaction does not endear me to my facebook friends.

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    Replies
    1. I find myself saying the same thing to people and I read the book. (It was a book club pick.)

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    2. I actually want to read these so I can find out just how horrible they are. A girl at work offered to let me borrow them. I don't think less of her for reading them. I think less of her for buying them.

      Amelia, a book club pick? What kind of literary discussion could you have about Twilight fan fic porn? Or did they just want to talk about fan fic porn?

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    3. It's a Romance Book Club associated with a big name books store and there was a chance the author was going to do a signing that month, so they told us to read the book.

      I missed most of the discussion because S.E. Hinton did a book talk and signing instead and I was totally in the front row enjoying the wonder that is S.E. Hinton.

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    4. It seems like the universe worked itself out on that one.

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  2. I'm kind of oldish in the YA world and people don't understand that YA is great! I often get, "why are you in the teen section?"* My response, "Uh, because I want to be. There is amazing stuff here!"

    As a female, we kind of get to read whatever and not be judged for it. I guess. Maybe I should find some manly man book and sit out in public and try to stay awake.

    *stupid shelf headers at Books-A-Million

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    Replies
    1. I think the Kindle has saved me a lot of hassle. I hate getting hassled and if someone said something to me about being in the YA section I'd probably get kicked out of the store. Thankfully the clerks do understand that people read all sorts of stuff--it's other people that are the real nuisance.

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    2. I work in a bookstore...and we have all sorts of people buying YA books..I read YA and I always try to recommend other YA to them no matter their age or who they are. I think there is a lot of creativity in the YA area and honestly most people are happy to have recommendations. I get more nervous going in the YA room of the library bc I think someone might say something to me...but noone has.

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  3. Over my lifetime, my choice of reading material has been fairly varied. Though I do prefer a driving storyline. I feel guilty if I don’t sprinkle a “classic” into my TBR, but I have gotten to the point where I don’t worry about this personal rule so much and just read what I want. Currently, I’ve also been reading a lot of Young Adult books.

    I also get sneered at for reading YA. But it’s by friends and family. Not all of them, thankfully. Some I’ve converted into lovers of the genre. And people don’t understand the number of books I read a year. If reading (ya) is what I choose to do in my free time, what do you care?

    Because of the number of questions that I have gotten about my preference for young adult fiction, I’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking about why I choose those books over others. Thankfully, the Internet at least has shown me that I am not the only non-teen reading them. I think it’s because my life can be emotionally draining at times, and YA books tend to be slightly lighter and end more happily. I don’t want to trudge through something that is going to end in utter death and destruction.

    This is the best explanation I’ve found for adult (moms) who prefer young adult books: http://www.babble.com/mom/health-fitness/ya-fiction-as-stress-reliever/ Although I know that this doesn’t apply to your life at all, some of the general principles are applicable to everyone who is a Reader. “Researchers at the University of Sussex confirm that reading a novel calmed individuals faster than other stress-relief activities such as taking a walk or drinking a cup of tea. Lead researcher Dr. David Lewis stated, “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”

    And bravo for walking away from the conversation with Mr. Cheetos. I'm sure staying wouldn't have led anywhere good...

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    1. Bonus points for converting people! I'm getting my friends into them. Sure, they're all girls, but I feel like that's more people who understand that YA can be a great genre.

      I sometimes wonder as well. I just like a good story. I like how fresh the characters can be to the world around them, unlike the adult ones where they're bitter and dark.

      That is a great reason to read. Sure, those don't apply to me, but the reading with ease and for story do.

      I don't talk to haters. Haters gonna hate.

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    2. I've found that books that hit mainstream with movies have helped people realize that YA isn't so bad. The current one is HG - I know several guys who have read it as well. My mom (whose read the book) actually said to me the other day "Is HG a YA book?' I just think people automatically assume that they can't be good stories, because they star teens.

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    3. You just reminded me of a condo I had the other day. A co-worker at a different location (we both work at an indie bookstore that has multiple locations in our area) was talking about seeing the movie Hugo and I was asked if they had read the book and they had no idea it was a book. When I told them it was YA/MG they told me they wouldn't read it based on that. But.....they'd watch the movie? I was so confused. It was a guy too.

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  4. I get this all the time!! When it's slow at my office I take out my ereader and am usually judged by the officers for not only reading (period) but because my ereader is pink. (I'll give them that one, though a bit begrudgingly). When I'm working at the library sometimes I'll read a cute/interesting children's book before it goes back on the shelf. Occasionally, someone will make a judgmental comment.

    It always makes me wonder, because how am I expected to answer recommendation/have you read x/is this okay for my child questions if I don't read the books?

    I don't really have a comfort zone per say, but I hate all the judging that goes on when people encounter readers. Judging people for being smart, well-rounded, understanding people is just ridiculous. Also, I think that guy was off the mark in saying that just because you read girly books people will think your gay*. How absurd. If you started dating men, perhaps, but reading girly books? psshaw! I say!

    *As if there is anything wrong with being gay.

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    Replies
    1. Where did you get a pink ereader? I have a friend who was wondering if they came in colors.

      Hmm. I was not aware that people would get crap for reading children's books.

      Because clearly you just read the back of the book. Why are you recommending books you've read? That's terrible, an adult woman reading children's books so they can help other adults get books for their children. Shame shame shame.

      There is nothing wrong with it that all. Nevermind that the name of the blog is called HITTING ON GIRLS in Bookstores. He was trying to be male and chummy with me, I hate it when people I don't know try to be chummy with me.

