Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read (The Best of Book Riot)

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

Much of the good ship Book Riot is off at Book Expo America this week, so we’re running some of our best stuff from the first half of 2013. We’ll be back with reports from BEA next week and our usual array of new book-nerdery.



The Golden Treasury of Not Apologizing to Snooty Dicks

The Golden Treasury of Not Apologizing to Snooty Dicks

… And I’m Canadian, so I know a thing or two about insincerely apologizing for stuff.

I have a lot of chats with people about books, and usually what happens is that things are going along fine until the person in question finds out that I teach capital-L Literature at a post-secondary institution. Then the conversation shifts and the person feels this need to apologize for their reading taste. “Oh,” he or she will say. “You know, these Tom Clancy books. They’re silly but… Haha. Sorry!”

They’re silly but what? You love them? Awesome! I am stoked that you have a thing you like. Let’s talk about why books are great!

You should not apologize for what you like to read. The person you are apologizing to can only fit into one of three categories:

1. He or she shares your joy.
2. He or she doesn’t give a good goddamn.
3. He or she thinks less of you for what you read in which case don’t apologize to that person because he or she is clearly a douchebag who doesn’t deserve your obeisance.

Number 1 requires no apology. Number 2 requires no apology. Number 3 neither requires nor deserves! an apology.

I mean it. The best way to take back power from people who want to make chatting about books into the worst parts of the most draconian high school English class ever is to let them know we don’t care. That we read not always to grow or learn or impress or define ourselves but once in a while, or even lots of the time, for the pleasure of the act.

I’ll start. Hi, I’m Brenna! I really enjoy Dan Brown’s books. Nope, not a guilty pleasure*. Just a thing I enjoy! I’m okay with it if you think they’re not worth very much as books as long as you’re okay with me not caring and reading them anyway. How about you?

* My next crusade will be to excise the phrase “guilty pleasure” from the language. DEGRASSI IS NOT A GUILTY PLEASURE. IT’S JUST A THING I LIKE.


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