Dear Book Snobs,

 
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Of course addressing these sorts of topics are always met with apprehension. Especially the fact that we have entered into this place within the digital divide where every single thing is a trigger. LITERALLY EVERYTHING, so I jotted down all of my thoughts and emotions about all of the negative comments I have been seeing about bookstagram and reconfigured them to nix any frustration that may spill over and turn THIS into a negative blog post that will end up being counter productive. 

"Photos of Murakami and Toni Morrison with props? Why?"

"People buy books for pretty covers? LOL"

"Bookstagrammers are sheep."

"I don't understand photographing books."

"They aren't reading the books they're posting."

"Who color codes their bookshelves?"

"Bookstagram is all about aesthetics."

"What adult reads YA books?"

"I don't consider myself a bookstagrammer because I read REAL books."

If your're thinking I created these sentiments to make a point, I didn't. They're real unfortunately. For the past few months I have seen every one of these questions and comments said and asked about the bookstagram community and each time I saw one, I wrote it down knowing that this blog post would go live someday. 

The first thought that people have when you address these things is "well it must be about you, or you're gulity, if you're responding to it." However, I fully disagree. I did not take ANY of these things personally, but as an active member of the reading community I felt I wanted to contribute some food for thought. The undertone of these opinions come off as if there is some "literary hierarchy" WHEN THERE IS NOT. I don't understand how any of these things are connected to the amount of reading someone is or isn't doing. I also wonder how this is gauged through the digital portal that is a phone screen. Unless you live with someone there is no way for you to know whether they are reading or not. This is all based on a bunch of assumptions without fact.

 
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Bookstagram is a powerful community. I receive DMs and emails from people that say, "I read____*insert book*_____because of you." I am sure I am not the only one who receives these messages, but that means something to me as a person who has been reading nearly her entire life. It doesn't matter if I snapped a photo of a book in my hand with no bells and whistles or if I went full flatlay; coffee, candle, the works. It's not as if someone is serving you a full course meal on a garbage can lid. It's just presentation. Judging someone's reading life simply because they choose to make their photos "eye catching" is a bit foolish. We're not posting for Time magazine or National Geographic here. It's mostly a bunch of regular everyday people with regular everyday lives using Instagram to share their bookish passions. REMINDER: Instagram is a PHOTO SHARING APP as in VISUALS. Let's not forget that. Remind me again why Audre Lorde, Faulkner and Murakami cannot be laid next to props. Explain to me the logic in this. If they are placed with these things does that mean I didn't read them? How is all of it determined?

Mentioning those particular authors is also the perfect segue to my next point. So let's, for example, say you only read Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, {I HOPE TO READ WORK FROM BOTH OF THEM BY THE WAY}, and other authors in these "sort of" categories. Where are you ranked versus someone that only reads YA? Or if you only read classics? *scratches chin* Are you the "better reader”? If you answered yes to this, then congratulations you're a book snob and if that is a self proclaimed title you are proud of, by all means, do you!!!!!!!!! The problem is you don't need to use this title to bury other readers in the dirt who aren't reading what YOU'RE reading. It's not okay for me or anyone to assume you are a pretentious human because of your reading selections so grant others the same non judgmental attitude. Take the high road as my mom says.   

 
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Why is there such a double standard and a huge hypocrisy? You are allowed to read ONLY certain types of books that you consider "real reading", but that doesn't work the other way around when it includes YA, High Fantasy or Dystopian or the like. I, myself am not a huge YA reader, but if I see a story that intrigues me, I will pick it up and read it. YA or not. I think the most disappointing aspect of this entire situation is that reading is supposed to bring people together but instead bookstagram is divided into these groups and subgroups where one's nose is turned up towards the other. For clarity, there is NOTHING wrong with just following people that read the books you're reading or that you have an interest in. Booksta is vast so there's no need to trash others from YOUR corner of it. REFLECTION: Have you ever considered IG's demographic? This does NOT apply to all, but if we're being an open book ;-), how many thirteen, fourteen and fifteen year-old's do you think are reading  Faulkner, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Nobakov, African Literature, Essays or Dostoyevsky? Some but not a whole lot.

