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Why, as a reader, I choose not to be a book snob

Why, as a reader, I choose not to be a book snob

What is a book snob? I’m not sure who coined the expression or whether there is a recognized definition, but I define a book snob as someone who will gravitate towards a specific genre of books (at the exclusion of other genres) with a misguided notion of that genre’s superiority.

I think that it is okay to have a preference in one’s reading choice; what bothers me is when I hear readers label certain books as “stupid” because they don’t live up to a certain ideal.

As a child, I read alot of poetry books. However, when I first saw the movie Gone With The Wind in the summer of 1976, I was determined to read Margaret Mitchell’s classic. Maybe this sweeping tale was weighty for an eleven year old (and I know some of the adult themes were beyond my youthful comprehension at the time), but I quickly became enamored by the characters and Mitchell’s writing style. I remember how I felt about the story. Gone With The Wind was fictional, yet the courage to rebuild one’s life from destruction remains a powerful incentive. I remember how proud of myself I felt that I had read a nearly thousand page book in only one week.

I read numerous books in my youth. Maybe they weren’t as ambitious an undertaking as reading Gone With The Wind, but they were wonderfully diverse in scope, including The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, The Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Poldark book series by Winston Graham, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In addition, poetic greats like William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Frost were my companions as well; I gratefully absorbed their worlds and allowed my mind to be expanded outside of the neighborhood where I lived.

What I didn’t know in my early days was that I was a book snob. I knew the Pulitzer prize-winning authors and I sought out their books. I knew the celebrated and classic works and I wanted my mind to become a part of the experience of reading these authors.

I have a conflicted relationship with social media. Mostly, I’m disturbed by the constant negativity and what I view as some people on social media who want to hide hate speech under the guise of the First Amendment. However, by being on Twitter, I have also discovered a wealth of authors who have enriched my life. These authors may not be “famous” in literary circles, but their creative gifts are incredible.

Jennifer Stewart is an amazing poet. Her book, The Evolution of a Poet, was the first book that I read in 2017. Stewart who takes the personal experience of writing poetry and uses it to reach out to others. Her struggles and growth become our struggles and growth. We see the beauty of Stewart’s words, and by extension, we feel equipped to see the courage within ourselves.

Lisa N. Edwards (the author of Can’t Fight Fate, Chasing Butterflies and Seed of the Sunflower) examines the notion of fate and how we learn about ourselves and how we grow, despite the path where destiny seems to pull us. Edwards has an uncanny ability to speak directly to the reader.

Nikki LeClair masterfully crafts the cozy mystery with her gems Haunting Me and Locking Up Santa. With a talent for characterization and plot (as well as a gift for humorous dialogue and foreshadowing) we want to wrap ourselves in the suspense of LeClair’s books.

Jena C. Henry’s book series, The Golden Age of Charli, effectively teaches us how to navigate our retirement years with gratitude: how we “press on” through our struggles defines who we are. Henry reminds us that as we approach the so-called sunset years, we have the capacity to reinvent ourselves and to continue to live our lives to its fullest potential.

Kendra L. Saunders’ Dating An Alien Pop Star and Engaged To An Alien Pop Star are well-written and quite imaginative. In my quest not to be a book snob, I ventured into reading more romance and sci fiction books. What Saunders proves is that romance and friendship are universal: an alien prince and a music aficionado (a spunky, small town girl transplanted to New York) can find love. Saunders gives us a taste of life on another planet and life on Earth, showing us that we are connected by a desire to give love and to receive love.

Two new authors that I recently discovered, JB Coffman and D.G. Allen, have thoroughly impressed me with their books. Coffman is the author of Roote 66 and Dead Club: The Case of the Sad Girl. With Roote 66 (as I noted in one of my book reviews), Coffman “creates real characters that don’t boast a magical pedigree. Their ability to survive that often tumultuous thing that we call life is predicated on their own courage.” In Dead Club: The Case of The Sad Girl, Coffman crafted a book that refuses to be confined within one genre. This book is a stunning example of paranormal, mystery, suspense, romance, crime/psychological thriller. Another thing I enjoy about Coffman’s books is her commitment to writing diverse characters.

D.G. Allen’s The Black Ledger is a mystery and crime thriller set in Chicago during the 1980s. Allen tackles the issue of racism head on and in doing so, he reveals that there is strength in adversity. I applaud Allen in writing characters and situations many authors may find too risky or taboo to offer readers. While the language that Allen uses in his book is painful to read at times, his story is not a narrative of defeat and weakness, but one of strength and triumph.

These are just a few of the authors who I would eagerly recommend to readers and who remind me why I’m grateful that I am not a book snob. These authors may not have worldwide name recognition, but the books that they write will leave a positive and indelible imprint on readers.

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