I have come to a sad conclusion these past few days and I feel as if I need to confess this to you, my readers. Are you ready for it?
I have reader prejudice.
There, I said it, I admit it. I am a horrible person for judging reluctant readers. Here are a few situations that I found myself in this past week or so:
I’m shelving the “GHI” books at the library (fiction books which have authors that last names begin with a G, H, or I) when a young woman comes up to me asking if I had the latest Chelsea Handler book on my cart. If you know which books I am talking about, you would know that they are non-fiction, so they would definitely not be shelved anywhere near where I was. The young woman looked about my age or younger, and had a 6 or 7 year old in tow, so I figured that she is a young mom (the girl called her mommy). She also had quite a few visible tattoos (something of which I am ashamed to admit that I judge people on, even though I have three myself). My first thought was, “Chelsea Handler’s books are probably the only ones she reads. How ignorant.” Seriously? I told you it was confession time. Then I shook off my inappropriate thoughts and went to do everything in my power to find that book for her. When I did, she thanked me profusely. She was so incredibly excited to read a novel containing the ever-wonderful wit and banter of Chelsea Handler.
I’m shelving books in the YA section of my library when a girl asks me if we have a specific book in a series that she likes. I had been watching the girl a little bit and noticed that this series was the only one she had looked at while her mom perused the nearby adult fiction section. I did a little bit of searching and found out that we didn’t have the specific book she wanted and apologized. I assumed (again, inappropriately) that she would just have her mom buy it for her and not really care and go convince her mom to let them leave. But, I needed to do my job as a library employee and proceeded to tell her that she could request the book via interlibrary loan or fill out a form requesting that the library purchase the book that she wanted. She asked a few further questions, thanked me, and proceeded to go find her mom. The first words out of her mouth were, “Mom, can I borrow your card? I need to go request this book from another library.” Wrong again, Amber.
My brother tweeted the other day that he had recently read L.K. Madigan’s Flash Burnout and really enjoyed. Figuring it was a requirement for school, I texted him mocking him about only reading when he had to. Here is the rest of the conversation:
Zach: I read all the time lol
Me: You can’t be serious?
Zach: I am
Me: You better believe I’m going to send some recommendations your way.
Now, what’s the point of all this banter? I want you to know that reader prejudice is silly and inappropriate. I don’t want you to get yourself in situations like I did, sounding (or having thoughts) like a fool. One should never assume that a certain person is a reluctant reader. One should never assume that, just because a person talks about Harry Potter all the time, that they have not read other series or books. One should never assume that their very own brother, who spends an obscene amount of time playing Call of Duty, also does not spend a generous amount of time reading.
So, how about you guys? Do you have reader prejudice? What are some situations you have regretted getting yourself in?