Hello there, people! I was chatting with a friend today when it was brought to my attention that everyone has a personal definition of what a reader is. I mean, it’s normal: we all have been brought up in different ways so we have different outlooks about life. So people having different views of what a reader is shouldn’t really surprise me. But then again we learn every day.
First let’s look at the definition of the word “reader” from a dictionary.
reader (ˈriːdə )noun1. a person who reads3. a. mainly British – at a university, a member of staff having a position between that of a senior lecturer and a professorb. US – a teaching assistant in a faculty who grades papers, examinations, etc, on behalf of a professor5. a person who reads aloud in public7. a person employed to read proofs and indicate errors by comparison with the original copy; proofreader8. short for lay reader9. Judaism , mainly British another word for cantor (sense 1)
Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
[fun fact: the first word I saw when I opened my dictionary was the word “fuck”. I thought it was funny because I was just talking about how I say it a lot and how it has bad connotations and etc. ]
If we refer to Collins’ dictionary, a reader is someone who reads. Someone who reads. Basically anyone who reads and enjoys it is a reader. It does not matter what. My sister enjoys reading encyclopedias about nature and animals while my brother likes reading manga. That does not make them less of a reader than I am. They are still enjoying themselves and reading things that interest them, so who I am to judge them and tell them that they are not readers, even though they are clearly reading?
I am saying that because while I was talking to my friend on WhatsApp today, we talked about our own friends and how we recommended books to them and etc. I told them that I recommended the Lunar Chronicles series to one of my other friends and she ended up liking them. My friend, who we are going to call Sam, told me that she did the same thing but her friend did not enjoy the first book.
You know, that’s okay. Everyone has different tastes and not everyone will like your favourite books. I am not going to go out of my way and try to talk you out into liking the Divergent trilogy. Similarly, I am not going to force you to like the Percy Jackson series. You may like historical fictions while I may not, and I don’t mind. That’s what makes the whole book community diverse and amazing.
Then there’s the fact that different people have different “patterns” of reading. People read differently. You have those who are able to read one book after the other, people who take a break in between two books, people who read when they are in a particular mood or when they feel like it, people who can read two or more books at the same time… You know, just people having different ways of reading. Even if you read only one book a month or every couple of months, if you are enjoying what you are reading (or maybe not) then there’s nothing wrong in that. A reader should not be measured by the quantity of books he is able to read in a certain amount of time, nor by his reading pace. Reading is something you do for fun, so just leave that person alone and let him enjoy himself. [I am saying this because she said that she thinks her friend is not even a reader because she read approximately two books since the beginning of this year.]
Finally, there’s another thing she told me that I had an issue with.
“…I’m trying to change her into reader and maybe her life can be much happier.”
– Sam (english is not her first language)
You know, I have nothing against people wanting to make other people happy. Or people whose happiness comes from reading. A lot of things make me happy, so who am I to judge? But you can’t force someone to do something you like because you think that will make them happy. You can tell them to try something out, and later on they will be the ones to decide if they liked it or not. After all, they can decide for themselves when they reach a certain age (Sam is 18 so I guess her friend is too). Which means that if they tried it out and didn’t like them as much as you do, that does not mean that their life is sad and monotone. Maybe something else make them happy. Ponies make my sister happy but they don’t make me feel anything (I have come to a time in my life where I can gladly live without seeing them); similarly, I love dolls but my sister doesn’t. Does that mean I have to gradually brainwash her into liking them? No! (at the same time, there are more for me, so…).
What makes you happy does not necessarily makes someone else happy. At that point you are only trying to force down your favourite hobby on someone else, and that’s not cool. I wouldn’t want anyone who’s obsessed with fidget spinners to try to force their obsession down my throat. Similarly, you wouldn’t want something like that happen to you. So just don’t. You may think that you are doing something good but you are not.
I’d like to also point out that you should do things in moderation. There’s “passionate” and
borderline obsessive “passionate”. But that’s a subject for another day.
To finish this post, I’d like to say that there is no “good” or “wrong” way of being a reader. If you enjoy some form of literature, then you are a reader. It’s simple as that. Never let people tell you the opposite (and telling you crap like, “oh, you don’t read that genre so you are not a real reader.” That’s complete bullshit).
So…. I guess I am done…? Honestly there’s so much to say about that but I figured that I would post about my other thoughts another day.
Feel free to comment your thoughts down below! I’d love to hear about them!