Friday, October 03, 2008

Confessions Of A Former Literary Snob

Up until about 2 years ago, I was extremely picky about what I would read. I love nothing more than curling up with a good book, but I used to believe it had to be a certain kind of book to be worthwhile.

The books that I would read had to be from a good author and with good, heavy content. When I found an author I really liked I would read through all of his or her published works before moving on to someone else. I believed I had a high standard when it came to the books I would read, and I was proud of that fact. It was important to me to be viewed as reading intellectual works of fiction and to be considered well-read.

Some of the contemporary authors I clung to were: Pat Conroy, Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler, Barbara Kingsolver, Jaquelyn Mitchard, Jodi Piccoult, and Wallace Stegner, to name just a few. Now I still love these authors and most of their books. But a certain incident last year shifted my paradigm and I haven't looked back since. And I believe I am better and more well-rounded for it.

My mom is a fantastic source of reading materials. Whenever I am in need of a good book, I know I can call her up and she'll have a suggestion for me that I'll love. We never end a visit to their home without me borrowing at least a few books.

When we were there last Christmas, she asked Eric and I to go through a box of books that she was getting ready to donate. We were to pick out any that we might want. I was surprised by one book I saw in the box and I set it aside to ask her about it. That book was One For The Money from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. This just did not look like the kind of book that my mom would read.

She told me it was actually a fun read, for a "throw-away" book. A friend of hers, whom my mom considers to be the most well-read person she knows, had suggested it to her. So I figured why not. If these two women that I respect have enjoyed it, it's worth a shot.

I started reading the book when we got home. I rolled my eyes a lot as I went through the first few chapters. But I kept reading. It got to the point where I was no longer rolling my eyes at the book but at myself for the fact that I was still reading this book. And then I finished the first book. You know what I did next? I ran out to library and picked up books 2, 3, and 4 in the series.

Just last week I finished the newly-released 14th book in the series. I guess you can say I'm hooked. Against my better judgement, I have now become a fan of Stephanie Plum.

Reading those books opened my eyes to all of the other books I was missing, books that I thought were below me. I used to be a full-fledged book snob. But now I have broken free from that bondage and opened myself up to a whole new world of wonderful reading.

One of the genres on my former do not read list was Christian fiction. For the most part, I was guilty of judging the collective books by a few covers. I thought at best they would be nothing more than a cleaner version of Danielle Steele. I am so glad I've moved beyond that point of view.

I have read at least 25 Christian fiction books over the past few months and I have yet to be disappointed by a single one. I find the stories beautiful, the interwoven Biblical quotes moving, and the examples of true Christian living inspiring.

It feels good to leave my snobbery behind. I learned an important lesson in the process also; sometimes, it's okay to read a book just for the sake of light enjoyment. I know it's not the most intelligent thing to do. I'm sure it's akin to watching trashy tv shows. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I still have standards and I still love my "good" books, but I will now also spend some of my reading time getting lost in a book just for the sake of a fun read.


Michele 10:56 PM  

I'm so glad you've gotten your blog feed to work! :) It's been so fun seeing your posts pop up today.

I think I'll have to give those Stephanie Plum books another look. I, too, passed them over originally. :)

Have you seen the Bas Bleu catalog? My mom orders from them, for the store she works at, and recommended it to me. I've had fun browsing through it, and finding books in it to request from the library! :)

Hope you have a good weekend!

Carrie 12:22 AM  

I would love to know what Christian fiction you have been reading. It is also an area that I am wanting to explore.

Kirby3131 12:28 PM  

I have a few of the Stephanie Plumb books, but what I've really enjoyed reading are the Janet Evanovitch & Hughes books - the FULL series, full blast, full speed, etc. Also the novels Evanovitch wrote before Stephanie Plumb - those are a lot of fun, too. I call them beach reads or airplane books lol

I don't like to take "serious" books on the airplane because they don't seem to hold my attention. The flight also seems to go by so much faster with the fun fiction.

So glad you have widened your scope of reading. It's fun!


Kirby3131 12:29 PM  

OOOH, seems to have a lot of Evanovitch books, if you ever want to look there.


Anonymous,  11:25 PM  

Wandered in and had to smile: I've always been a book snob. I'm in my last semester as an English major and just got over the fact that it doesn't have to be on the classics list to be worthwhile...nor are all of the books on the classics list worth reading! I found Steve Leveen's book The Guide to Your Well-Read Life extremely insightful in that way, kind of like you with your mom!

Glad to hear that your reading world has opened up; mine has, too.

Nancy 8:53 AM  

So glad you've found something new that you're enjoying. I too read the Stephanie Plum books. I call them my laugh-out-loud books. I like to read them after having read something deep/heavy. Another series that's similar is the Bubbles books by Stephanie Strohmeyer; you might enjoy them also.

Dawn 5:04 PM  

You picked the best time ever to begin reading Christian Fiction.
In the last 5 years or so, Christian Fiction has excelled in the quality of the authors and the stories.
You should leave a list of the books that you've read - I could then recommend some others that really stood out for me.

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