Opinion

Does What We Read Truly Tell Who We Are?

Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

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.

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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