Thursday, 15 January 2015

Subject Matter | Bookish Thoughts

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. I am swamped in course work at the moment, but I promise I will have my wrap-up post soon for #boutofbooks12, my apologies for being so late with it.

Anyways, I wanted to perhaps start a new segment on my blog called Bookish Thoughts and every now and then, you can read my ramblings about certain topics. I wrote a post about Audiobooks a while back which you can read about here and I really enjoyed that. I want to be able to express opinions and thoughts on certain topics, even those that are controversial and possibly hear from you guys and your thoughts on the matter as well.

So for today, I thought I would talk about Subject Matter in quite a broad sense and choices in that regard. This may even be a longer post or a series of post on this, so we shall see. I've been seeing quite a few posts on blogger, goodreads reviews and on twitter that have been quite negative and judgemental in terms of "WHAT" people are choosing to read. I just want to say first that at the end of the day, everyone has the right to read whatever they like and it is not fair that we should ask another person to not read what they want based on our own personal interests. It is not fair that a person should have to explain their choices in reading what they want.

There are two kinds of subject matter which I want to touch on today: New Adult and Erotica/Adult novels.

The emergence of New Adult has come up in the past year, and from what I can understand, it is different from Young Adult, because it is situated more in the college/university years and can sometimes have explicit sex scenes within the writing. They are more for the 18-25 age group according to resources online such as St. Martin's Press. I think that this new emergence is AWESOME. There shouldn't be "picking" of sides or a type of superiority that happens within these genres. One is not better than the other, or less than the other. It should not be viewed in those terms. I think it is quite interesting to have novels that go beyond the highschool scenarios and move towards the university setting. There are problems of course of perhaps heightened realities in the university setting - like fraternities, sororities, parties, etc. But who knows, everyone has a different university/college experience depending on where they go and who they actually are and I believe that the author tries their best to convey what THEY believe is an experience they want to talk about.

The notion of explicit sex scenes is kind of a segway into erotica/adult novels because NA, different from YA, will have scenes that are "older" and "mature" subject matter. I have reviewed a more adult book in the past (see my review here of Barbara Palmer's Claudine) and I really don't have a problem with reading books with more mature subject matter. I think it is simply a matter of personal preference. What is considered perhaps "raw and real" to the author, may be interpreted differently by the reader. At the end of the day, when we come to a text, we come to it not empty-handed but with our own set of values and ideas. Who we are as individuals will affect how we interpret a text. A person may view a text as demoralizing individuals and fetishizing abusive relationships, whereas another person may view the text simply as a means of entertainment and not see those components and the biggest message I want to drive home from this post is that: IT IS OKAY. We all have different ideas of what is appropriate and what is not, but I think the biggest thing that kind of spurred this post to begin with, is the judgements that are coming out of the bookish community from the choices that we make when it comes to reading.

If an individual wishes to read a NA novel, or a novel with erotica/adult themes, that is THEIR choice and it is not right that it automatically labels the person as something negative. There should be less emphasis on "attacking" or "breaking down" a person's reading choices due to the subject matter and more emphasis on simply the fact that they are reading and possibly enjoying what they are reading.

I want to compare it to seeing a bad movie. There are rating systems with critic's reviews available for films as there are for books, but despite how "bad" you might think a movie is, many people still go watch it and enjoy it. The numbers don't lie. However, if you know a movie is bad, you most likely won't go see it again. If your friend however, enjoys it and wishes to buy a copy for home perhaps, is it right to just not speak to him/her again because they enjoy what you don't like? It is all about personal preference and learning to respect each other's choices in that.

At the end of day, everyone has their own views on what they consider as "good" and "bad" and just because you may like something that I don't, does not mean I should try and force you to not like it. There should be less judgement due to subject matter within the book community because it only builds negativity and animosity.

On the flip side of this to wrap up (I am wrapping up for now, because it is rambling to the point where there isn't a clear trajectory of where this post is going) - if you are reading something that is NA or Adult/Erotica, you should not have to try and hide that you are reading it. If you enjoy it, you enjoy it and you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed because you enjoy it. More power to you! To conclude, try to avoid negative judgements when it comes to picking what books you are choosing to read. Simply, read. READ JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO.

Well that is it from me for now. Let me know what you think on the matter and let me know in the comments below if there are any other topics you want me to touch upon. I was thinking about speaking about fanfiction at some point. I hope that you enjoyed my first bookish thoughts/bookish ramblings and I will see you in my next post! :D 


  1. Wait, are there situations going on where people stop talking to their friends because they like certain genres?

    This is a great post, Christine! And I really like the idea of you making this a series.

    It's disappointing to see negativity in this community - it's supposed to be a fun safe haven for book lovers, but instead a lot of people are making others feel bad about their choice of genre. There are probably some people who don't realize how negative they're being or just how much their negativity is affecting other readers, but I think it's important that at this point, everyone consider more carefully how they voice their distaste for books and genres. It's absolutely fine if you don't like a book or genre - you have the right to state your opinion. But you don't have to tell someone they have poor taste just because YOU don't enjoy the same genres they do.

    I like that you mentioned how it's good that people are simply reading. I know some people out there don't enjoy reading, but it's good for your brain!

  2. I also wrote a post in response to this on my blog!

  3. Well, I'm not sure entirely if there are people like that. But I guess, we can assume that it isn't completely unlikely for that to happen.

    Thanks so much, Nikki!

    Yes for sure! There should be better approaches when speaking about reading choices and subject matter. Simply reading is just wonderful. It is how new genres like YA and NA are able to develop.

  4. I completely agree! I find it really strange that hardcore readers are the ones who are judging other people for reading what they consider to be "bad" stuff. You'd think the hardcore readers would understand that it's a miracle people are reading at all, and appreciate the fact that people are buying books. It shouldn't matter what they choose to read, so long as they find it entertaining or educational - whatever it is they want to get out of a book.

    Great article!