By Cassandra Neace on Book Riot — I’m posting this in two places simultaneously
This list is humorously penned and not very far off the mark – or so I thought. Then I scrolled through the comments to see what other people had to add to Neace’s thoughts. I was rather taken aback when I stumbled upon a rather nasty assessment.
A couple actually. A couple of readers didn’t seem to take away what I thought to be Neace’s central points. How I took her piece was the following (because my opinion supersedes everything else?):
1. How YOU feel about what you are reading is more important than what other people think (be it High Literature or YA Fiction or a Trashy Novel).
2. Enthusiasm is contagious.
3. There’s a lot of manufactured drivel out there — it’s true.
4. The book was written to be a book and can be appreciated as a book.
5. Most grocery store books are crap.
6. Publishers pay to get their product seen so they can make money.
7. Well, seven she admits is bitchy.
Overall, I took Neace’s list to be saying that everyone has different tastes and that’s ok. It’s not a universal dictated These Are The Right Books For All, but more of a softer this is how you know you are reading the right books for you (the individual). I don’t think this list deserved the two very bitchy responses it got from a couple of readers (especially the belligerent one).
People get very high handed about things they love, this is something I do often and understand, but there’s no reason to be nasty about it. I have disagreed with articles I’ve read on Book Riot — one written by Cassandra Neace, in fact. It prompted me to write a big long essay in defense of reading the classics and finding an effective way to help students learn to enjoy reading. If she read it, I don’t think Neace felt I was attacking her personally, just what she had written (discourse, people, discourse!) I don’t believe I called her stupid or ignorant or narrow-minded. I don’t think I made any comment on Neace-as-a-person whatsoever. I merely wrote my own counter-arguments to the points she was making.
Which leads me to an Open Letter to the Belligerent Commenter:
Dear Belligerent Commenter:
In regards to your comments on a recent Book Riot article I would like to say that I am flabbergasted that you feel that you are entitled to make these comments in regards to the author of the article. Disagree with her points, by all means (which upon multiple perusals I don’t think you actually do…), but to attack the writer herself is the basest form of argument and has no place in literary discourse.
Calling the writer “narrow-minded” and “an elitist snob” and “full of crap” is uncouth; you were rude and impolite and for that I think you ought to apologize. You are not entitled to attack her in this way; and certainly not because she holds an opinion that differs from yours.
Personally I think you’re entire response to Neace’s list was entirely out of proportion. It was, to use your words, narrow-minded and snobby. And yet you make the same points as Neace. While you think Twilight was “shitty”, you don’t want to impinge anyone else’s right to enjoy that particular novel. I think, if read a little more closely you’ll find that Neace feels exactly the same way.
I liked Neace’s list. I think Neace’s contributions to Book Riot are valuable. She fields a corner that I think gets neglected sometimes by people-who-love-to-read: she champions for everyone else. The others, the people who don’t love to read quite the same way we do. She wants to help encourage these others to read more and to learn to enjoy reading and that is wonderful. In my acquaintance that’s Most People and it’s largely due to schooling. School killed any hope for a love of reading and that’s the saddest thing. Keep up the good work, Cassandra.