Arts Room 101: Pretentious Book Snobs

I love books, all different types of books. From epic adventures to out-there sci-fi, to historical dramas and even the occasional trashy romance. The world of books and the stories they tell is a magical place. But there are those who threaten to destroy the magic and mystery of the book; the pretentious book snob. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book review and there are some books that I just don’t like. But those who dissect each and every book in terms of characterisation, prose and any number of poncey things I’m just not clever enough* (*sorry up myself) to think of should be thrown into Arts Room 101 way before any badly written poetry or finger painting passed off as modern art. Here are my top 5 reasons why.

1. Books are for all, not just those who have swallowed a thesaurus

Given half a chance, the pretentious book snob will reel off a number of long, complicated, on the surface clever sounding phrases and words that are intended to make them sound knowledgeable and refined. Very few people care if you know what those things mean. Let’s be honest, books are to be enjoyed by everyone, no matter whether you listened in English class or not.

2. Pretentious book snobs often talk bull***t

Half the words that come out of these peoples’ mouths are complete bull***t; “I liked the concept but the execution of the characterisation and synergy with the landscape….” Blah blah blah. If they stopped for a moment to take their heads out from their behinds they might realise that having an opinion about a book is a great thing, a wonderful thing. But only if others can actually understand it. Stop talking rubbish, you just sound stupid.

3. A book is as good as your imagination

Alright yes, whether a book is good does in a very large part depend on the author’s ability to create believable, likable and convincing characters and plot lines. But the measure of a good book is also surely in some part measured by your imagination as the reader to take these characters and places off the pages and transform them into something more. What the pretentious book snob fails to realise is that you can have one of the worst written books in terms of prose and what-not but if you as the reader warm to a character then your imagination has the power to save that dismally written book. Despite its awfully written chapters.

4. Who cares if you’re reading 50 Shades?

The pretentious book snob is naturally snobby about other people’s choice of reading material. Just because they would never dream of offending their eyes with anything less than a Booker Prize winner doesn’t mean that they have the right to judge others on what they read. There are millions of books in the world, it’s going to be hard to find someone who likes every genre of book there is. So don’t become that book snob when you next see someone with a book you wouldn’t dream of reading; you never know, stepping out of your literary comfort zone might surprise you.

5. Book snobs ruin books for others

No one wants to feel like an idiot after reading a book (though in the case of a course text book it’s pretty hard not too). But talking to a pretentious book snob after reading the same book can leave you feeling pretty stupid for not picking up on all those historical inaccuracies or lack of convincing synergy with the characters. Pretentious book snobs ruin books for all us normal people who just like to have a good read.

Emma Lawton

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