U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-07-2013, 12:34 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 20,159,172 times
Reputation: 22363

Advertisements

I've always been an avid reader, it always hits me as a shock when I hear people giving negative messages and opinions about reading or readers. Thankfully this isn't often, but I wondered if other readers get this kind of thing more often.

Have you ever been criticized or made fun of for being "bookish" or preferring reading over other activities?

I guess as a teenager, I encountered criticism for being a "brain" but I don't remember getting criticized for reading in particular. I remember in college when I was reading all of Kurt Vonnegut's books, and Albert Camus, a few people making jokes that I was reading stuff high school kids were "forced" to read. When people were choosing their English electives, I remember the huge numbers of students who wanted to get into the "short story" class, because they assumed there would be less reading. I guess the message was that reading was something to be assigned in a class and not something to be enjoyed. Don't get me wrong--I partied quite a lot in college, but I also read a lot, for enjoyment and not just for class.

I've since had people make jokes, not in a cruel way, but definitely in a criticizing way, about how it seems I'd rather read a book than...(insert activity here). Like when talking about what we did on New Year's Eve, someone said "Tracy probably just read a book!" and got some laughs for that.

Just recently a 20-something co-worker and I were taking about eating out alone (I do, as noted in another thread here) and she said she might be able to go to lunch alone if she were on her phone, texting and facebooking, but not reading a book or kindle. I asked why, and she said she didn't want people to look at her and think she was reading, but socializing electronically would be okay. Is this common among 20-somethings? I know some people are overly concerned about eating out alone, worrying what people would think, but do they actually think that being seen a a reader is a bad thing? If people are even looking at me at all, which I doubt, they see me eating alone and reading a lot. Since when is being seen reading a bad thing?

A few times, I've seen TV messages about reading being an activity worthy of criticism. In the classic Twilight Zone episode, Time Enough At Last, the main character is constantly being bashed for being a reader, and his wife hates how his reading is a waste of time when he could be doing more useful things. Then in the 90s, in a Seinfeld episode, George joins a book club (to impress a new girlfriend) and the idea of a book club is kind of presented as a boring, snooty thing. George and Jerry talk about how they haven't read a whole book since high school. They might read the paper and magazines, but not books. George even tried to cheat on the book club, to get away with not reading the book. I remember that even though I loved the show, I felt kind of taken aback by that.

I'm not a person who cares a lot about what people think of me in terms of "cool" or "uncool" (please, I'm a grown up) but I guess it just surprises me, and I have trouble understanding, when people make fun of reading, or talk about it like it's boring or a waste of time.

I see reading as one of the most enjoyable things I could do, and I hate getting interrupted. Other people seem to think that when someone is reading, they must want to be interrupted, to be rescued from such a boring activity to do something "fun" like have inane conversation. After all, you're "only reading."

Do you ever get the message that some people see your reading as an activity that's a waste of time? That it's only something to do to fill up time, if there is nothing "fun" to do or there's no one around to socialize with? Do you still get childish teasing for being a bookworm?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-07-2013, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Texas
15,895 posts, read 16,048,753 times
Reputation: 62702
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
I've always been an avid reader, it always hits me as a shock when I hear people giving negative messages and opinions about reading or readers. Thankfully this isn't often, but I wondered if other readers get this kind of thing more often.

Have you ever been criticized or made fun of for being "bookish" or preferring reading over other activities?

I guess as a teenager, I encountered criticism for being a "brain" but I don't remember getting criticized for reading in particular. I remember in college when I was reading all of Kurt Vonnegut's books, and Albert Camus, a few people making jokes that I was reading stuff high school kids were "forced" to read. When people were choosing their English electives, I remember the huge numbers of students who wanted to get into the "short story" class, because they assumed there would be less reading. I guess the message was that reading was something to be assigned in a class and not something to be enjoyed. Don't get me wrong--I partied quite a lot in college, but I also read a lot, for enjoyment and not just for class.

I've since had people make jokes, not in a cruel way, but definitely in a criticizing way, about how it seems I'd rather read a book than...(insert activity here). Like when talking about what we did on New Year's Eve, someone said "Tracy probably just read a book!" and got some laughs for that.

Just recently a 20-something co-worker and I were taking about eating out alone (I do, as noted in another thread here) and she said she might be able to go to lunch alone if she were on her phone, texting and facebooking, but not reading a book or kindle. I asked why, and she said she didn't want people to look at her and think she was reading, but socializing electronically would be okay. Is this common among 20-somethings? I know some people are overly concerned about eating out alone, worrying what people would think, but do they actually think that being seen a a reader is a bad thing? If people are even looking at me at all, which I doubt, they see me eating alone and reading a lot. Since when is being seen reading a bad thing?

A few times, I've seen TV messages about reading being an activity worthy of criticism. In the classic Twilight Zone episode, Time Enough At Last, the main character is constantly being bashed for being a reader, and his wife hates how his reading is a waste of time when he could be doing more useful things. Then in the 90s, in a Seinfeld episode, George joins a book club (to impress a new girlfriend) and the idea of a book club is kind of presented as a boring, snooty thing. George and Jerry talk about how they haven't read a whole book since high school. They might read the paper and magazines, but not books. George even tried to cheat on the book club, to get away with not reading the book. I remember that even though I loved the show, I felt kind of taken aback by that.

I'm not a person who cares a lot about what people think of me in terms of "cool" or "uncool" (please, I'm a grown up) but I guess it just surprises me, and I have trouble understanding, when people make fun of reading, or talk about it like it's boring or a waste of time.

