So it finally happened. After 7 years of going to the Barnes & Noble located in my hometown I ran into a book snob.
I’m sure I’ve run into book snobs before but if so they were quiet about it. I imagine they expressed their disdain in my reading choices through eye rolls or upturned noses. Not so this past week. Not only did I run into a noisy book snob but also a nosy one. Is there anything worse?
This person, who shall be identified from here on out as Snobbish, seemed to be searching for people to look down on. Now, I’m not sure how everyone else shops in their book stores, but I start at the café with a Caramel Vanilla Latte and make my way around the perimeter of the store before seeking out my favorite genre sections. And it seemed like where ever I went, Snobbish was there.
In the gardening department he scoffed loudly at the teen who was looking at the quirky gardening book, The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. I’ve looked at this book before just because I loved the cover and thought it was something my sister would appreciate. This book was meant to be interesting and funny, and it was! Plus you learn some weird piece of trivia along the way. Now why did Snobbish scoff at this book? Was it the cover? The title? The fact it wasn’t from Better Home and Gardens? Seriously, it’s a gardening book. How anyone be a snob about a gardening book is beyond me.
Then while I was looking through the new releases in Sci-fi and Fantasy, Snobbish walks by and I hear him say to someone on the phone how he just can’t believe people read any fantasy that was written after J.R.R. Tolkien’s era. Seriously? The only fantasy that should be read is from the mid 1900’s and before? What about George R.R. Martin? Or Steven Erikson or Robin Hobb? Robert Jordan? Neil Gaiman? Douglas Adams? Orson Scott Card? Am I supposed to read only Dracula or Frankenstein? Maybe only The War of Worlds or The Invisible Man.
And how can he just completely write off the more modern day sub-genres like Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? A multi-million dollar industry with so many best sellers it is impossible to keep count and he just disregards it. I can’t even wrap my head around it. I don’t really want to either. My brain may explode if I try to understand that justification.
And then I saw Snobbish in the kid’s section. Luckily he must have already made the rounds because I only saw him as I going in and he was leaving. And he was again on his phone talking about how there are so many horrible children’s books and how he can’t believe that parents let their children read them. Snobbish just better be happy he didn’t knock Dr. Seuss in front of me or there would’ve been blood.*
I’m not even going to mention what Snobbish said in the Teen section. Just know that I was not the only one who looked like they would have liked to hit him.
And then it happened. Snobbish went just a little too far for me. I was at one of my favorite displays, the Doctor Who table, when he walked by and said he wished that book stores would stick to selling books and stop with all the useless little trinkets that don’t have anything to do with reading. And the shocking thing is he said it to me! I’m not entirely sure why he thought I would be a receptive audience since I was busy giggling over a Doctor Who Anipose plushie but he did. I kind of lost it.
I told him that I felt sorry for him if he couldn’t understand why so many people liked Doctor Who. And I loved the fact Barnes & Noble had Doctor Who merchandise displayed. Someone who goes to into a book store to buy something Doctor Who might see a book that interests them and they’ll read it. How could that be a bad thing? Then Snobbish huffed and took off before I could really get going. Probably for the best since I really have no desire to be banned from Barnes & Noble and I have a tendency to get loud when I feel passionate about something.
I don’t understand how anyone can be a snob over books. Reading is a GOOD thing. It really doesn’t matter what is being read. The point is that people are reading. Maybe it’s the educator in me but I would rather have people reading books, even ones I don’t like, than playing video games or binging on Netflix (which I am guilty of so I’m not knocking it or anything).
I really do feel sorry for Snobbish. Because he is convinced that the only books that should be read are classics, he is missing out on so much. He’ll never visit a magic ridden Atlanta. A Manhattan ruled by an Archangel. A Victorian London where people have too much soul or not enough. He’ll never know why a guide to the galaxy might be needed. Or why an Angel and a Demon team up to stop the apocalypse. It’s actually depressing when you think about it.
Oh well, I guess there’s really nothing I can do about it except try to never become a book snob myself. What about you? Have you ever had an encounter with a book snob? Are you a book snob yourself? Are you afraid of becoming a book snob?
Here are a few good posts about book snobs, what to say to them and how to identify if you are a book snob yourself.
- What is a Book Snob?: What makes a reader a snob is making the leap from judging a book to judging its readers- when we go from “this book is bad according to x standards” to “this book is bad and therefore people who read it and enjoy it are inferior to me.”
- 30 Things to Tell a Book Snob: People should never be made to feel bad about what they are reading. People who feel bad about reading will stop reading.
- How to Know if You’re a Book Snob: If you’ve read Twilight, I judge you. If your idea of “good fiction” is Danielle Steele, I judge you. If you’ve never read The Great Gatsby, I judge you.
*On a side note, if you are looking for a different kind of children’s book, I highly recommend Zombie in Love written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Scott Campbell. It’s weird and kind of gross, but very cute. I read it to my students and they loved it. *
Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He’s worked out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away?