Does What We Read Truly Tell Who We Are?

Does what we read truly tell who we are? That seems to be the overall consensus, but is it really true? Are those who enjoy the classics or the newest title by an under-40 recognized New Yorker writer really in a smarter class than those who read Candace Bushnell or Debbie Macomber?

I have friends who work in finance and deal with billion dollar companies who like to come home to Lauren Conrad’s newest novel, and others who are actresses who read historical books about Poland in the 1940s that you’d have to pay me to read. Don’t we usually assume (and act) like the opposite of those examples would be true?

Why are the literati supposed to read certain authors and scoff at others? Who decides  which titles and authors are worth reading? Like that of most art, is the beauty of the written word in the eye of the beholder or should there really be a standard of what is good and what is bad? If we do have clear lines (i.e. Stephenie Meyer is to be mocked and Kurt Vonnegut revered), then we would have to claim that writing is not an art form, that it’s something more logical.

So, thoughts away… let me know what you think. Why do we (who care strongly about books) label and judge authors and genres, while concurrently speaking and writing about literature* as the art form that most of us assume it is?

*In this case I am using literature as “the art of written works” and not as a specific genre.


Wallace Yovetich reviews an eclectic mix of literature spanning from graphic novels to classic literature on her book blog, Unputdownables. Follow her on Twitter: @BookishWallace