I Used to be a Book Snob

June 9, 2021

There. I’ve said it. I used to be a book snob.

I used to think if a book wasn’t a “classic,” it wasn’t worth my time.

I can divide my Book Snobbery career into Pre-Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment. I know exactly how and when my perspective changed. And I blame my snobbery on my high school experiences.

My English class was not a “regular” class on the school roster of classes. The students were handpicked based on academics, and there were 17 of us in the class. We didn’t have a regular curriculum but were free to decide what we wanted to study, under the guidance of our teacher. One of the things we did was to read a lot of classics, more than required, because we loved writing reports on them. (Oh, geez… but it’s true.)

So I came away from high school with the opinion that if a book wasn’t a “classic,” it wasn’t worth my time.

In 1974 a friend became a manager of a book store. We had multiple discussions on the subject of classics vs. modern novelists. His conjecture was that there were many new books worth reading. Mine was, well, you know. If it wasn’t a classic, I wasn’t interested.

But what makes a classic? The thought kept running through my mind. Does a book have to be a hundred years old to be a classic? Was I actually missing out by not reading books written by current authors? Were some NEW books worthy of being a classic?

My friend finally made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He would give me one book to read, a book of his choosing. And if I didn’t like it, he would never try to convince me I should read current authors again.

The book was Cashelmara, by Susan Howatch. And I loved it. It opened my eyes to an entire new world of reading.

I currently have 574 books in my e-reader, and I only started reading e-books 9 years ago. Granted, a few haven’t been read yet. I feel I always have to have something waiting for me. 🙂 I am an avid reader and can’t imagine limiting myself like I used to do.

I am currently finishing The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent. What are you reading? Do you have a favorite author?

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