Musing Mondays: The Book Police

Today’s Musing Monday question:

How do you react to the “book police”? (people who judge what you are reading, and try to make you feel guilty) Do you respond to their judgements? Or, do you keep quiet? Do you let what they say influence your reading, or do you do your own thing, regardless?

Ahh, the book police. Been there, done that…

Anytime someone tries to give me grief or wants to judge me for my reading choices here is what I have to say, I’m not reading for you, I am reading for me.

I have gotten all kinds of looks from people when reading different books. I remember working on a paper at a coffee shop and people seeing my books all about criminal behavior and other such topics. Those conversations usually go something like:

Them: “Uh, why do you have a book entitled Why People Kill on the table?”
Me: “Because I study criminal behavior.”
Them: “But, why?”
Me: “Because I want to.”

The way I see it you shouldn’t judge others on what they read, even if it happens to be something that you think is strange. It doesn’t make a difference whether the book I have in my hand is non-fiction, science fiction, or erotica… At least I’m reading something or than the latest issue of some pop culture magazine which is unfortunately not a statement that too many people can truthfully make at this point.

In one sentence: I don’t care what the book police have to say, I ignore them.

Now on to my funny (to me) book police story. I was at work one day covering for a fellow employee who had to leave early and I was reading in between customers because, well, I’m allowed to at this particular location. I can’t remember specifically what I was reading, but it was something sci-ency which was all fine and dandy until this one customer came along. “Whatcha reading?” the man asked. And so I told him. Never did I expect to see the day where a heated debate broke out about creationism vs. evolution while at work. This man, and his wife on a lower scale, was violently adamant about the fact that indeed creationism is fact. I’m selling this man veggies, farm fresh produce that my boss and co-workers grew – that science explains – and this guy gets in my face and tells me I’m wrong when I say I believe in evolution.  If that isn’t enough, another customer comes up… turns out he is a science teacher. I’m sure you can guess where he stood on the issue. All because of a book a huge creationism vs. evolution debate between six or so strangers broke out… it was certainly interesting.

5 thoughts on “Musing Mondays: The Book Police

  1. Cyberkitten February 7, 2011 / 9:38 am

    I remember getting very funny looks on the train on my way into work reading a book about terrorism. It was pre 9/11 but the title was ‘Shoot the Women First’. You can see why more than a few frowns were directed at me.

    Some years later I was reading a book at work by Che Guevara called ‘Guerrilla warfare’. You can imagine I got similar looks.

    People have always criticised what I read. I have learnt to take no notice of them – indeed I sometimes read ‘odd’ books just to freak them out! I follow my interests. If other people don’t like what I read then tough. But don’t expect me to stop reading things just because other people don’t approve.

  2. Gigi Ann February 7, 2011 / 10:56 am

    I feel I am my own book police. I choose to read what I enjoy, so it it isn’t what others enjoy reading, so be it. There are so many genres to choose from, that I think there is something for everyone, therefore, I say: “To each his own” as far as reading choices go.

  3. Lori February 7, 2011 / 12:25 pm

    This was a good topic and people are dumbassess. Personally, I don’t care what people think about what I read. Check out my answer for this week’s Monday Musing.

  4. Crystal (I Totally Paused!) February 7, 2011 / 4:53 pm

    The book police are irritating for sure, but I think I’ve managed to learn to ignore them, or at least let them know that I think reading is valuable so I am unconcerned with their opinion of it.

    The thing I really hate, however, is simply being asked what I’m reading while I am clearly engrossed in my book. It’s one of my pet peeves, because if I am clearly involved with something, why would you interrupt me? Very bothersome!

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