Discussion Post: The Criticism We Receive Because We Love Reading

"Ew. How can you like reading?"
"That's so nerdy."
"Instead of buying books, you should save. Or spend money on something useful."
"What?! You actually enjoy going to the library?!"
"Are you like okay? You're not like mental? You actually read for pure enjoyment?"

Many of the things I have heard, when I tell people I like reading. In today's society, people who enjoy reading are labelled as "geeks", "nerds" and "boring" with "no life". I'm still not quite sure why people still have this reaction to people who have an unquenchable love for reading and all things bookish. I don't see how it's any different to people who's hobbies include running, guitar and singing. I know there are some people who hate reading, (I still don't see HOW that is possible, but anyway) but that doesn't mean they have to criticise people who do enjoy it.

It's like I hate sports. I can not run to save my life and when I do I look like a drunk chicken that has a cloth covering it's eyes. Yes, it's that bad, I'm not even kidding right now.
When someone says to me they love athletics and running and jumping and stuff, I refrain from saying "Are you out of your mind? Like, really." because we all have our own personal preferences and I know how it feels for being looked down upon because you enjoy something. I love reading, it takes me places I could never have imagined by myself, I meet characters that are so incredibly amazing and it makes me feel strong emotions at times. But why are we judged because of that?

I have always been encouraged to read and I have always loved reading. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my parents every Saturday and getting me books to read. My dad's side of the family love reading and buying books, my mom's side of the family don't like reading and consider buying books "hoarding." When my grandparents on my mom's side visited a few weeks back, they said some things to me that had me quite taken aback. Now I love my grandparents and they're great, but really.

When I was asked to be taken to the library, they refused to take me as they hated reading and the library was boring. Wait, what? My oupa refused to take me because he hated libraries. All he had to do was take me there and sit in the car or visit a nearby shop. But he refused to take me to the library. Now they generally do everything for their grandchildren, but they refuse to take me to the library? Because they hate it? It's not like I'm asking them to buy me illegal substances, I'm just asking them to take me to one of my favourite places, where there are books and other book lovers. I'm their grandchild that they do a lot for, as well as for my cousins, but why not take me to the library? Why not feel happy that I am atleast reading and doing well in school work and wanting to go to the library than being in the streets surrounded by bad stuff?

They said I was a hoarder because I buy books and go to the library even though I have quite a few books to read already. I absolutely hate it when people call me a hoarder just because I buy books. I do read those books, it's just because I have so many it takes awhile to read all of them. And I might occasionally experience *cough* a bit of abibliophobia. But I'm not a hoarder. I also hate it when people say "Why do you buy books? You have enough." ASDFGHJKL. Enough? ENOUGH?!?!?! You can NEVER have to many books! NEVER! There are so many books I want to read and if I see a book that I've been dying to read or a few books on sale that look good, I will buy them. I will. The only issue is finding space, and of course, money.

People have also said to me that I am a hermit and all I do is read and sit on the computer and I need to go out and socialise. Let's just clarify, I am not a hermit. I do go out, I go to dance classes twice a week, I'm starting piano again soon, I go to the library, I go to friends, I go out with my family. I'm can be quite shy and being out 24/7 isn't my favourite things to do. I don't mind talking to new people but more often than not, they're not people I would really like to befriend, as they're quite mature and do stuff that I don't find appropriate. I love being at home and reading, but I also enjoy going to dancing and seeing my friends there. I love being on the computer because it's where I can blog and tweet and go on Goodreads/Booklikes, but I don't stay cooped inside just on the computer everyday. 

I have been told that because I read I don't have a life. And because I read so much and spend my money on books instead of clothes and fangirl over fictional boys instead of real boys (whom just don't compare to Will, Four or Jace >.<) apparently means I don't have a life. EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?! I have fought demons, I have been a victor of the Hunger Games, I have briefly, even, visited Hogwarts. And you tell me I don't have a life. Whooaaaa, back up a minute. I would rather spend my life reading and falling in love with fictional characters and learning stuff then go out partying. I would rather have a room filled with books than a room filled with clothes. Don't tell me I'm not normal just because I love reading. One of the recent comments someone made, when I said I wanted to start something in order to get teenagers more excited about reading, was "Yes but normal teenagers aren't a fan of reading and do other stuff instead of sitting around the whole day" and just to clarify, a grown up said that to me. It actually sickens me that some people view fourteen year olds going out, possibly drinking, swearing and the lot acceptable but reading isn't. What has happened that people view reading as so abnormal? So "lame"? That people who read need to "get a life". People who say that are the ones who need to get a life, who need to think about what they are actually saying and see what is acceptable and what is not.

Like I said earlier, the family on my dad's side love reading and buying books. Mine and my gran's favourite past times is going to eat out and then heading off the to bookstore to buy books. I love it when I speak to my gran because we somehow almost always manage to get onto the topics of books and what we are both reading. And we need more people like that in our lives. I love how since I was small whenever my granny comes to visit she'll sit for hours with me while I show her my book collection and tell her about my favourite characters and she will have a proper conversation with me and she has genuine interest for books and reading. When I buy books she doesn't moan at me like the rest of my family and friends, she just laughs. We need to surround ourselves with book lovers and people who encourage reading, people who don't make you feel bad about rather being at home and reading than being out doing other more "acceptable" things. 

That's why I am so glad I have this blog. I have met so many amazing bloggers that share the same love for reading that I do, and when I have Twitter conversations with them or email them, it's awesome to know they're not thinking, "What? This girl is cray-cray."  I don't think I could ever quit blogging as the community is so supportive and I have "met" so many wonderful bookish people. When I talk about books to people around me, I often get ignored or avoided because of that. It's quite sad that I have had to stop talking about books to certain people because it drives them off. I have luckily met two girls from dance who love reading and who I have gone to the library with. One of my two best friends has also gotten into reading more and I love that! I love being a book blogger too because I can recommend lots of books to people and when they're finished and tell me that they loved it it makes me feel so happy inside and this is what book blogging is about, being able to share and express my love for reading. 

 I also love that I am able to speak to authors and publishers, it's a dream come true! Authors to me are like what rockstars are to other people. Whenever I've done a review on a book I've been sent by one of the lovely publishing companies and it gets retweeted and replied to, or sometimes even by the author themself, it makes my whole day. I will never stop reading, reviewing or blogging for anyone. This is what I love doing and I shall continue to do this for as long as I can and no amount of flack I receive from people will ever change that. 

Sorry for ranting but I had to talk about this. Have you received criticism because you love reading? Have you been told you don't have a life? I want to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to comment.