Apr 4, 2011

Adults Judging Childrens Books - the T Edition

With my life consumed by grad school and work, the T is where I accomplish the majority of my reading.  Now, because of the glorious rainy weather we're experiencing right now, I was hit with a few umbrellas this afternoon.  As I looked up to passive aggressively glare at my attackers, I happened to notice the stares of fellow T riders I've grown accustomed to ignoring.  You know, the stares that are the equivalent of "why the hell is she reading that in public?" or "wow, she must be dumb." 

I'll backtrack.  I'm currently reading The Golden Compass because 1) I've owned a  practically untouched copy since the 7th grade; and 2) it's on The List.  It's an insanely long book as far as children's books are concerned so, on a superficial basis, those stares are not merited.  Also, like many other books for children, it is an incredibly complex novel that should be read by any age group so again, those stares shouldn't happen.  But apparently people aren't accustomed to adults reading a book where the cover art pictures a young girl sitting on top of an armored bear.  

I've seen people read some pretty messed up things on the T, but I've never stared them down like they were beneath me.  I thought you weren't supposed to judge books by their covers?

If that's no longer the case, then I'm going to fully judge these people and books I see all the time on the T:

1) The Classic Reader
Yes, I see you over there with your pristine copy of Lolita, Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, etc.  I also see that despite your smug look of being better than all those around you, you haven't turned a page in 15 minutes.  You probably won't even know what's going on in the book until you consult Spark/Cliffsnotes for a quick recap of all that you "read."   I'm guessing you had a 40% coupon to use at B&N and decided to splurge on one of their $5 classic copies to impress someone.  Good luck.

2) Twilight Reader
Now despite my insane hatred of this series, I've never really judged someone for reading it because hey, at least they're reading.  This one time is an exception.  I was sitting next to a very muscular, macho man on the T one morning and he pulls out a copy of a Stephen King novel.  Or so I thought.  I glanced over and happened to see "Bella," "Volturi," and "Edward" and started laughing my butt off on the inside.  He was reading Twilight, but had switched the book jacket to fool those around him into thinking he was reading something more reflective of his physical appearance.  Oh I judge him so much.  Be proud of what you read!  Even if it's crap! 

3) The E-reader
This is probably what the Twilight man should have invested in instead of a Stephen King book jacket.  These readers are elusive.  While privacy usually isn't the only reason (if one at all) for possessing an e-reader, the fact remains that if you're going to hide what you're reading from the rest of us, you have no right to judge what we're reading.  It irks me when you judge my battered copy of Harry Potter.  However, as I am not yet blind, I can read the insanely large font of your e-reader from my seat.  So despite your great attempt, I still see that you're reading a romance novel, Mr. I Have a Briefcase and Therefore Deserve Two Seats, and I'm going to judge you right back. 

4) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Reader
You think I have the mental capacity of a 5 year old because I'm reading Matilda on the T? Well by that logic, you have the mind of a sadistic serial rapist.  Please don't sit near me and keep your hands visible at all times.  Granted, Matilda rocks, so I would like to be compared to her.  Poor choice of example, but you get my point.

5) iPhone/iPad/Anything with an Internet Connection User
Those who use these to read newspapers or something of merit are fine.  But those who look down at me while looking at the latest Perez Hilton updates are uncalled for.  How are celebrity pictures with unfortunate white MS Paint squiggles more sophisticated than my children's novel?  At least I'm reading something with substance.  

6) Anything with Sarah Palin on the Cover Reader
No explanation necessary. (Sorry Mom!!)

7) The Movie Book Reader
There's a movie coming out soon.  Because there are zero original ideas in Hollywood, naturally the movie is based on a book.  You've never read this book, but you want to impress someone with your knowledge of the story either before or after you see it, so you try to rapidly read before the release date.  The movie poster book cover completely gives you away.  If Robert Pattinson wasn't starring in Water for Elephants you would have never given that book a second glance.  If Julia Roberts' 10 foot smile wasn't a part of Eat, Pray, Love you wouldn't even know that book existed.  Sometimes I take comfort in knowing that when you later quote a fact from the book to compare it to the movie, you'll probably get it wrong. 

To sum up, stop judging kids' books!!! Or at least keep it to yourself and don't make it so obvious that you're looking down at me for reading one on the T.  The end.


  1. again, I would like to be you when I grow up (even though I am older)

  2. Once I was reading Reviving Ophelia on a plane. The seats went, Dad at the aisle, little girl in the middle and me at the window. The dad looked over in horror and confusion as to why an 18 year old male would be reading such a book. I just looked up and said, "I'm an Education minor, required reading" he just laughed and said, "hey let me know if you have any tips!" looked at his daughter and shook his head.