Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!
Top 10 Unpopular Bookish Opinions
Top 10 Unpopular Bookish Opinions
- To me, To Kill a Mockingbird is overrated. I didn't dislike it, but I just wasn't a huge fan. I think the problem was that everybody made such a big deal about how much I was going to love it that, for me, it just, flopped.
- Sometimes, paperbacks are better than hardcovers. Believe me, I sing the gospel of hardcovers. I love the look, the feel, the elegance on the shelves. But sometimes...you just don't want to carry the weight on your shoulders and that mass market just slides so sweetly into your purse...
- Sometimes, the abridged version is better. I'm looking at you, Dickens.
- The Game of Thrones TV show is better than The Song of Ice and Fire books. It's better paced, more streamlined, and, I would argue, has better character development for several significant characters including Robb Stark, Sansa Stark, and the Hound, among others. I also thought the eighth season was extremely well done in terms of plot and character, if somewhat abrupt.
- I'm sick of people calling female memoirists whiny. I recently finished Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School and so many people complain about how "whiny" the author is, just like they did with Cheryl Strayed in Wild and Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. But nobody makes this complaint about Anthony Bourdain or Bill Bryson, despite writing similar fare (Bryson gets awarded "self-aware grumpiness"!). Hmmm. I wonder what the difference is. Instead of whiny, how about vulnerable? Instead of overly dramatic, how about entertaining? After all, why are you reading a memoir if not to be at least somewhat prurient about the minutiae of other people's lives? If you don't like memoirs, don't read them!
- You don't need to read the classics. I would argue that, at least in Western civilization, it would behoove you to be familiar with the plots of, say, the Bible, The Odyssey, The Iliad, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. In other civilizations, it might behoove you to familiarize yourself with the Ramayana, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or the Talmud. But due to the information saturation of the Internet, you can familiarize yourself and speak intellectually about cultural references without wasting time, if you don't want to, being the key point. Of course, you will get more out of reading Hamlet than reading a synopsis. But if you're not interested, you won't get much out of it anyway. I know people who have gotten through their lives thus far without reading Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, or, shockingly, Lord of the Rings. However, the culture of book shaming, in my experience, does little good and plenty of harm. Furthermore, 'the canon' has traditionally been colonized by certain groups of people and excluded others, so that, if you spent all your time reading the accepted classics, you would miss out on a myriad of wonderful books and perspectives, not to mention books that you, personally, might just enjoy more. In conclusion, don't let a bunch of dead white people tell you what to read. Books deserve to be recognized for the spark of life inside them; don't read them just to inoculate yourself like some dead or half-dead vaccine.
- Graphic novels are novels. Full stop. I can recognize their artistry, even though I typically don't read them, since I'm not used to the medium and find it visually exhausting. but who knows, I could give it a try again in a few years and work it out.
- I love my full library of 300+ books. I also adore KonMari and her approach to tidying--ESPECIALLY for my books. There's this line in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up where Kondo writes "Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled with books you really love...For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?" For me, going from 700 books to 300 books that sparked joy was intoxicating. I love knowing that I love 90% of the books I own. However, I will add a caveat for the other 10%...
- I do disagree with KonMari's stance on unread books. She encourages readers to get rid of books they have owned for a while but not yet read, similar to the old chestnut about getting rid of clothes you haven't worn in one to three years, depending on the version. However, books are not like clothes in terms of fit. An item of clothing that doesn't fit now is unlikely to fit down the road (though not impossible). But I've had the experience of owning books for years unread, and then finally popping them open, and loving them. Sometimes, you're just not ready for a particular book yet, but it doesn't mean you never will be. Of course, you can always get rid of it now and buy it again later, so I don't necessarily think KonMari's advice is bad, but personally, I'm keeping my TBR shelf!
- Some books need to be recycled. No book lover wants to contemplate the destruction of books, but I've seen enough sad books at library sales, thrift stores, and my work that no one is ever going to want again (typewriter manual or Windows 95, anyone?) and the best thing to do is recycle them so that they can be reused as new books or paper or whatnot and save some trees. Similarly, some library collections have books that have been moldering unread for years, and that space is honestly better used for seating and computers to get students in the library. I'm sorry.