I have been perusing a certain website where people put up their various reviews of books that they have read. I love it as an educational and recreational sport. There are some amazingly talented and witty people out there in cyber space, but I stumbled across something the other day that made me blush with mild incredulity.
It was a blatant scolding of people who read 'trash' novels (namely Young Adult, Erotica, and Urban Fantasy). To sum up, this particular individual implied that said people who read these types of books are empty-headed morons who would not know real literature if it smacked them in the face screaming, "Read me, I am the Real Deal!"
Look it. I take offense for one major reason. I am a huge fan of reading EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING! Classics, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Chic-Lit, Non-fiction, Biography, Comedy, Satire, straight up Smut, and YES, even my very guilty pleasure, Young Adult. The one exception being Harlequin bodice rippers. I tried it once, the way one might dabble in drug experimentation. You do it just to see what it will be like. It proved to be the opposite of addictive. It was not my cup of tea, but to each their own.
I do not like hiding behind the pretense of snobby intellectualism. Do I read the likes of Dante's Inferno? You bet your sweet ass I do, but the reviews that can be found on this particular blog stray away from such profound works. Why? Because how in the Hell (pun intended) do I review these genius works on a personal blog without sounding completely pompous? I cannot. They deserve the pomp. The panic attacks I suffered from writing reviews for my college literature classes were enough to keep this blog away from Plath and Dickinson. Shakespeare and Blake. Etc. Etc.
I tend to focus on modern fiction and the 'fun stuff' on my blog reviews. Does it make the modern works any less profound than the old? Absolutely not. I love the fun stuff. I love the surprising depth I can find in the fresh and new. Reading is a way of setting your imagination on fire and expanding your horizons. Whether it is the next modern classic or the Y.A. series of the moment. Reading is transcendent. You are what you read, and I want to be everything. I want to live a thousand lives in the one lifetime that I am given.
That is why I find what may be perceived as 'crap' by others to be truly spectacular. Every book you read, regardless of its genre, author, or 'intelluctual merit', gives you another piece of the world.
So to you, dear reader, I lay bare most of my sins, with pride.