August 5, 2014

Discussion: Embarrassing Reads!

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 :/


  1. I love the way you do these discussions! Very entertaining! I agree! I typically will avoid bringing books with suggestive covers to school because, well, how awkward. I've had a teacher pick up a book off my desk and read a passage (which wasn't so school appropriate) I died! Awesome post! :D

  2. Why thank you! <3
    Wow, a teacher did that? I hope he/she didn't read it aloud. That's, like, my worst nightmare xD Also, why would they do that? Oo

  3. I can relate to this! I do get quite self-conscious when it comes to public transport, especially. That's why I often opt for bringing the e-reader along instead so I don't have to deal with embarrassing covers. And same when it comes to buying books. I'm less likely to make a physical purchase in a bookshop if there's a half-naked couple on the cover and far more likely just to order it online. It strange, because I tell myself often that I don't care what strangers think, and yet, I still do this nearly all the time. :)

  4. YES! My method too! e-readers don't have covers to embarrass yourself with ;)
    As for orders... in reality, I order online mostly--but because of necessity more than embarrassment. It's just cheaper.
    Thanks for reading! <3

  5. I'm not usually embarrassed about what I'm reading or buying even if it's a steamy cover or something. I even read Fifty Shades of Grey on public transport a few years ago but I was careful not to let people (like my dad if he traveled along) to read over my should. That would be the only embarrassing thing for me. :P

  6. Haha, yeah - I could see how that'll be awkward. Hopefully, I'll get to the point where I'm not embarrassed by these type of covers...
    Thanks for reading!

  7. Yeah, I don't know why he did it. He's just very social and nosy I guess. He didn't read it aloud though, so that's good! :D

  8. I'd die if a teacher did that. I don't like when my friends read my stuff without asking, so a teacher?!
    But yeah, it would've been wrong if he read it aloud Oo

  9. My husband takes books with him to work to read while he's at lunch. He's not allowed to take any electronic devices into the office because he works for an attorney, so he doesn't have an eReader. Anyway, we picked up a few books in a series that sounded like they'd be hilarious to read. The first book was called something like "Nymphomaniac Vampires", and he was embarrassed so he taped paper over the entire book cover, lol. I think that almost made it more noticeable, but whatever makes him happy, lol.

    One day my dad came over, and FSOG was out on my coffee table. My son, who was three at the time, picked it up and said, "Here Mommy, here's your book." My dad totally saw it, and I felt like dying in that awkward moment! He just laughed at me. >.<

  10. Working for attorneys means no electronic devices? Even ones like kindle paperwhite which are strictly for books? (not like Kindle Fire and the likes) I didn't know that!
    LOL yeah, that probably made it more noticeable. Whenever I can't help it and go outside with a "compromising" cover, I try to act as normal as possible so as to not attract attention to myself :P

    OMG Jennifer! That sounds both hilarious and painful!

  11. I can't say that I'm embarresed by covers with kissing couples on them (as long as they're fully clothed lol) but I once got a book (Wallbanger by Alice Clayton) in the mail, totally random from the publisher, and my little sister and her friend opened the package and showed my mom. Oh my god. The cover isn't even that bad, but the picture combined with the name just killed me. My mom couldn't care less, of course, but my sister's friend, who's 15 and mentally much more immature than her age, was all like "I want to read it!" and I had to grab it away from her and tell her no. I guess it was actually pretty funny, but at the time I just wanted to get the book away from them and put it somewhere where no one would ever see it again. Honestly, most of the people I know don't judge me for what types of books I read, just that I bother reading at all. I feel like whenever I pull a book out in public everyone's rolling their eyes and thinking I'm a nerd. Which some of them then proceed to call me because, and I quote, "Who reads?!"

    I love/hate showing people my book shelves, because I love them and most of the books on them, but whenever people look at my shelves they're looking for something they want to read and usually they walk away without even picking a single book up. I read romance, sci fi, fantasy, whatever, so there's something for everyone. Actually, my cousin—who went got her degree in English Lit. actually looked me straight in the eye after I offered to let her borrow something to read, and said "that's okay. You read THOSE books." What does that even mean? Ugh. That's fine though because when I asked her what her favorite book was she told me Catcher in the Rye. Ew.

  12. That's really confusing - I would think that he could take electronics, for viewing documents and such. LOL, I'm sure that it made it really noticeable, but maybe they just thought the cover was screwed up or something? I swear, dust jackets are my favorite - because you can just take the cover off like a boss. ;P

    Haha, I'm sure he was totally fine with it. Dad's are super tough. ;) Thanks for commenting, sweetie!

  13. Wow, will you trade me feelings? Because I would totally take boldness about reading anything in public over being embarrassed - like, any day ever! Shoulder reading is a huge, huge pet peeve of mine! It's so annoying! Thanks for commenting, Steph! <3

  14. Woohoo! We've got it going on, what with all this embarrassment and such. :P I think we all tell ourselves that - but it's a normal, self-conscious action... everyone (or almost everyone) gets it. Finally, I'm not alone! :)