Instead of bashing a whole community of people who find simple joys in having fun, {because that's what it's supposed to be anyway} coffee shops, autumn and taking photos of the books they love or want to read as much as you do, why not say, "Hey, I notice there is a lack of these kinds of authors & stories so I am starting this project and I'd love for you to be a part of it." Take your misplaced frustration, change your tone and turn it into something positive because...

NO ONE WILL LISTEN TO YOUR POINT OF VIEW PAST YOUR INSULTS.

The other question I have for you is this. Are people not allowed to discuss their lifestyle and other interests outside of reading? Also how many books do you finish at one time? I ask  because thinking that EVERY. SINGLE. CAPTION. should be a book review is also not very logical. Where are these rules coming from? People work. Have families and friends. Write. Thrift shop. Bujo lol. Dine out. Travel. Sketch. Paint. So basically the idea is that people shouldn't post unless it's about a book. Bookstagram will always be bookstagram even when people are talking about life, but my mom DID NOT name me "bookstagrammer" or any other person's mom that is a member of the community LOL.

You are a human who loves to read. Not a reader who happens to be human. This means there are other things to be shared, but because someone posts "too many" consecutive photos NOT highlighting a book review in every caption, they couldn't possibly be reading. It is absolutely possible for things to happen in one's life and it not be posted to social media. If you think that it's impossible even in the scope of reading,  than I would definitely consider taking a break. If bookstagram is made up of a bunch of sheep then there's a seat saved for you as well. If you are truly an intellect based solely on what you're reading than I would think you are intelligent and open enough to know that often times people use reading to decompress, for self care, to escape, to relax and that doesn't always include Instagram.

Recently I went on an unplanned hiatus from Instagram. I went three weeks without posting and in that three weeks I finished 6 books. I haven't posted about them yet, added them as 'read' on Goodreads. They are posted nowhere, but if I talk about autumn and coffee in the mean time, I'm not reading. Allow that sink in. There is no rule saying that people HAVE to post them to prove to others that they are reading. I can assure you it's madness and I think that's the basis of this new found book snob culture. If you're not posting the books you're reading then you're just not. IG is a receipt I suppose. 

Someone who reads only YA is still a reader.

Someone who reads only classics is a reader.

Someone who reads only African Literature is a reader.

Someone who has a theme is a reader.

Someone that obsesses over Autumn is a reader. 

Someone that DOES NOT want to read Crime & Punishment is a reader.

Someone that posts NO BOOKS AT ALL is a reader.

Someone who doesn't post to social media IS a reader.


You choose what you like. Let others do the same. It's an app designed to share whatever. I would also like to encourage you to seek other platforms if one does not suit your taste; Goodreads, Twitter, Online book clubs that read specific genres and authors. You should not be feeling any level of frustration over something so irrelevant. Channel some of that angst towards social issues not who color codes their bookshelf & who you THINK isn't reading because of it and if they are a "bookstagrammer" then they SHOULD be posting books 24 hours a day, you know, according to you. NOTE: You should also be fairly unbothered by people you DON'T follow anyway. Focus and cultivate bookish relationships where you see fit. Inspire others to read different genres, post a How-To to your blog, or whatever platform you use, about writing academic reviews. If you’re a book god, use your power for good. Create something for teens to get them to read Bronte or War & Peace or James Baldwin. When I saw a lack of classics by people of color, I added that to my highlights. It’s a project I am still revamping. “I didn’t say, “Omg bookstagram is just racist because no one is reading classics by poc.” I saw a lack of something and a need and am trying to fill that in a positive way. Contribute positively or be silent. And yes the things I tackled here maybe "YOUR opinion" but know your opinion is toxic. 

I'm obsessed with Autumn & coffeeshops. I can be incredibly goofy and aloof but I've also read every single one of Donna Tartt's, Octavia Butler's, James Bladwin and Toni Morrison's books. Reading Murakami now and going through my African Literature collection slowly. I may post about that. I may not. 

{{{{{{Don't put people in boxes that you don't want to be put in yourself.}}}}}

 
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