Let me preface by saying that the members of said pretentious book club called themselves a pretentious book club. Sadly, they waited to inform me of this until after I had joined. But let me back track.
A friend asked me to join a book club and I thought this seemed like a good idea. Why not expand my reading horizons? Not only would it help me as a writer, but it would also help introduce me to books I didn’t know existed. Just because I spend most of my time reading YA and MG doesn’t mean that’s all I read or all I want to read. Those just happen to be the books I most enjoy. So I set aside my YA dystopian obsession and my MG fantasy crush and picked up some good old fashioned grown up lit.
In the second book club meeting, we were trying to choose a new book. It was suggested that we pick something where stuff happens since books are supposed to be enjoyable (nothing happened in books 1 and 2). So I decided to offer up a suggestion. I was pretty sure YA would be rejected, but hey, I was there to venture out. I know some grown up books. I suggested The Help. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it even though I really want to. And you know what the response was? A big fat No. Apparently this is a book club where they do not read books endorsed by Oprah, they do not read books that have been or will be turned into a movie, and they definitely do not read books people read on the T (that’s the subway for you non-Bostonians).
This seemed very close-minded to me. For starters, what about the classics that have been turned into movies time and time again? Are those not worth reading? And aren’t books generally popular because they are good? Now, I’m never one for jumping on the bandwagon. I resisted Harry Potter with everything I had until I decided to read it so that I could revolt against it intelligently. And you know what I discovered? The books were great. People liked them for a reason. They may not be high brow literature, but this series certainly had a huge effect on entire generations of readers and writers. But should we just ignore these books because they became a movie and a franchise and topped several best seller lists? I vote no.
I guess what this really shows is that there are two types of readers. There are those who read to get lost in a great story and there are those who read to be pretentious. OK, maybe I’m oversimplifying this, but if you are not willing to explore all that literature has to offer, if you are going to set such ridiculous standards on what you will and won’t read, are you really enjoying the books, or are you more interested in what you think the books say about you?