On Not Being A Stuck-Up Reader

On Not Being A Stuck-Up Reader

The Collapse Of My Literary Snobbery and Learning The Value Of Contemporary Works

Wikimedia Commons

On more than one occasion, I've been accused of being "high-maintenance." This quality somehow seeped into my education, and in my growing love for the English language, writing, and literature, I developed quite a severe level of "literary snobbery" which only recently succumbed to better sense.

In high school, my AP English teacher announced to our class that she never read much "commercial lit." She explained that "commercial lit" meant recent works written for entertainment, and that she enjoyed reading more literary, artistic works. Well, I decided then and there that I needed to adopt that mentality.

Goodbye to The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogies beloved during my previous school year. Never would I finish the Harry Potter series. Thank goodness my parents never let me read Twilight, for my scholarly mind would have been irreparably damaged with the written swill of literary commoners. These and any other contemporary works were well beneath my academic standards. Only the "classics" for me from then on.

When I got to college, this mentality only worsened. The more literary works from the past couple of centuries I read, the more I loved them. I admired the complexity of language and challenge for analysis that the works I read presented. I came to love the works that would have once bored me and found beautiful passages in almost everything I read which convinced me that no writers today could possibly compare. I wouldn't touch a book from this century.

I only became increasingly entrenched in my reading prejudice as one professor I respected said that he wouldn't read anything from a writer who is still living. "I might get to those once I finished all the works of dead authors," he declared. "Amen!" I shouted in my head. "Nothing today is very good anyway. It's all fluff with no complexity or challenge. Authors aren't artists like they used to be." Like most judgmental ravings, I later found these thoughts to be incredibly ill-informed and ignorant.

This semester, I am in a class in which we have read 21st Century works. At first, I was (shall I dare say) disappointed that we weren't reading more "challenging" works and instead were reading the "simplistic" contemporary works.

My opinion quickly changed. In these books, I saw that current writers are writing important, thoughtful works that comment on today's society. Cloud Atlas is one book in particular that rocked my misconceptions to their core, as I saw David Mitchell weave complex plots with parallel details and themes across hundreds of years and numerous characters, incorporating a variety of genres. In each one, his writing style and dialogue paint an image of the time he describes.

Cloud Atlas is just an obvious work to point to that showed me how wrong I was about current literature. I don't love everything about the book, obviously, but it accomplished a great deal in knocking me off my pseudo-intellectual high horse. Sure, some of today's books are garbage, but that happens in any century. I knew better than to judge a book by its cover, but only recently did I learn to not judge a book by its generation.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments