When people ask me, “What are your hobbies?” and I reply with, “Books- writing them and reading them,” I always feel a little insecure. What 25-year-old says books are their hobby? Popular culture tells me that I obviously do not have a vigorous social life if this is my response. Maybe it’s better for society that this is my hobby, anyway- I’ve never been one to really “hold their liquor” well, as the saying goes.
Yet yesterday, walking through the madness of downtown Manhattan with my best friend and fellow blogger, Jessica, I realized that maybe we shouldn’t be as self-conscious about being book people as we may be (or really, as I am). Because you may think books are boring, but really, it’s the people behind the books that make the stories pretty interesting.
Yesterday, Jessica posted a great piece entitled, “What Exactly Are “Boy Books?” a semi-response, semi-independent thought post relating to Ali’s post, “Books for Men.” It caused a moment (just a moment) of friction between the three of us via group text (really, them two plus me just standing there with the DUHRR expression of my face). As each person tried to explain the purpose of each post, I found myself chuckling. And yes, I knew it was entirely inappropriate to laugh when you’re two feisty-as-hell best friends are going at it.
I laughed, realizing that my own fears about being society’s “epic nerd” really are unfounded. Sure, I blog for a hobby, read books like there is no tomorrow, and write creative stories in my spare time (I so would have been a part of Regina’s group in Mean Girls). But the brilliant thing about that is the fact that books challenge us, inspire us, push us to think beyond pink on Wednesdays. Books themselves may seem boring to some, but it’s the people behind the books, the readers, that make them truly fantastic.
As an amateur writer (blogger and academic writer at this point) people have asked me why I write things certain ways, or why I focus on female characters and heartbreak. Aside from listening to way too much Adele, my answer is that the story isn’t my focus, but what the reader gets from it. That’s the incredible craft of storytelling.
Does anyone remember the wave of drama the emerged when JK Rowling announced Dumbledore was gay? Or when all of us balled like little girls at the end of the Divergent series? Team Edward/Jacob took firm roots in popular culture (although a little too long for my liking) and it’s kind of a compliment when people say, “Hey, you totally remind me of Katniss Everdeen.”
People make the books. People who read too much or too little, who find meaning and debate and larger societal impact from literature– they make the pages that turn. So sure, we are three friends who constantly text back and forth about books, the blog, and the boys. We ruffle each other’s feathers and we cry together. We sympathize with characters and we too get into vigorous debates about which guy is in fact the best choice for our favorite leading ladies. We the people, we make books great, and there is nothing to be ashamed of about that.
By the end of the day, all was quiet on the book blogging front. General agreement was reached and some laughs were shared about the fact that we were in a debate about a blog… about books of all things. But that’s why we have great books, and banned books, controversial books, and generally adored books. Because people make them; the people who read and love them for what they are.
Sure, I can’t hold my liquor. But I can laugh, cry, love, and hate with the pages that turn, book after book. I am a part of the population that makes popular literature, in fact, popular. We are feisty little book women, and by damn, it’s a great thing to be.