I see reading as one of the most enjoyable things I could do, and I hate getting interrupted. Other people seem to think that when someone is reading, they must want to be interrupted, to be rescued from such a boring activity to do something "fun" like have inane conversation. After all, you're "only reading."

Do you ever get the message that some people see your reading as an activity that's a waste of time? That it's only something to do to fill up time, if there is nothing "fun" to do or there's no one around to socialize with? Do you still get childish teasing for being a bookworm?
I totally identify with your post. I read all the time and have been a reader since childhood. Now that I am retired I read even more. I have some friends who read some of the time but can't quite wrap their minds around the fact that it is actually my favorite thing to do along with taking a nap and I can do both to my heart's content. I also have a couple of friends who never read.

I recall getting a new assistant manager in our office of over 100 in the 80s and he was being introduced around to all of us and when he heard my name he said "Oh, you're the literary one." Well, I thought that was just about the coolest compliment I had ever received. I don't know if he meant it as such but that is the way I took it.

I don't care what people think about my reading....honestly, I don't. One of the nicest things about getting older is that I really don't give a darn about what people think. Some people are raised to not care but I was raised to care too much, if you know what I mean. Now that I don't care I have discovered a freedom that I didn't know existed. Well, I do care about certain things that people think of me but my love of books is not one of them.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 01:23 PM
 
995 posts, read 962,475 times
Reputation: 1137
Growing up, the general consensus from friends, family, teachers, neighbors, the firemen in the firehouse down the block who walked their dog past our house, the cashiers in the grocery store as I pushed a cart for my mom, and just about anyone walking past our front porch in the summer was 'Oh, you have your nose in another book...again...'
I'm pretty sure they didn't mean it as a compliment nor a criticism, just a statement of fact.
I always did have my nose in a book lol.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 02:01 PM
 
1,833 posts, read 2,926,493 times
Reputation: 1778
I don't know if I've been criticized, but definitely teased or had comments made about my reading. My friend and I were talking about movies, and I had commented how much better the book was than the movie (perhaps The Hunger Games) and she in turn commented about how annoying it was that people who read always say that. When my youngest wasn't in AWANA and for a short time after she started, I would take the kids alone to AWANA and sit in a chair near the entrance and read while the kids were doing their thing. I used to get comments a lot. Some people would ask about what I was reading, others would say "reading again?" and smile. I even switched to cross stitch last year for a night when Hubs couldn't go with, and people commented on me not reading. Now when they see me, since I'm usually having dinner with Eric and then the two of us shopping or what have you during that hour and half, people comment on how I'm not there reading. It's rare for me to be without a book and/or my Kindle. Hubs teases me for bringing a book along when I pick him up from work. My theory is you never know when you may end up stuck somewhere. He's been known to be stuck at work upwards of 3-4 hours late (and I certainly don't sit there that whole time), so I come prepared.

I don't necessarily remember people making comments when I was a kid, and even then I was an avid reader. I don't know that I took a book with me everywhere until probably high school or college, but I do know when we vacationed, I always had a few with. We drove everywhere as my dad would not fly. (Some of you will get a laugh at his reason when people would ask him why he didn't fly - "because God said 'Lo, I am with you always.'" )
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Texas
15,895 posts, read 16,048,753 times
Reputation: 62702
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromupthere View Post
We drove everywhere as my dad would not fly. (Some of you will get a laugh at his reason when people would ask him why he didn't fly - "because God said 'Lo, I am with you always.'" )
That is priceless.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 04:47 PM
 
11,533 posts, read 10,538,455 times
Reputation: 15023
Omigod: ...she said she didn't want people to look at her and think she was reading!?!

I don't think that anyone's ever given me a hard time - except my mother, who, although she loved for me to read, would occasionally poke her head into my room when I was a kid and say for the third time, "Honey, could you set the table, please?" I tried to get her to say my name first, to get my attention, because sometimes it just didn't register.

I guess it's possible that people may have made negative remarks, but there wasn't any way to undermine my positive attitude about reading, so maybe I just didn't notice.

I, in turn, feel like what other people do - playing games on their iPhones, watching reality TV, etc. - is a waste of time. In fact, I don't just feel it - I know it!

Love your post, thanks.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2013, 08:27 AM
 
9,238 posts, read 20,159,172 times
Reputation: 22363
I think my coworker who didn't want people to think she was reading was not (God, I hope not) so concerned about reading not being "cool." But I got the impression from her that she believed people would "feel sorry for" her, to see her reading, when she could instead be socializing, in person or electronically. She definitely talked about the idea of "feeling sorry" for someone who is seen reading, like the poor thing has nothing better to do.
I just don't understand the idea that some people see reading as so unenjoyable, so non-valuable, that they would pity a person who is reading, or worry about others pitying them if they were reading.

There may have been a little of the idea that reading was "uncool" but this person seemed more focused on the pity thing.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2013, 09:43 AM
 
35,196 posts, read 35,662,385 times
Reputation: 16509
I never had that problem and I used to read many books. But then my parents and many of my relatives were avid readers. So reading was a normal activity for the people surrounding me.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2013, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,434 posts, read 14,790,206 times
Reputation: 12382
No. Even when I was a kid/teen at school, I was never given a hard time for it. Sounds like you're hanging out with the wrong people.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2013, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Boone, NC
1,049 posts, read 2,074,484 times
Reputation: 1047
I prefer the company of intelligent people. So, no, I've never been given a hard time for liking books.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:04 AM.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top