Books Magazine

Bookish Pet Peeve #9: Snobby Authors

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

I would imagine that all of us, whether we’ll admit it or not, have a snobby bone or two in our bodies.

I struggle with book snobbery at times. I’ve written about it in one of my previous pet peeves, and I’ll admit—when it comes to books light Twilight and such—I can be a snob. But I’m not proud of it.

My friend won’t drink beer with any sort of fruit or spice in it other than chocolate or coffee. I don’t get that. On other hand, I won’t drink his go-to beer of choice, PBR. I think it’s disgusting. Snobbery is everywhere and in almost every area of life.

To me, though, the absolute worst snobs are high-brow authors. Many of them are basically your condescending English professor—if he or she had actually written a novel or two and had a large platform/audience that follows them.

Take Joyce Carol Oates, for example. I’ll put her following tweet down as possibly the most condescending, pompous tweet about literature in Twitter’s short history.

Have to concede that I never read more than a chapter or two of "Mockingbird"–wonderful YA voice but Kafka & ambiguity intrigued me more.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) February 5, 2015

Give me a break.

Don’t think I’m picking on Joyce for one tweet. She has a long history of verbal diarrhea on Twitter.

But let’s examine her tweet a little more in-depth.

 “I’ve never read more than a chapter or two of “Mockingbird””

This is fantastic. Oates chooses to tell her 116,000 Twitter followers—many of whom certainly like Mockingbird, as it’s one of the most universally loved novels on the planet—that she’s only read a “chapter or two” of this classic novel.

Translation: “Your favorite novel is uninteresting.”

Essentially, Joyce Carol Oates is your annoying friend who always hates everything you like.

“Ugh, you liked American Sniper? I walked out of the theater after 10 minutes?”

“Ugh, you eat at Subway? I went there once but when I learned their chicken isn’t free-range I quit going.”

“Ugh, I can’t believe you listen to Mumford and Sons. They are SOOOO 2011.”

More from Joyce:

“Wonderful YA voice but Kafka and ambiguity intrigued me more.”

I love this. Who said To Kill A Mockingbird is YA (Young Adult)?

It’s not. That’s another insult. Because what Joyce is saying here is that Young Adult books are somehow lesser. It’s a backhanded compliment. “You’re a wonderful real estate agent in your little town, but you could never sell property in the big city like me.”

And even if Mockingbird was YA, how would she know it’s a “wonderful” voice because she’s only read a “chapter or two.” Can you make any substantial judgment on a novel by simply reading a chapter? Well, maybe, but the chapter would one large chapter.

And what of Kafka?

Now we’re somehow comparing Harper Lee to Franz Kafka? Um, WTF, Joyce Carol Oates?

That’s so strange. That’s like saying, “Star Wars is wonderful 1970s and 80s science fiction, but I’ve always been more intrigued by Elf and ambiguity”

So why would Joyce Carol Oates send a tweet like this?

To basically stick up her nose and let the masses know how much their (our) taste in literature sucks.

“You keep reading your cute little young adult Harper Lee books,” Joyce is essentially saying. “Meanwhile, I’ll be over here reading more important literature that you’ve probably never heard of.”

Maybe she isn’t a literature snob. Maybe she’s actually a literature hipster?

Am I off base here? Am I reading too much into Joyce Carol Oates’ seemingly neverending snobbery?

Previous Bookish Pet Peeves

#8: Preachy Authors

#7: Buying Books I Don’t Read

#6: Speed Reading

#5: The Book Borrower

#4: The One Upper

#3: The Book Snob

#2: The Nosey Over-The-Shoulder Reader

#1: Bookstore Cellphone Blabbermouth

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • FFS Friday - Emergency Tribe

    I've mentioned before that I feel alone most of the time, like I don't have a tribe. Over the last few weeks I've come to realise that whilst I don't have an... Read more

    11 hours, 52 minutes ago by   Glossqueen
  • Joshua’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2018 – Pop/Rock!

    Joshua’s Most Listened Albums 2018 Pop/Rock!

    I listened to a lot of fun music in 2018, some of it brand new, some of it holding over from years past, and some really in a kind of rediscovery way. And as... Read more

    20 hours, 37 minutes ago by   Phjoshua
  • Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park in California

    Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park California

    Sequoia National Park is one of my favorite parks in the entire U.S. system. It is an utterly spectacular wilderness that has a lot to offer visitors,... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kungfujedi
  • Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    One of my favourite stories about Evelyn de Morgan is when her sister, Mrs Anna Stirling visited the Russell-Cotes at Gallery and saw their massive painting... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kirsty Stonell Walker
  • Give The Tennis Gift That Keeps On Giving: Court Crate

    Give Tennis Gift That Keeps Giving: Court Crate

    I only know one person who actually enjoys spending hours (and hours, and hours…) at crowded stores in search of the best deals on tennis-y Christmas gifts…yeah... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Jen Campbell
  • Gifts For The Beauty Lover–No Matter What Your Budget Is

    Whether your shopping for your mom who wants a luxurious facial serum, a friend who loves nail polish, or your girlfriend who asked for a new blush... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
  • Adjusting Obsessions

    Adjusting Obsessions

    Things are going to be quite different around these parts going forward. Obsessions have adjusted and I figured it was time to update my blog to match my curren... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Seliharris