(Today's blog comes with a disclaimer: I am much more focused in my Booktube videos than I ever will be in this blog. It evidently all ties up just stay with me here.)
Yesterday the wonderful Christine from polandbananasBOOKS posted a quick FAQ style confessions video in which she explained that she can not read The Fault in Our Stars because of her physical reaction to diseases. She had to explain this because of the sheer number of questions plus several rude demands that she read it.
I feel like by being part of any book community there are pressures and expectations to read certain things. It really shouldn't ever be a shock to find out someone hasn't read a book that has come out in the last two years. For me, books are far more expensive than movies or music. Not that I have ever tried, but books are far harder to illegally download than movies or music.
However, now that I think of it, no one should ever be rudely shocked ("Why isn't there a review of this book on your site? YOU'VE NEVER READ IT? WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?!") that someone hasn't read a book. Any book, classic or not. The Gwendolyn Reading Method recently uploaded a video called "You Haven't Read WHAT??" talking about her experiences with people shocked over her unread books.
There are far too many books and not nearly enough time. That is the struggle of the reader. Therefore, we should all respect each others book choices. We can't read EVERYTHING. My time on Earth is precious, so I'm only going to read certain books. I use a very complicated system to decide what those books will be (let's just call it "I Read Whatever the Fuck I Feel Like") but I do have a few things that would stop me from reading a book even if I really, really wanted to read it.
If you've been subbed to me on YouTube for a while, you might know that I talk about my anxiety a lot. Basically college messed me up and it was really bad for a long time. It's still bad. In fact, it's so bad that I totally understood where Christine was coming from because I experience a physical and emotional reaction due to fiction containing college plot lines. I don't faint, but I do shake and hyperventilate and cry and other things related to panic attacks.
I can't watch Undeclared despite the fact that it has my favorite actor of all time in it. I skipped several episodes of Buffy during her first year at college. Most recently, I discovered I can't read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This is a book I should read, one that people will be shocked to discover I haven't read in a few months. I own it and the cover art is by my favorite illustrator. I've read Rainbow's other work and loved it. It's based on the Harry Potter fandom. It's title is literally in my username for every site. The summary is a summary of my life. I thought it was going to be the book for me. Opened up to the first page, read that the main character is moving her stuff into her freshman dorm, went "nope," closed the book and proceeded to have a panic attack that left me drained and depressed for over two days.
So, yeah, I'm not going to be reading Fangirl until I have completely sorted out my anxiety over college because I don't wish to cause myself real emotional and physical distress over a book (although it can be argued that I have emotional distress over all fictional stories that I care about at all, but that's normally welcomed. This is not).
Just for the record, I know that college is not a trigger for me and that this whole post is about typical 'first world problems,' but it's still a thing that happens to me and apparently other people, too. Also I'm totally not comparing Christine's thing to mine because they're not the same thing at all but her video just prompted me to talk about this. Lot's of disclaimer's today.
Basically, this is a really convoluted way to say let's not judge people by what they've read or haven't read. There could either be a "legitimate" reason for it, or "just freaking because, that's why." No big deal, wither way. Unless it's Harry Potter. Then you better get on that.