Today we're here to talk about an important issue in the book world: self-consciousness, or embarrassment about whatever you're reading.
Nitzan and I can't be the only two people who've had this problem. I mean, I know that there's no reason to be embarrassed about what you're reading, but sometimes I just... am. It also doesn't help that some people just assume that because you're a girl, you'll be reading some kind of romance novel or something. Sure, sometimes, I read romantic books. But I also read many other genres, so it kind of embarrasses me when I actually do read a romance book, and I'm carrying it around.
I feel like people judge me on what I read, and it just feels embarrassing. Like, when I read Pushing the Limits? I carried it around in a book cover. No one could see the actual cover, which was totally fine with me. Because it's embarrassing to carry around a book with a kissing couple on the front. Let's not even mention the fact that my dad eyeballed it pretty closely.
Haha, oh Megs... Want me to talk to your dad and tell him he's lucky, cause Pushing the Limits has a pretty tasteful cover compared to most "romance" books? On second thought, that probably won't really help your case, so let's leave it this way.
On a discussion related note, I understand you perfectly. Half naked couples on the cover is, and will always be (to me), embarrassing.
Honestly, I love romance books. I read them all the time. On my kindle. Where no one can see the guy is half naked, or they're kissing passionately. Where I can make a quick getaway to the main page if anyone considers looking over my shoulder and reading a paragraph (god forbid's they'll do that in any steamy parts. Not that I'm ashamed of reading those, but... I'd die.)
Oh my God yes! This is my biggest fear, really! I hate the feeling of people reading over my shoulder, and it would only be worse if they read something really steamy. Or like in the case of Water for Elephants, they caught sight of a picture. Trust me, sometimes I just don't want to carry them in public!
Neither do I. The few romance books with a "compromising" cover that I own, I read in the comfort of my room, where no one would judge me (and luckily, my parents really don't mind those.)
But when I invite others, and show them my library, things could get... awkward, for me.
Like, hypothetically - when a male friend (for the sake of discussion, one not in the reading community) comes over and spots a book like... 50 Shades, on your bookshelf, what do you say? Do you shuffle your feet and throw a quick excuse (Like "a friend told me I had to read it!" or "I just wanted to see what all the hype was about, you know") or do you proudly announce you've read it?
If I had Fifty Shades on my shelves, I would be from the first. Then I'd try distracting him by my good, tastefully covered books. I would practically THROW books at him to distract him.
Haha, that would be me too. "Well, a friend said I had to read it (which wouldn't be a lie at all), so I did." Then I'd be throwing normal teen books at him to make him forget what he's seen. All the fantasy and dystopian books would probably crush him to death.
So, on another note, I'm also kind of embarrassed when people just stare at my shelves. Somehow it feels like I've opened myself up and they're dissecting me by what I read... do you ever get that feeling? It seems like books are personal. And then there's purchasing books... I'll go out of my way to seem calm when really I'm telepathically telling the cashier to not pay attention to what I've bought. "Don't look at the cover! I am very embarrassed!" I feel like we should petition publishers or something. I mean, I like the covers, but it feels embarrassing.
Well, honestly, I'm super proud of my bookshelves. If anyone is going to judge me based on anything, the least they could do is do it by my shelves, because they are a pretty accurate display of my personality. By my shelves you'd see that I'm a romantic, that I'm a dreamer (fantasy rocks!), that I like to spend as much time as I can in a single world (series atop series), that I like pretty things, that I can be methodical (organization, but only in my shelves), etc...
However, you are correct - this is something personal. Which is why it's in my personal space, and you'd need an invite to come view it. It's like, I'm allowing the other person to see a part of myself. Which is why I'm okay with it. When it's strangers, that accidentally see what I read on the train or street... yeah, uncomfortable.
As for buying books... I used to have that feeling. I used to be very scared of buying more... adult... books at bookstores. Felt like people would look at me oddly. But eventually, I decided - Eff them all! I'll read what I like, and if anybody has a problem with it, shut up. It took me a really long time to get there, though....
Ha, I'll probably be in my twenties before I even get close to that feeling, LOL. But I am, to a degree, very proud of my bookshelves, and I'm sure they're an accurate representation of me. A romantic (just like you), who's crazy about conspiracy theories and extremely in love with all fairytales. Also, I'm obsessed with mythology of every kind. My shelves reflect that. But I don't want just anyone seeing that - I'm highly uncomfortable with strangers being in my room. (Which, believe it or not, has happened before.)
I really hope that one day I'll be able to buy books without thinking! You'd think that it wouldn't be so hard to buy books from book people. I mean, we're strictly a no-judgement community, but it's still hard. But some day it'll get easier.
Someday it will, I'm sure. In the meantime... still kind of hard and embarrassing :/