Reading Rage: Your Ableist Real-Book Snobbery is Tiresome AF
Semi-recently, a very good friend of mine (okay, it was Susie) shared this video on Facebook showing a gorgeous book being handcrafted. Her comment when sharing was only “WOW,” which I totally agree with. The original sharer, though (who currently has more than twenty two MILLION views on this particular video, so I don’t feel all that bad about denying him the page views he’d get from anyone reading this) made a comment about how this wasn’t something you could do to a Kindle.
Which, okay, made me a little mad as it always does when I see people dismissing ereading technology, but whatever. He was trying to make a point and that tag was likely why the video was so widely shared. Clickbait works, y’all.
What really bothered me were the comments. I know, I know, we should never read the comments. BUT I ALWAYS DO. Always. I blogged for many years and I replied to almost every comment I received, even the assholes. Wait, no. ESPECIALLY the assholes.
So I see that the top voted comment (with over 3,000 likes as of this writing) is calling books – “REAL” BOOKS – works of art. Which is fine, I guess. And then all of the replies to that, and the rest of the replies talking shit about ereaders and it got to the place it always does…where only REAL READERS understand the love of a new/old/never read/read a billion times BOOK. REAL READERS, you guys. BOOKS, not Kindles, not Nooks, not reading apps on your iPads or your phones, ONLY THE REAL FUCKING DEAL. OTHERWISE YOU ARE NOT A “REAL READER.”
And that’s where I threw my hands up in the air and screamed “ZOMFG, FUCK YOU GUYS.” (I legit did this. It scared my husband.)
I’m in my late 30s, y’all. I’ve suffered from eczema over 80% of my body for most of my life, and I’ve suffered from arthritis in my hands and knees since I was in my teens. Holding a real book is fucking painful as shit, if not imfuckingpossible most of the time. I’m also super allergic to mold and dust, so most library books and used books are not something I can handle. Like, at all.
But for realsies, you guys. Even if I didn’t have eczema or allergies or arthritis…what the fuck of it? Are the words I’m taking into my brainspace any less “real” because they’re delivered via an electronic medium? If I read an article online, and the same article in a newspaper, does only one of them count as having been read? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to witness it, is some douchebalrog going to come along to argue that there was no tree in the first place? Have I really only “read” a handful of books since 2009?!
It saddens me to hear that my proclivity for ereading makes me less of a “real reader.” That the fact that I’ve been reading since I was four counts for nothing. That the two hundred forty six books I read in 2014, the three hundred thirty four books I read the year before and the hundred sixty seven I read the year before that (the first year I actively kept track) don’t count because they weren’t all REAL BOOKS and I am NOT A REAL READER.
Let me tell you something about real readers. Real readers read whatever the fuck they can get their hands on. Real readers read books, they read ebooks, they LISTEN TO BOOKS, they read labels on things sitting on the table, they NEVER leave their homes without something to read. Real readers read cereal boxes, they read comics, they read trashy erotica and they read SOOPER SRS LITRUCHOOR. They read mysteries and they read zombie novels, they read YA and they read Classics.
A real reader fucking reads. Period.