Everyone loves a good book, and even though reading is a solitary practice, sharing your thoughts about a work that you particularly enjoyed is natural.
Of course, as we live in an opinionated society, there are certain types of book readers that tend to take it too far. There are times in conversations about novels where the only thing running through the mind is, "Come on, seriously?" or "Oh not this again," or the best of them all, "I wish you didn't know how to read."
And several of the types of readers who elicit those reactions:
1. The Classics
This particular breed of reader is actually usually somewhat intelligent. They have a vast knowledge of Shakespeare, Melville, Dickens and the Bronte sisters. At first, these creatures may seem to be nostalgic, a rare anomaly in the population of readers.
But then they tell you that they don't read past the 19th century because "books that were written after their precious 19th century tomes are not art."
Yes, apparently Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Joyce were just a bunch of hacks who threw words together in order to make a few pennies.
Upon further examination, the classical reader has a deep disgust for anything that doesn't depict society as it is today. Which of course is why they only enjoy books that feature white males as the dominate species, while the rest of the world bows at their feet.
I guess sticking with classics has made these readers do exactly what fiction is supposed to do: become a part of the story.
2. The English Major
Ah, the joys of going to school for literature. It's basically like paying to be a "professional reader." I can say this because I myself received a degree in English. But no where on that degree does it say that "You are the master of all things involving literature. You can't be wrong. You're the best. Show off your degree whenever you have the chance, and even when it isn't warranted."
Nothing worse than pulling out the English major card during a discussion about books. You know the type, usually quiet until the topic turns to reading, then it's as if their robotic degree comes to life. "Well I am/was an English major so-"
Nope, sorry. You already lost. This, now common breed of reader, is the one that won't shut up until their point is so far shoved down your throat that you have no choice but to step back.
If you are going to talk about books, sure a degree in English will most likely help, but if it is used in an attempt to show clout over fellow readers or to argue a point, then you double-majored in English and in the art of being an asshole.
Proving points solely because of the $100,000 piece of paper that you have makes you look like the idiot, even if you, as the "professional reader" are surrounded by mere amateurs.
3. The Twilight/Fifty Shades Reader
Did you know that originally there were only four books in the whole world? If so, then you probably also know that those four books gave the gift of life to three more.
You must be thinking that it's tremendously difficult to choose which one of the seven is the best, so why don't you just say that they are the best books ever.
It's somewhat sad that books that verbally and physically abuse the English language turn out to be so popular. With that popularity, comes declarations of outlandish proportions as to their merits.
Presenting the ever so common breed of reader: The Twilight/Fifty Shades die hard, OMG they are the best, fans.
To use their "lingo," SMH.
Of course, a large majority of these readers don't actually read other books, and that comes as no surprise when you, as the curious reader that you are, opens one of the luscious bindings to find a foreign environment of cliched garble, ridiculous characters and writing that would have lauded when you were in middle school.
Yes, they are popular. And yes, there is a reason for that, but the problem with this particular reader is that they don't know how to contain their excitement. Maybe it's the tantalizing spell that has been cast over them by the power of these books, but when they go around saying that their favorite books are Twilight or Fifty Shades, one can't help but ask, but have you read any other of these things that you call "books"?
4. The I've Read Everything Reader
You're sitting in a room with a group of friends, when someone starts talking about a book. "Yeah, I've read that. It was alright, not one of my favorites though."
The conversation shifts to another book, then another, and each time the same person says that he/she has read it, but doesn't want to discuss it any further than giving their opinion on if they liked it or not.
This is the type of reader that might not even be a reader at all, or maybe they actually have read all of the hundreds of millions of books out there. Stranger things have happened, right?
What's especially aggravating about this know-it-all is that they can never remember any details from a book that they have read since they "read it a long time ago."
One has the desire to put a book in their hands and watch them read it from beginning to end, just to see that they actually know how to read.
The "I've read everything" reader is the type that thinks that everyone is easily impressed by their knowledge. To the untrained ear, they can be seen as extremely well-rounded in all areas of fiction, but when they claim that they have read Infinite Jest or The Executioner's Song but yet can not remember a single thing about it, something is up.
How could you possibly read a thousand-page book, but forget every detail?
Oh, I forgot. You read it a long time ago. Now I understand.
5. The Movie Adaptation Reader
Movies are great, and great books that are adapted into movies are always of interest, but does seeing a movie give the excuse to not read the book?
According to the movie adaptation reader, yes.
This breed gets by very sneakily. They see the movie, and then claim that they and planned on reading the book, but really what's the point when you already watched it play out on a big screen?
Each year, they read as many books as the movies that they were adapted from, and they feel good about that because hey, they were going to read it first.
Next time you encounter one of these types ask them if they have read The Catcher in the Rye. Chances are they are waiting for the movie.
That's a darn shame.
6. The Fixated on One Book Reader
So you read a lot of books. Maybe a one or two a week. That's good, you are definitely above the cut.
But then you come across the breed who asks you about one particular book. Chances are, you have heard of the title, but you, as an honest reader, say that you haven't read it.
"You haven't read it!? And you call yourself a reader? You haven't read anything until you read this book, man."
And now all of your reading means nothing, because as this individual says, you aren't really a reader until you read that specific book.
Okay, okay. This pushy reader means well. They enjoyed a book so much that it is a part of their life, and that is a wonderful thing.
But there is nothing more annoying then someone judging your reading habits based on the book that really makes you a reader.
But if you say they same thing about a different book, the topic will almost instantly go back to the one that is the best of them all, the life changing book.
And of course, there is no reasoning with this type of reader. Let them enjoy their earth-shattering book while you go back to reading what you want.
You can still call yourself a reader. After all, that person will continue to live off of the defining work, not reading much more of anything at all.