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    2. I think I got it at Borders. But I think Sony still might sell them on their website. It's a pocket ereader so it's kind of small but I adore it. And can always find it.

      I know, recommending books based on experience rather than the book jacket blurb is a such a horrible habit; I'm amazed I'm not shunned.

      I hate chummy strangers. Perhaps we were hermits or recluses is a past life.

      Delete
  5. Oh, Ann Coulter...You think your incendiary remarks ruffle my minority, moderate to liberal feathers--But they don't!

    I only ever ask my mother that question, with those exact words. She's always reading something smutty and its really weird. I habitually offer up some Barbara Kingsolver or anything I enjoyed that was about love or romance, and didn't give overly graphic descriptions of the social lives of male and female sex organs. So yeah, I only make my mom feel like she's in the Third Reich. Completely fair.

    In the past, I kept to the 'classics', philosophical bullshittery, and fiction of the political imagination. Not so much now. I'd like to think I'm one of those well-rounded readers/thinkers/people. I'll throw YA in the mix every now and again. It's the genre most out of my comfort zone.

    I asked myself why the fuck am I reading Twilight many times. I try not to talk about it that much. Bella was an idiot. Stephenie Meyer is a bigger idiot...a richer, bigger idiot. Sorry Twihards (not really sorry)

    ps. Cheetos are gross.

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    Replies
    1. I read them just to get fired up for the 2004 election. It was an amazing experience.

      I do throw more than YA into the mix sometimes. Some of what I read doesn't go on this blog because it doesn't fit with its theme.

      When I was in college I stuck to those. Eventually I branched because it gets so boring.

      PS. Agreed.

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  6. Ok well I'll just answer your question at the bottom. I just spent a month reading contemporary, which you MAY or MAY NOT know. Contemporary YA, to be exact. Which is completely out of my comfort zone. I found some really good stuff, but at the end of the month, I was ready to be comfortable again. After thirty days, where I didn't want to read it at all before, I will absolutely be throwing it into the mix now. So YAY for that, right?

    I get the WHY DO YOU READ YA? all the time. I just tell people I read it because I want to and because of the exact same reasons that Lauren pointed out. But I read a ton of other stuff too, so there's that. Right now I'm reading a historical fiction, an autobiography, a high fantasy, and also RAILSEA, which is like scifi, speculative, and steampunk I think.

    Also I can talk about the foooootttttballlll pretty dang well. I actually went to football camp two years ago. I like to keep myself well-rounded, you see.

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    1. I AM AWARE YOU WERE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, ASHELEY.

      I don't think these people who ask "Why do you read YA?" really deserve an answer. The "answer" should be "Why don't you read at all?" Let them answer that. Then tell them they can't judge anything they haven't read. If they use Twilight or Harry Potter as an example knock down their argument: "All books are not the same just because they're in the same genre, you'd know that if you read it instead of prejudging it."

      But really, I've found silence is the best answer.

      Delete
    2. They have football camp for adults?

      Asheley, don't listen to Adam. I think it's pretty awesome that you did an entire contemp month. Clearly, he's jealous that he didn't think of it first.

      Delete
    3. They do, Lauren! It was fun. Loved football camp.

      Adam, we musn't yell at our friends. It isn't nice.

      Delete
    4. I'm just jealous. I'm going to do an entire month of, uh, cat related things! Yeah. That's the stuff blogs are made of right there.

      Delete
  7. I read a lot of Romance so I get people just assuming that it's all I read. So they almost always question when I'm reading something non-romance. I'm pretty much willing to try any genre/subgenre, I just prefer my unwind time to be spent with some light reading.

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    1. I approve. I've read some romance before. I want to do an entire month of adult romance at some point (not sure when) just to get to know the genre better. I might have to come to you for recommendations.

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    2. I can give you a list of my favorite books if you want. They spread across the different romance "sub genres".

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    3. Right now I'm interested in serious adult romance to read. I'd like to do a couple of those this year, so recommendations would be appreciated.

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    4. Two of my all time favorites are Divine Evil by Nora Roberts and Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. They both have really good stories to go along with the romance part. I feel you can't go wrong with a Nora Roberts, or a Kristan Higgins, they are both really good contemporary romance authors. I would also suggest you check out Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for some ideas.

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    5. I actually visit Smart Bitches, Trashy Books every once and a while. It's one of my favorite blogs.

      There's a lady at work that has all these Nora Roberts audio books. I might have to check them out now.

      Delete
  8. Ugh lost my comment while it was loading. Damn internet connection. Anyways what I was trying to say... You are too funny. I wonder hoe that guy took your comeback. I do think it is awesome you read what he called "girly books" and all the benefits you pointed out are so true. I have to admit I know nothing about sports so if someone wanted to talk about it I wouldn't be able to participate much (or i would sound like an idiot if i tried too hard). Now if someone wanted to talk about a certain book. I would probably have more to say.

    People don't normally ask me why I am reading a specific book. They normally are asking why I read so much since not a lot of the people I know close to me read much. I have a couple people that like to read and I am always trying to recommend books to them though so they keep it up.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not aware of how he reacted. I went back to reading my book.

      I know enough about sports to get by in a conversation. I can't tell you what an RBI is but I can tell you... well, nothing, actually. I know jack about sports.

      I find myself doing the same thing. I tell them "You can borrow it! You should read it!" That way we can talk about it. Blogging has helped me fill that gap for the most part.

      Delete
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