JUDGED WHEN READING FANTASY | discussion

When someone asks me what I’m reading I am always glad to tell them. I like spreading the words about books, and discussing books with people, but if I am reading a fantasy books I way too often get judged. I’ve several times tried to explain what the book I am reading is about (on their request), where they cut me of halfway through with the comment, “Ohh, so it’s like a fantasy book?” or something like that. I’ve also gotten comments like “Why don’t you read proper books?” or “Aren’t you too old for that??”. People think less of me as a reader, when they hear that I like fantasy. It’s horrible and it needs to stop.

I read books in almost every genre. Some of my favorite books of this year is Pride and Prejudice and The Book Thief, but it is also A Court of Mist and Fury. The fantasy genre is something many people think you only read when you are little and that is complete bullshit. People read fantasy in every age, which is great.

I imagine that the thing people think of when they hear the word fantasy is either books like Twilight or Game of Thrones. With that I mean, they either think of it as a cheesy romance novel about vampires or novel where they fight all the time (this isn’t necessarily my opinion on the books, but what I assume judgy people think of). Fantasy is so much more than that. It can have great diverse characters and can handle lots of mature topics. I could go on and on about why fantasy is a great genre, but I feel this isn’t the place where people need it explained.

I have had a period where I’ve tried to hide that I was reading fantasy due to people’s judgment, but I won’t take it anymore. I love fantasy and I will never get tired of it.

It is obviously not everyone who think this way. I know plenty of adult who doesn’t have a problem with it, but unfortunately also too many who think the opposite.

This has been on my mind for a while, and I am interested to hear if any of you have had similar experiences? Do you think my assumptions are correct, or do you think there are other reasons people are this judgy?

xx,

Fiona

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31 thoughts on “JUDGED WHEN READING FANTASY | discussion

  1. Sam says:

    This is so real. For me, when I read Young Adult books, I get sideways judgmental glances from people. Like, listen – I don’t only read the classics. Sometimes it’s nice to read a book that’s written simply with a good plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bookgeeking says:

    I don’t think I have been judged for it, but people do cut me off when I describing it. A few people have said they don’t understand how I can read it, but these days it is such a huge genre that I think so many readers at least read it every so often. For a few years all I read was fantasy, it’s only the last few years that I have read other genres. You shouldn’t hide what you like. I sometimes hide books if YA on a train but the times I haven’t I’ve had people start conversations saying they like it, so I’ve stopped hiding. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ksvilloso says:

    Read some Guy Gavriel Kay and then throw this at people who utter such comments.

    A lot of fantasy can be shelved into the literary section. Not all, but those are ok, too. We should all get to read what we like without being shamed for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janne Bjørgan says:

    I get that sometimes too, and it’s so frustrating! To go to the movies and watch a fantasy or sci-fi film is no big deal, so to read books in this genre shouldn’t be either. That’s what I say when it happens, and it usually shuts them up.

    I think part of peoples need to make fun of it is because 1) they don’t understand how it’s possible to let go of the real world and indulge yourself in imagination, 2) they are scared of the power reading fantasy and sci-fi can have: lying underneath a lot of the stories are critiques about our society, whether it be the governments, like Orwell’s 1984, or the way we treat people who are different, like Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury.

    Like

    • bookwormwholived says:

      This is such a good observation. Fantasy/sci-fi books do question our world a lot, but I’ve never thought of people being scared of that before… And nice point with the movies, I already know I’m gonna use that from now on!

      Like

  5. alilovesbooks says:

    Yep I definitely get odd looks when I start to describe the plot of whichever fantasy book I happen to be reading at the time. I do think it is getting better though. Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and even Harry Potter now seem to be more or less acceptable reading. Hopefully the trend will continue.

    Like

      • alilovesbooks says:

        We have actually had the discussion at word about who watches GoT and who has read the books, how do they compare etc and there was a lot of interest (and not in a why do you read that rubbish way)

        Saying that, my office started a book club and not one book so far has been fantasy or science fiction. It seems only literary fiction and crime are acceptable choices which is a shame and is putting me off going. I think when it’s my turn to chose a book I’ll go for a different genre. Will be interesting to see what reaction that gets.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Rebecca says:

    Sometimes I hate telling people what I read because they get the look like “oh… fantasy?” and it feels like they’re hardcore judging me. I LOVE fantasy and the best thing is that the stories are so diverse- from urban fantasy to traditional sword & sorcery and everything in between! Plus it’s a lot more difficult to dream up an entire world and then write about it well!

    Like

  7. aimeedavisauthor says:

    I’m a fantasy author (I just released my debut novel). I studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in their very well respected creative writing program. When I started the program, fantasy was my jam. I lived and breathed fantasy. Of course I read the classics too, but I always wanted to write fantasy. Much to my dismay, this was NOT okay with my professors. Genre fiction in general was not okay in the program. I was judged by my professors and peers constantly for my love of fantasy (although I did write straight fiction for class). After awhile, I realized I had to write what I wanted to write, otherwise, it was disingenuous. So here we are, several years later, and I still feel judged when people ask me what my book is about and I shamefacedly say, “Well… it’s fantasy.” Anyway, long story short: I really appreciated this post. It made me analyze my own reaction to the question, “What’s it about?” Instead of blushing and looking away, I should be able to say with pride, “It’s fantasy.”

    Like

    • bookwormwholived says:

      I am really glad that you enjoyed my post. I get so mad when reading your story, I cant believe that they wouldn’t let you write fantasy, and at the same time it seems so likely. I can really relate to your statement, and I agree that we should all try to stand up for what we like to do, so lets stand up for reading/writing fantasy together!

      Like

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