My previous article should be an indication that I love the Harry Potter book series. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is actually my favorite book of all time; it's followed closely by S.E. Hinton's book "The Outsiders." I read both of these books when I was in grade school and they have been my favorite books ever since. I read and re-read them. I do this partially because I love them so much and partially because I always discover a part of the book that either I overlooked the past times I read it, or find a part that speaks to me more in my current life situations.
The teacher in one of my English courses I took this year had our class go around and say their favorite book on the first day of class. One of the first people to go said their favorite book was "50 Shades of Grey." That statement led some of my classmates to erupt in laughter. They all proceeded to name their favorite books; almost everyone named a predominant literary classic as their favorite book. By the time it got to me, I was almost embarrassed to say my favorite book because I didn't want to be met with the laughter that was displayed earlier. I decided to be truthful and say "The Outsiders" was one of my favorite books. I didn't receive any laughter with my choice, but I felt a little like an outsider when I said that.
I think the feeling of shame is something all of us book lovers face at some points in our lives, whether it be that we are reading a "trashy" novel at the pool during the summer, or reading a romance novel. Let's face it: we can't always be reading a classic literature novel. Personally, I have read a chunk of the books that are labeled some of the "greats," and didn't like a lot of them. That doesn't mean that I am not intelligent; it just means that I have a different taste in the books that I like.
My two favorite books are books that I believe to be great. They transport me into another world; they push me to think outside of my daily life; they entertain me. The list for why I love them goes on and on. I shouldn't have to justify myself to anyone about why I love a particular book or feel guilty for picking up "Harry Potter" for the millionth time instead of reading Proust. Reading should be a past time that is viewed as such; we should be able to read for our own enjoyment and not have to feel like less of an intellect because of that. I encourage everyone to try to read some of the literary greats because I do believe they really do help expand your horizons. However, you aren't less of a reader because you prefer not to read a classic novel.
Book are meant to be enjoyed. If you like to read, kudos to you. If you like to read hard to comprehend books, kudos to you. If you like to read young adult books, kudos to you. We all have different tastes and we should celebrate the fact that their are billions of books in the world that reflect our individual tastes.