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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Opinion | Let’s end book discrimination

Opinion+%7C+Let%E2%80%99s+end+book+discrimination
Thalia Sifnakis | Staff Illustrator

Since a young age, I have proclaimed myself as a well-rounded reader, reading everything from fantasy, romance, mystery, historical fiction and even self-help books. Some people may strongly prefer one specific genre over others, which is also OK. In the reading community, there are tons of differences to every reader — not one person is alike in the books that they prefer. Some may only read academically, some might only read their favorite books over and over again and other readers may only read the classics.  So why have we started to judge others simply based on the books they like?

Recently, I have found myself on the book side of TikTok, also known as BookTok. On BookTok, users will make book reviews, give book recommendations, share books on their to-be-read list and many other things. Overall, it seems like a very welcoming place for people who love to read. It gives others a chance to find people who have similar tastes to them and connect with others based on those similarities. But like all things, BookTok does have a negative side to it. 

The negative side I’m talking about is how readers will very blatantly judge others based on the genre they like to read or their favorite books. Going on the internet and hating on people isn’t a new thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly rude, especially if you’re going to bash others just because they like one genre of books that you don’t specifically find interesting. 

What I have seen firsthand is people judging the dialogue, plot or characters of a book and when they come upon someone who loved the book, they degrade this person just because they enjoyed it. I’ve specifically seen this for romance books. Romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but many people enjoy it. For many, romance books are a chance to read a happily ever after and maybe even a bit of smut. Just because the book isn’t as intellectual as Homer’s “The Odyssey” does not mean it can’t be a good read. 

One side of the internet hates books like “Icebreaker” by Hannah Grace or any Colleen Hoover book, but another side adores them. I personally have read these books, and I wouldn’t say that they’re my favorite, but I can also understand why so many enjoy them. I would never publicly criticize someone who likes them on the internet just because I don’t. Understanding that we are all different and accepting those differences is a common courtesy we all deserve. 

Another layer to this is people also disregard a book just because it’s popular. For some, liking things that are deemed as popular suddenly turns into a negative thing. But the reason things get popular is because so many people enjoy it. For people to hate on things just because a large majority likes something doesn’t give you a valid reason to hate it. It just makes you think, do you actually hate the book, or do you hate it because everyone loves it? 

To me, actions like this give off a type of arrogance and superiority complex that has no place in the book community. Just because you read classics and others read fluffy romance books does not make you better or smarter than anyone else. Who cares if the book you read doesn’t help you reach enlightenment or make you question the universe as we know it? At the end of the day, books are purely for self-enjoyment. 

Reading any book is beneficial to everyone and making fun of people for reading what they like can honestly be unmotivating. There are so many more benefits to reading than just trying to become “smarter.” It can be a way for people to reduce stress, improve sleep, improve concentration and exercise their brain‌. If anything, BookTok should be encouraging people to read any type of book instead of bringing people down. 

Of course, everyone has the right to their opinion, and it is perfectly OK if you do not enjoy a book you read. If you go look at a review for any book, there will always be people who just did not like the book as much as you did. But honestly, that is the beauty of reading — to be able to have the freedom to read whatever you want and form your own opinion about that book as well. This is why platforms like Goodreads exist, so anyone can share their opinion about any book, regardless if it’s negative or positive. Individual taste in reading is a positive thing and there is no reason we should turn it into something negative.  

So the next time you’re in a Barnes & Noble or your local library, take a look around to really notice the different types of book there are. Notice the different people that read those books. Instead of disregarding them, maybe try to understand why they like the books that they do. 

Explore a different genre or new authors, and take a moment to appreciate the diversity of books. You might even find a book that you enjoy no matter how popular it is.

And when you stumble on BookTok again and watch a review about a book you loathe, remember if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it. It costs nothing to be kind to others on the internet. 

 

Danae Poteat writes primarily about pop culture and current events. Write to her at [email protected]

 

About the Contributor
Danae Poteat, Staff Columnist
I’m Danae and I am currently majoring in nursing and in the process of getting a global health certificate. I am a pop culture addict and niche meme lover. Write to me at [email protected]