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Guest Post: Amna Mohdin Talks Books and Taste

Today, we've got an awesome guest post by Amna Mohdin, an 18-year-old girl who is trying to juggle writing, reading, college and being an opinionated and awkward Teen. She blogs and tweets. And like tinkerbell, she needs applause to live.

Your Taste in Books Does Not Make You
Better Than Anyone.
by Amna Mohdin

Do you guys get the look? When you go to a bookstore and head straight for the YA section and people (even your friends) give you the look.

The "awww-she-still-reads-teens-books"

The "aw-she-is-still-in-minor-league".

This is a post for you.

No, I'm not embarrassed that I read or write YA. And reading so-called 'sophisticated' books does not make you better than anyone.

Let me simplify a rather simple concept. There are a lot of people on this planet, and our planet is relatively small. So it is inevitable that you will meet other human beings. In the stone age, beating your chest may have been sufficient, but society has evolved. We now have language, literature and...Reality TV. (OMG, HAVE YOU SEEN THE ENDING TO THE HILLS?)

Literature is something that caters to a lot of needs. Which is a great thing, as different people have different needs. And literature brings people together. Yes, talking about books is great for conversations.

example conversation:

Me: Hey, what are you reading?
Someone Awesome: I'm rereading the Hunger Games series.
Me: OMG! Are you excited about Mockingjay?
Someone Awesome: OMG, YES!!

And, a beautiful friendship is born.

But sometimes, the conversation goes like this.

Douche: Hey, what are you reading?
Me: I'm rereading The Book Thief, I absolutely love Markus Zusak.
Douche: Oh. I hate YA, all the books are just Twilight rip-offs.

There is a pretty wise proverb (aren't all proverbs wise?):

There is no accounting for taste.

This basically means that different people like different things, and you can't judge someone based on the kind of things they like. I mean, shouldn't we be judge a person based on their actions? Or how about not judging people at all?

Someone might love memoirs. Another might love historical fiction. I love contemporary YA. But none of us have "better" taste. We have "different" taste. My best friend loves YA Paranormal Romances and her favourite book is Twilight. My favourite book is The Book Thief. Does she think she is better than me? No. Do I think I am better than her? No. I am not the biggest the fan of Twilight, but I still go to the midnight viewings with her and try to protect her from rabid fans (she is quite small) and she is willing to drive to a book store a hour away just to get me Zusak's first book (Fighting Ruben Wolfe).

How do you even determine the quality of someone's literature taste? What people value in literature changes from person to person, so there really isn't anyway to figure out the quality of someone's taste. My friend values intense romances. I love books that focus on the human condition.

And how the heck do you tell which book is sophisticated and which isn't?

When someone jumps to conclusion based on your taste in literature, it says a few things about the jumper.

  1. They are lazy. If someone decides to judge you as a person based on the types of books you read, then they are just far too lazy to actually getting to know you.
  2. They are ignorant. When someone decides to judge someone on their taste, it not only assumes that their taste is superior to yours, but it is so superior that they are able to generalise a whole section of genre as "unsophisticated".

When it comes to matters of taste... It's just a matter of taste.

And... Your taste in books does not make you better than anyone.

Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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  1. thank you! I despise people who judge others like this. I personally hate trashy romances but my mum and good friend love them. I tease them about that and they tease me about my sailor moon obsession ;p

  2. I concur!

    I truly don't understand how anyone can draw conclusions about a person based on what they read. When I talk to people about reading, I am honestly just excited to hear that they read books...period. There are so many non-readers in our country and our illiteracy rate is shameful for such a developed nation.

    And, when I go to the YA section, I love to see what others are reading. I always end up a few conversations about books I see people picking up. I have also recommended books to non-YA readers headed to birthdays or graduations. It's pretty fun.

    Thanks for this post.

  3. "I still go to the midnight viewings with her and try to protect her from rabid fans (she is quite small)" <--LOL. I am picturing this in a rather amusing way.

    Very timely post--only yesterday I spotted a comment on a forum about how YA is meant for 13 year olds (??) and adults who still read it have simplistic vocabularies or something to that effect. *sigh*

    Whenever I see someone reading a book, I am happy about it, no matter what the genre!

    Thanks for guest posting, Amna :D

  4. I'm glad to see someone finally addressed this ongoing problem!

    Absolutely loved the Hulk bit. :]

  5. Mmmmm, gumdrops....


    Wha--Oh, hai! Great post, Amna! You are too funny. :)

  6. *applauds wildly, terrified Amna will die otherwise*

    FANTASTIC post!

  7. AMNA you are amazing. very, very well said.

  8. Amna, I think I'm in love with you. Will you marry me?

  9. I find book snobs amusing. I've read tons of romance novels, I love YA, I love fantasy and sci-fi, so if someone turns up his/her nose at an entire genre I just wish they knew what amazing stories they're missing. All flavors are delicious if they're what you're in the mood for.

    Great post!

  10. Thank you! There are genres I love, and genres I don't particularly care for. However, it all comes down to taste. To dismiss an entire genre just because of personal bias is ridiculous, really.

  11. *BOWS*

    That is all.

    Also, Amna rocks.

  12. This is true of many genres. I have friends who are books snobs. The "Oh, I don't read books like THAT" crowd. I feel sorry for them because they're missing out.

  13. Great post. Although I must admit I am guilty of this.

    Used to and still do judge all those hardcore Twilight fans. I have this Twilight hate. Can't really help it. It's also a good tool to tease my friends with, but that's just me, and I know it's not nice :(

    I think the same problem goes with music tastes. I have that too...think my music is soooo much more better than MTV or Beat 94.5.

    It's a hard habit to break :(

  14. I find book snobs grating. I'm still young enough to read YA without earning raised eyebrows, but I dread the day they will come. I don't think I've found an adult novel that won't put me to sleep, but I'm not about to judge people who enjoy them. Nor will I judge fans of literary fiction, unless they judge me. I'm a retalitory judger, I suppose :)

  15. There are about 6,000 people I would like to hand this post over to.

    Amna, you rock my face off.

    I don't care what you read, as long as you're reading.

  16. SO TRUE! I love reading YA and it's probably about 75% of what I read. Fortunately I have a lot of friends my age that also read a lot of YA, so I haven't run into a whole lot of "holier than thou" book attitude. But thanks for the post! It's a good reminder that just because we don't like it doesn't inherently make it "bad".

  17. This was a great post! I think I'm a bit of an oddity, though, at least judging by the other comments on this page. My favorite genres are YA and lit fic, though I've enjoyed books in most genres. The people I feel who look down on me the most are the fantasy/sci-fi fans who think that any novel set in the real world is somehow a waste of space.

    It would be nice if people could just like different things and not feel superior/inferior because of it.


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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: Amna Mohdin Talks Books and Taste Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard