Monday, January 25, 2016

Discussion Post: I Used to Be Book Prejudiced

Wow, that sounds like this is going to be a much deeper discussion than I planned. But honestly, there is really no other way to put that. I used to be prejudiced against certain books. I judged books without reading them and thought I could definitively say that I didn't like a certain book and or genre because of that. But you guys, I was so wrong.

Now don't get me wrong, being book prejudices can be a good thing. Sometimes there are books that you know you are not going to like. And that's totally okay. There are more than enough books out there in the world and not enough time to read them all. Taking the time to read something that isn't up your alley just because it's popular is just asking for trouble and/or a DNF. We all have different taste in books and knowing what you like and what you don't like can definitely be a good thing. Keep avoiding those books that aren't your thing. But that's not what I mean here. Book prejudices go deeper than that.

We in the YA community are very sensitive to the idea of book prejudices. How many times has there been an article or comment where someone summed up YA as being nothing but sparkly vampire love stories and you turned into The Incredible Hulk because you knew they were so wrong? How about fans of genre fiction being told their favorite author is less than literary because they write "made up stories about dragons and dwarves." That is one that I personally hate and have heard a lot from people. These are book prejudices. You have written off an entire marketing category, an entire genre, an entire author just because they write a certain kind of story.

And as much as I hate when people do this to me, I have been guilty of doing it myself. I haven't read much erotica because the few books I have read, just didn't work for me. So as a rule I just kind of avoid the entire genre. Let's be honest, I avoid romances in general. I just say as a blanket statement, I don't like romances. I did a whole discussion post about it how I'm romancephobic, after all! That's a book prejudice. I also say that I don't like road trip stories. Travel is not a plot device to me and a never ending travel monologue is not enough action for me. Books about people driving around in a car or bus, or god forbid walking, just so they can break out of their comfort zones and learn about the world and themselves aren't my thing. But, that's a book prejudice. I also say all the time that I don't like books that are sad on purpose. I'm already a crier. I don't need some book about cancer, suicide, or first love gone wrong to get my feels and tears flowing. I just need to read that one chapter in Little Women and I will be an emotional wreck. Another book prejudice though.

But that being said, I think in the past year I have made a lot of strides to break down those prejudices and try books that I didn't think I was going to like. In particular YA contemporaries. When 2015 began I was firmly of the belief that I do not like YA contemporaries. I was prejudiced to believe that they are nothing but insta-love triangles about manic pixie dream girls or boy next doors changing how a teenager thinks about the world by kissing them. And sure there are those kinds of stories but that's not all and you know what, some of those books are actually pretty good. There is a lot of deeper things going on with YA Contemporaries. There are some really fun and cute books about first love. There are also a lot of coming-of-age stories with characters finding out who they are and their place in the world. I read one really great book that broke down that barrier and now I am more open to other books within the genre. Some of my favorite books of 2015 were YA contemporaries and removing that prejudice allowed me to read those books.

There are also some pretty good books that are sad on purpose. I used to avoid contemporaries where I was going to cry because I wanted to laugh and be happy when I read about people like me. Having your heart ripped out can be entertaining from time to time as well. That emotion leads to drama and can often be more honest than things that are optimistically happy. It's all about balance, right? Plus if you avoid all the sad books you're really limiting yourself. I avoided most historical fiction set during World War II because I thought all it did was show one aspect of the time period that was sad on purpose and it seemed boring and tired. But I broke down that prejudice too and read some gorgeous, thought-provoking, and emotional books that I loved. I'm still overly cautious about sad books but I have definitely broken down the prejudice and will give those books a try.

I'm glad I broke down those barriers and stopped being so prejudiced against certain genres, settings, and types of books. Because honestly I would have missed out on some really amazing books if I had kept them in tact. The biggest thing I learned is that it's not about the genre, setting, or mood of the story. What it's about is the story itself. Limiting your reading because of your perceived notions about how you think that book is going to make you feel is not really a great idea. I think that's how you get burned out. You stick to a narrow focus of books then it seems like nothing is creative and you're just experiencing the same book over and over again. You can ruin great books and genres that way. Know your tastes and your triggers but break out of your comfort zone, give some books you wouldn't normally read a try. Who knows, you may find one of your new favorite books.

Now I originally planned on listing a bunch of books here that, based on my book prejudices, I thought I wasn't going to like and then actually loved. But this post is already longer than I planned plus I realized that tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie and this is such a perfect topic. So come back then and check out my top ten books I thought I would hate but didn't.

Do you have any book prejudices? Have you broken them and actually liked the books? Do you think it's fair to not read an entire category of books because you haven't liked it in the past? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. What an interesting topic to discuss. I'm looking forward to seeing tomorrow's post.

    As for books I'm prejudice towards I'd have to say WWII books, Horror I get nightmares from them so I try to stay away from them as much as possible. But if someone recommends them to me I would ask how much of the war do you see and then based on their answer I'd try it.

    Other than that I think I'm open to almost any book.

  2. I have some book prejudices. I’ve been able to overcome a lot of them, but I still don’t like “fluffy” books. If something is described as a “cute summer beach read” I avoid it like the plague. I just can’t make myself care about those books.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. Oh boy, sometimes I think we are like book prejudiced twinsies or something... I keep on saying that contemporary is not my go to genre, even if thankfully I've started reading more of it and found some really amazing stories that I've loved to bits! Same with romance... in 2015 I started reading more contemporary & historical romance and found books that I loved too! Taking chances does pay off!

  4. I was prone to saying that I only enjoyed fantasy and sci-fi when I first started blogging, thinking that contemporaries were fluffy and complete drivel, but friends finally convinced me that contemporary novels had something to offer. And now some of my favorite books are contemporaries. :) I'm still not big on the really sad ones, though.

    I also didn't think I'd really ever enjoy historical fiction, but I've given it a chance and now I love it. It's actually what I'm currently very much into right now, especially the ones featuring cross-country treks and the Regency era. I actually just finished Wolf by Wolf which I had no intentions of reading, but I loved it. I've always been intrigued by World War II, but for some reason, I was scared to read this one. But the audio was fantastic. Makes me really glad I gave it a try.

    I hope you find many more favorites that are out of your comfort zone!

  5. Wonderful post and I think we all have some book prejudices! For example, I automatically assume I won't like fantasy and, especially, historical/high fantasy YA. But when I've tried it, it has been so much better than I thought. Especially those books that make everyone's best of lists. It's so good to get out of your comfort zone because there are so many great books out there!!

  6. I used to be prejudiced against fantasy novels, but now I LOVE fantasy. Other than that, I agree there are just some I know I won't like.

  7. I have all kinds of books prejudices. I am not ashamed it's just things I don't like. I do not care for books with witches and magic--even though I will try anything once. But, I pretty much avoid them. Hey we all have our stuff, right?!