The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Are You a Book Snob?

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

ImageAs a lover of books, I am generally elated to find people who read books at all.  But there is one type of book reader who manages to get under my skin: the Book Snob.

You know the type.  Maybe they refuse to read anything on the bestseller list because they figure if the “unwashed masses” have embraced it, it can’t be any good.  Maybe they refuse to read a certain genre because it’s not sophisticated enough for them.  Maybe—and believe it or not, I actually know a few people like this—they don’t read fiction.  At all.  They are so thoroughly mired in the real world that they cannot see the purpose of reading a book that didn’t actually happen.  (And seriously, how sad is that?)

But I think if I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that I have some Book Snobbery, too.  I try to tell myself that despite my dislike of memoirs and chick-lit, I would be open to reading a book in one of those genres if I heard they were a cut above the rest, that they eliminated the qualities I dislike about those books (authorial self-absorption for one; the portrayal of women as fashion whores and/or mindlessly man-crazy for the other).  Yet my instinct is to shy away from these books, even when I have better information that should point me otherwise.

I think the trick is to be aware of this weakness, and to try to overcome it whenever possible, to remember that good literature can be found all kinds of places, not just those that fit our high intellectual standards.

For that end, I think I’m going to start Book Snobs Anonymous, a support group where we attempt to wean people from their literary pretentions.  We’ll start everyone out on trade paperbacks, and by the end of the program we’ll have them reading Danielle Steel and the latest celebrity expose like it's Shakespeare.

After all, fellow Book Snobs, isn’t it better that people read something than nothing?


Selected Book Releases, January 26-February 1

ImageBook Release of the Week: The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters by Charles Colson and Harold Fickett, which comes out on February 1.  While I was Googling to find the website for this book, I kept getting links related to Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal.  I wondered, could the Charles Colson who wrote this book also be Richard Nixon’s Special Counsel Charles Colson, who was implicated—although never charged or convicted—in the Watergate scandal.  Turns out, he could.  As a former editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper who watched All the President’s Men no less than 37 times, I’m not sure how to react to this.  On the one hand, it speaks to our collective ability to allow people to reinvent themselves, to redeem their past misdeeds.  On the other hand, it may also speak to our cultural tendency to forget anything that happened more than five minutes ago.

January 27

The Associate by John Grisham—Legal thrillers aren’t usually my thing, but this tale of a promising lawyer forced to takea job he doesn’t want to cover a dark secret actually sounds pretty interesting.

A Darker Place by Jack Higgins—Fiction about a Russian writer who wants to disappear into the West.

Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann—Book 14 in Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series.

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis—A book about how the world is evolving in the Internet era.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford—Debut novel about a man who came of age during World War II.

The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough—Chronicles the rise and fall of the oil dynasties of the 20th century.