One of my biggest problems with this is that “politics” has become a blanket term for anything that makes people uncomfortable--namely, social justice. Don’t want to talk about mass incarceration, sexual assault, or police brutality? Just say it’s “too political” and everyone will automatically excuse you from the conversation.
Nobody is forcing anyone to talk about politics or social justice on bookstagram. But if you’re reading work by the literary greats such as Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy or James Baldwin, and you still have the audacity to suggest that “books and politics don’t mix,” I seriously question your reading comprehension.
Also, it strikes me as incredibly hypocritical for people to read and review books like Beloved, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and The Handmaid’s Tale, but refuse to identify and discuss real-life examples of racism, sexism, and government corruption. What’s the point of reading these pivotal, life-changing books if you refuse to draw any modern parallels? I can actually guarantee that the authors didn’t write them to encourage their readers to stick their heads further in the sand.
4. Shaming other people for owning unread books.
One of the best things about my parents is the massive amount of books they made sure my siblings and I were surrounded with as we grew up. It didn’t cost them much money to build their home library, either--my mom picked up boxes of used books every weekend at neighborhood garage sales and stored them in our basement for the family to pick through and enjoy.
The point is, I grew up with a home library full of unread books, and that is a big part of what made me a reader. When we couldn’t make it to the library, I always had plenty of options right in front of me. That’s why, when I joined bookstagram, I was actually shocked to find that there are some readers who passive-aggressively ask one another how many books they’ve read in their home libraries. Even now, when I post a picture of my shelves, I brace myself for the inevitable comments demanding how many of the books I’ve actually read.
I have no interest in a home library solely made up of books I’ve already read. Owning unread books fills me with excitement, not stress. That’s fine if you feel differently, but please back TF off if you’re tempted to tell me, or anyone else, the “correct” way to build a home library.
5. Debates about audiobooks and e-books.
I get so much anxiety every time I see a question like “Does listening to an audiobook count as reading?” or “Do you prefer physical books or e-books?” because the answers are so passive aggressive. Once someone told me that they never read e-books because they prefer “actual books,” and I have to say--it’s pretty bold to claim that an e-book isn’t an actual book when the very name of it includes the word book.