Judging Readers by Their Book

In August, The Washington Post had an opinion piece on literary snobbery that I found engaging but also slightly disturbing. It was slightly disturbing because, as I’ve noted before, I don’t understand the need to bash other readers’ book choices and yet it is a large phenomenon that happens every day – in person and online.

As a librarian, it isn’t my place to judge what someone wants to read. There is a longstanding library tradition of “every reader his/her book and every book its reader” – this was part of my very first class for my master’s degree. But even before that, I never cared what other people were reading or what anyone thought of what I was reading. Do I like every book? No, of course not. I can think of a few really popular books that I have really disliked. But I don’t think poorly of anyone for enjoying them nor would I ever consider disparaging someone for reading one of them.

Maybe we as readers can take a step back and simply be happy that there is such a wide range of books available to be read and that everyone can find something that works for them.

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