From one reader to another, here’s your slice of reader affirmations.
1. Your taste does not dictate your legitimacy
You could prefer romance novels, picture books, or how-to-row-a-boat books—regardless, it still makes you a person who loves reading books. Everyone has their own preferences on what brings the greatest value to them as readers. Liking things different to the standard does not make your reader status wobbly. Carry that “I’m a Reader” badge with pride!
2. Just because they love this book doesn’t mean you have to
Nothing worse than picking up a trending book and then having to grit your teeth just to get through the first chapter. It is your right to hate a book freely and self-securely. Not everyone has to love the same thing. Much like the famous debate on Normal People author Sally Rooney: you either love her or don’t. What matters is that everyone respects each other’s preferences because reading is not a contest of who reads better. It’s just who enjoys what. We’re a cocktail mix of different book tastes.
3. You’re a still a reader when you’re not reading
Sometimes we need a break. Sometimes life takes the reins. Reading isn’t always in our daily, weekly, or even monthly calendars. But, whether you’re reading or not, you’re still a reader. If you love books and love to read them, it counts. Same with myself: I also go through periods where I’m either devouring five books a second or not touching a book in months. We all go through different patterns of reading. Being too tuckered out to read isn’t a mark on your reading badge.
4. Drop that boring book. Drop it!
It’s all fine to give things a chance, but if it’s been a few chapters and the book is still dragging, give yourself some self-love and drop that book. Many readers want to feel the same buzz they got from reading the book’s reviews. So they force themselves into reading boring writing. They convince themselves that by the end of the book they will feel the same way as all those reviewers. And hey, maybe? But is it worth all that time of hating it? Drop that book and move onto something you’ve actually been dying to read. And then drop that book too if it ends up sucking.
5. Yes, the author wants you to boast about their book
Many of us, particularly those of us a bit more socially shy (hola!), tend to think we're going to be annoying the author if we send them adoring emails or tag them in our online book raves. But, everyone loves a good ego-stroke. Especially those still early in their writing careers (debut authors, emerging writers). Rave away. Every bit helps when you contribute to circulating a beloved book’s image through the socials. The more a book is familiarised with people, the more it sells. How many books have we alone bought because we kept seeing it all over Instagram? It’s free advertising. If you want to boast about the book, don’t hold back. Feed your favourite writers with positive reviews. It’s what keeps them selling and you reading.
6. Everyone has a different style of reading
There are so many different styles of reading. Bookmarks, for instance: do you use them or just whatever piece of scrap paper or receipt you can find? Or maybe you don’t use anything and *shudder* crinkle the book page instead. Some readers enjoy a nice cup of coffee on the side, others tea, and some nothing at all. Some readers enjoy outdoor reading. Others enjoy a cosy bedroom nook. Some wouldn’t dare crack the spine of a book. Others couldn’t read comfortably without it. Some like writing in their books. Others wouldn’t dare. There's so many different reading styles out there, we could create our own reading subcultures.
7. It’s okay to have a guilty pleasure
Us readers might actually be very judgemental creatures, despite our nose for knowledge. For me, while I can get into a classic or literary contemporary, sometimes there’s nothing I like more than a good ol’ young adult fantasy. Maybe one with a heroine that fights like a dude but looks like Jessica Alba. Our tastes in reading move from time to time, and we’re not always looking to be educated or moved when we read. Sometimes we’re just looking for something different. Who knows, maybe there’s people who love young adult fantasy, but then slip out to read The Odyssey or The Secret Garden. Our tastes move like water sometimes, ebbing and flowing in all kinds of different directions.
8. Books or Kindles: it doesn’t matter
It’s still reading, one just suits you more than the other. Sometimes people prefer Kindles for being easily transportable, cost effective and simple. Others prefer physical books for their personality, their gentleness on the eyes and their physicality. To each their own. I love all things paperback and hardback, but I wouldn’t say no to a book on my phone if I happened to be traveling light that day.
9. If it makes you happy, it’s not a waste of money
Possibly the most toxic thing I’m going to preach about here. Don’t stop buying books because your TBR pile is getting high. If it makes you happy, then it’s money well spent. People are out spending money all the time on lipsticks a shade different from ones they already own (like me). So why not buy a book even when you’ve still got more to read at home? Buy the book and enjoy sitting on your thrown of literature. Build castles. Conquer cities. Invest in book real estate.