Let’s All Stop Being Book Bullies

At work, my coworkers and I bonded closely by sharing our mutual love of Harry Potter. We’ve all made plans at one point in our lives to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We hope to read the books to our kids and have them obsessed with the fandom as well.

Sadly, there’s only one person on my team that doesn’t like them. She’s only read one book and made up her mind that this isn’t something for her. She’s just not a fan. She didn’t even know a Wizarding World of Harry Potter existed until we recently told her that it existed.

Our initial reaction is always the same, “what! how can you not like Harry Potter?”

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The person takes a moment to explain why they don’t like Harry Potter.

At this point in the conversation, there’s always a fork in the road. Some people will turn and ridicule this person for not liking Harry Potter and never reading the books. Others will be accepting of the fact and move on to another topic.

I’m not a fan of “book bullying.” Basically, it’s when you look down at someone because they read a genre or a kind of book that you don’t like. Or they don’t like a type of book that you love.

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Books provide a unique perspective to the way we look at life. If you’re like me and look at numbers all day, you want to do something creative. I like to read books and write about books. I like them to be diverse and different, but sometimes I read what everyone else is reading. It allows me to think in different and more creative ways and it’s because books show you many different ways to think, perceive, and grow.

I recently came across a situation that I’ve encountered a number of times and I want to address it here. It’s important that people understand that not every book is going to be the book you want to read. However, that doesn’t give a person license to bully them for not liking something they love.

You might be wondering if a book bully slaps your book out of your hand and musses your hair because you’re reading it. It’s not. It’s the constant repetition of phrases like:

“How can you not read that book?”

“You’re totally crazy for not liking it. It’s a classic!”

“You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s like an essential read!”

“OMG YOU HAVE TO PUT THAT ON YOUR TBR NOW. NOW! NOW!!!!!”

You might think this isn’t bullying because someone isn’t getting pushed around and told they’re an idiot. However, it instills a sense of fear and embarrassment when the book they don’t like is up for scrutiny. It makes the person feel like their taste is bad. Their likes are bad. They, themselves, may also feel bad.

Humans are extremely unique creatures because they can think for themselves. They can create their own opinions and thoughts. It’s impressive the number of books you can read about Shakespeare all expressing a different take on Romeo and Juliet. So, why can’t that existence be prevalent in reality?

We should foster a world where books are objective points of life and the subjective reader likes it or not. If anything, we should foster a world where these kinds of conversations are debated and everyone comes out of it with a different perspective.

So let’s hug out our differences, understand that our first reactions may not be the best when it comes to these differences, and take a step back and know that we can always learn something new from each other.

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