Up Close and (un)Conventional: Condescending Shelves
Welcome to this week’s Up Close and (un)Conventional. This is where I discuss both things that have to do with reading and blogging, and things that just have to do with life in general. This week, I’m discussing what I want to call condescending shelves. What am I talking about, you ask? Well, a little while ago, I had some time to kill, and went to one of only two book stores in Geneva where it’s possible to buy books in English! Yeah, we really don’t have a lot of choice, especially because there are several official languages here, and we will mostly find either books by French, German or Italian authors, or books translated into one of those languages.
At first, when I went into the ‘English Books’ part of the store, I was so happy! What did I see? Well, there was, for the very first time a book by Lori Foster, and I found a Sylvia Day title, as well as Colleen Hoover, Kresley Cole and even Nalini Singh and Anna Todd! Why am I upset then, you ask? Well… these authors (whom I absolutely love!!) were all shelved as ‘Light Fiction’. And I felt as if the whole shelf was condescending. And it made me a bit angry, too – because ‘chick lit’ and romances have always been looked down on, but I never felt like a bookstore was a place where I might feel as if I should be ready to defend my reading choices.
As you already know if you’re a frequent visitor here at (un)Conventional Bookviews, I certainly read my share of classic literature as well as more ‘serious’ books both when it comes to fiction and non-fiction. And I enjoy those a lot. But I really love reading a contemporary story that might deal with social injustices that are hot right now, or a light romance that also leans on feminism to show that equality still hasn’t really happened. Or a young adult fantasy where love is important, but fighting the dictatorial government is even more so. And I don’t like that those condescending shelves – for a nano-second – managed to make me feel like some of my reading-choices were being belittled. Not that this will ever stop me from buying a book I want – I already owned all those by my favorite authors here… – but I don’t understand why some kinds of fiction are supposed to be ‘lesser’ somehow.
Has this happened to you? Have you ever said something about it to someone?