Sunday Musings: Reading Makes us Judgmental

2018-06-19 17.36.27

When it comes to the type of books another person reads, I will be the first to admit that I judge them. I make assumptions about individuals just because of their reading habits. This person has so many biographies in their bookshelf, they must be really boring; oh, there are so many religious books in this shelf, this person must be extremely religious; so many romances in this shelf must mean that this person lives in a dream world. And it goes on and on.

Everyone has prejudices and we tend to look at others through our own prejudiced eyes, deeming them worthy or unworthy of our time. For me, that prejudice resides in bookshelves and book stacks. This doesn’t make me an evil person. I don’t stop socializing with people just because I don’t like what they read. I just judge them silently, in the depths of my heart. No one knows about it, but I do.

In the same way, I feel like everyone is judging me on the books that I read; not because anyone has ever said anything to me, but because I have a guilty conscience. There shouldn’t be any problem if I read an odd romance or some religious text, after all it’s my own choice, yet I have to think hard about putting it out there on any social media. No one has ever called me out on my reading choices, so what is it that has made me afraid to put it out there?

I find that there is no answer to this. As long as I have my own prejudice, I will continue to be scared myself. Over the years, there have been many books that I have read because everyone was reading them, even if I didn’t really want to read them. This urge to do what is acceptable was the worst in my teenage and early twenties, when I read an average of 2-3 books a week to keep up with what I wanted to read, and what the world was reading.

Back in school, every girl I knew was reading Sweet Dreams or Sweet Valley High, which later gave way to Mills &Boon romances. There was nothing wrong with reading these, except that I only read them to appear normal. The truth is, that I was probably the only girl in my class who actually enjoyed reading the books assigned to us for our English literature classes, and who looked forward to borrowing books recommended by the high school English teacher! I didn’t want to be the class nerd though, so I compromised by reading everything. Thank God I have somewhat grown up after all these years!

Ever since I started my Bookstagram account and this blog a year and a half back, this urge has reduced exponentially. I find that I can only write about the books that I really want to read, and that makes me ignore all the books that I don’t really want to get into. Add to that the lack of time and energy for unwanted pursuits, I find that I have started reading for myself again. Now, I don’t read in order to appear well read, or interested in popular works, I just read to please myself and have a good time.

Unfortunately, that still hasn’t stopped me from making assumptions about others based on what they read. I realize that that makes me a horrible human being, but we all have our vices, and mine is to secretly and silently judge others on what they read (or don’t read)!

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