This post was inspired by a segment on RTE Radio 1 about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, during which John Connolly valiantly tolerated some pretty impressive book snobbery. Click here to listen (popcorn at the ready recommended).
1. Use the phrase “transcends the genre” frequently and in a complimentary fashion. (For more on this, please read Sarah Weinman’s excellent piece on the topic.)
2. Damn genre authors with faint praise at every opportunity.
3. Choose one or two popular genre novels and refer to them as your guilty pleasure. You need not have actually read them.
4. Have (ideally snarky) opinions about books you wouldn’t be caught dead reading.
5. Speak often and loudly about your love of reading, but take no action whatsoever to encourage other people to read.
6.Should you accidentally (or under duress) read and enjoy a genre novel, be sure to point out the ways in which is isn’t really a genre novel (see #1).
7. Should you happen to encounter a writer of said genre novels in the course of your fabulous life, be sure to educate him or her all that is wrong with genre fiction.
8. Never, ever set foot in a library, unless it is a private one or you are attending a specific (ideally invitation-only) event.
9. Criticize common readers whenever possible. Sharing lists of obscure books you absolutely adore on social media is an excellent means to illustrate how much better you are as a read and a human being, and be sure to express your shock and outrage should any of your “friends” not have read and appreciated them all.
10. Remember that people who live outside wherever you do (or New York City or London) and/or possess less formal education than you do are lesser life forms, and couldn’t possibly know a single thing about Real and Worthwhile Literature.
Together, we can make the world safe for Real Literature and save potential readers from themselves.