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Batty For Books

I didn't find this too surprising: Posh Spice doesn't read books.

bibiliovixen linked to an article about the snobbery associated with the pastime of reading written in response to Mrs. Beckham's revelation.

"Some people would be miserable without horseriding; others would wither away if they were forbidden their computers; some collect train carriage numbers; others live to shop. Which is all fair enough, surely, though it's an unfathomable mystery why some people love cooking, others adore potholing, some can't abide either. It's probably about as likely that Mrs. Beckham will be found with Middlemarch open on her bedside table as it is that I will learn the difference between Versace and Gucci (or care less about it). It's also probably about as likely that she would enjoy Dorothea and Casaubon as it is that I would get any fun out of going to the Prada sale.

However, it's fine for anyone to confess that they really can't stick shopping; one can even seem quite smug about it. Not so if you aren't keen on books. Reading must be about the only pastime that is pretty much universally seen as 'good' and virtuous - so to say openly that you don't like books puts you beyond the pale. For someone to say they don't care for reading labels them as some kind of thickie pariah, fair game for any insult. To decide any such thing on the basis of one single trait seems both sweeping and snobbish."

I am not a snob about reading. I just don't have anything in common with people who don't read. I feel the same way about people who don't like animals or don't eat cheese. I don't understand how they exist but I know they manage just fine. I, on the other hand, cannot live without books, animals or cheese so it's simply inconceivable to me that there are people who go through life without them.

I do agree with the article's author about this: "One of the scariest prospects about joining the Big Brother household would be the grim desert of weeks on end with nothing to read." Besides not being an outdoor girl and not wanting to relive the days of having to put up with roommates, I would never want to be on a reality show because I couldn't read.

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Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
weelisa
Aug. 17th, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC)
I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
People who never read scare me (and I don't refer to people who simply never had a chance to be educated or who were never exposed to the wonderful world of books - in other words, people who might not read because of environment) - I find they are not, generally speaking, the nicest people to talk to. Certainly not the most interesting* - not to me, at least. The people I know who don't read basically just like to gossip about people they know - refer to history and their eyes glaze over - refer to events in the far flung reaches of the earth and they have no idea what you're talking about.

I find snobbishness about books is far less prevalent than "proud and rabid anti-intellectualism" - those people who consider themselves "real" and "honest" because they don't go in for that complicated thinking or for reasoned arguments. They know what they know, dammit!

*There are people, like an old miner I knew as a kid who didn't have anything above a grade three education but who was full of fascinating stories. The difference was that while he wasn't educated, he had a great respect for it. He had simply been too poor. So there are exceptions.
silverdee
Aug. 17th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
There's an epidemic of "proud and rabid anti-intellectualism" going on in this country of late led by our lovely President. And while he acts like a jokey bumpkin who admits he doesn't read the paper, his wife promotes education and reading as two of her personal initiatives.

And I mentioned the cheese thing because one of my sisters-in-law does not eat cheese. She boggles my mind. And she also doesn't like animals - especially cats and dogs. Now that I think about it, I don't know if she reads books, either. Hmmm... This explains a lot.
silverdee
Aug. 17th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
And yum to the stilton!!!
joybilee
Aug. 17th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
i agree whole heartedly with you. i'm from the rural south & i've known lots of people who never learned to read well or at all. but they still loved stories & learning what they could. some fascinating & brilliant people. they wanted to learn & got people to read stuff to them.
weelisa
Aug. 18th, 2005 07:00 am (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
I would have loved to have spoken with those people - it reminds me of that series of books, Foxfire, where students went to the Appalachian mountains and interviewed old and probably illiterate people there about their lives and habits and old-time skills, music and myths. It was a wonderful idea because so much of this old, rural culture would have been lost. Certainly the people involved would not have been able to write it down themselves. If you've never read them, they're probably at the library and worth a glance.

We have to remember how rare education used to be - only the rich went on to university. Even in my mom's day, finishing high school was seen as a big achievement. I wonder how many people ended up doing joe-jobs when they were quite smart enough to do something brilliant - only they never had the opportunity. There probably was a great waste of brains in those days. Unfortunately, I see the trend in Canada where higher education is once again becoming too expensive - and loans have replaced grants and scholarships. Not a good trend.
silverdee
Aug. 18th, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
That's a good point about the rarity of educational opportunity in the past. It's also true that it's becoming harder - especially in the last ten years -for the average family to afford college educations without going into major debt to do it.
joybilee
Aug. 18th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: I like books. Check. I like animals. Check. I like cheese (esp blue or stilton!). Check.
i believe my mother has the foxfire books. she's really into that sort of thing.
phoenix_anew
Aug. 17th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I've ever known any snobby book readers.. but I have known plenty of sassy non-book readers. People who say, "Oh, I don't read" as if reading was the nerdiest, goofiest, waste of time thing you could ever do.

So if I ever seem snobby about reading, its just a backlash against people like that.
silverdee
Aug. 17th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
I think that readers generally have to be open-minded and accepting because of the different people, places and things we encounter in all the books we read.
ladymeow
Aug. 17th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
I don't care if anyone likes to read or not, but having never read a book in your life? That's pretty pathetic.
silverdee
Aug. 17th, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC)
That seems really hard to believe. She may have said it just to get press. If that's the case, it worked!
joybilee
Aug. 17th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
I just don't have anything in common with people who don't read. I feel the same way about people who don't like animals or don't eat cheese. I don't understand how they exist but I know they manage just fine. I, on the other hand, cannot live without books, animals or cheese so it's simply inconceivable to me that there are people who go through life without them.

exactly, those people scare me. you don't have to be a voracious reader of high fallutin' tomes, but come on, if you're not reading, chances are you're not really expanding yourself. you can do so much more if you read. horseback riding will never make me a better gardner, but reading will. it's not an interest like other interests. it's an essential part of a healthy life (guess i am a snob about it).
silverdee
Aug. 17th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
I think that any reading is better than none. I read lots of romance novels in my teen years and while the writing wasn't great, I did learn lots of great vocabulary words. My all-time favorite was fop.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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