Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reviewing Is Not For Freaks. Hello.

Hey, hey, lovely people! How art thou? (Thee? How do these Shakespearean expressions work?) I'm fabulous. About to post something on about Paper Towns, for those interested. I've just arrived home once again and commenced my usual rounds of web browsing and reading like the dork I am. Oh! And this reminds me! I have a topic to blog about other than myself!

The Selfish Steph alter ego (or, main "ego", as the case may be) is growling at this. She likes talking about herself. But whatev, some duct tape oughta shut that bitch up. *squee!*

Anyway, it's recently come to my attention that people have this preconceived, somewhat negative depending on how you look at it, view of people who are fond of reading. I mean, I've always gotten some weird looks when I bring a new book to school to read between classes. But now that I've turned to reviewing, people are always looking at the cover of some of my ARCs are going, "Why do you have an 'Advance Uncorrected Proofs' of such-and-such books?"

Now. I am not in the slightest shy of my reading habits. Why would I be, when the activity that proliferates my fellow peers' afternoon schedules typically involve things that they can't do in front of most adults? I mean, I have a busy schedule, y'know, and I like being able to perform my hobbies while waiting for my turn at the orthodontist's office. Coming in straddling my boyfriend or doing lines at the waiting area won't earn me a lot of smiles.

But, there's just no way in hell, earth or heaven that I'll ever, under any circumstances, allow them to see my review site. Just, no. This is a nice, positive space for me to connect with people who like reading, authors, publicists, and freaky stalker dudes, and allowing people at school to see every word I write on here is not even an option.

It'd hinder my process.
Cramp my style.
Rain on my parade.
(Insert ancient expression here.)

So I just say, "Oh, I'm on (publisher) beta reader list. Like, I tell them if the book sucks or not and they get a better idea of how the targeted audience might react to their product." Which isn't so far from the truth.

Keep in mind that I don't live in the US and in the country where I live reading isn't as big as it is there. I'm the only big reader in my class of 100.

Anyway, I'm usually met with, "That's cool... So you read, like, a lot."

To which I always respond, "Yup."

"Like, how many books a month?"

"Depends. On a really good month, maybe 20?"

I swear, you'd think I said I'm into S&M. Like, their eyes bulge out in epic proportions. And then their gaze alternates between me and whatever book I'm holding and trying to get back to. And then they're like, "That's so unlike you."

This usually gets my interest. "Whaddya mean?"

"Like, you're such a crazy party chick. I wouldn't have thought you're into sitting around and reading for hours and hours. Like, it's something that nerds do, you know."

I must give them credit here. You know that girl that always jumps up when she sees someone she recognizes, and I mean anyone and everyone, and goes over to hug the hell out of them as a form of "hello"? Someone who likes screaming more than talking and who is always, always, always cracking jokes in the back of the room while the precalc teacher drones on and on about bijector, surjector and injector functions? Someone who goes to parties to actually dance, not stand around waiting to be begged to dance only to decline all the kindred souls trying to get them involved? The person who is doing the persuading to the people in the sidelines?

That's me. And I believe the stereotype that follows people like me is something along the lines of, "Suuuuuuper wild, in every sense of the word, and dim, dumb, stupid. Oh, and superficial."

Well. My grades aren't spectacular most of the time, but I manage. I got in to the prep school I go to with a scholarship that covers nearly all of the tuition, through an exam which 600 people took in my round (there were two rounds), which I got 3rd place on.

I go to a lot of parties and drink and dance (dance to electronica, that is - I don't know how to "shake what mah mama gave me", so don't worry about finding scary grinding videos of me on YouTube), and do all that other teenager crap, but I'm not a crackwhore. My parents know this, and they allow me to do it all because it's good figuring out your boundaries early on. Saves you a lifetime of trouble later on when you go and get drunk for the first time in front of your friends, when you don't know your alcohol tolerance yet, and make a fool of yourself. Or worse. (If you disagree, know this is my personal opinion, developed by my family's values. Don't dwell on it.)

Superficial? As opposed to what? Give me a point of reference. Compared to Plato, I'm a one-inch-deep pond. Compared to an amoeba, I'm the deepest of oceans. This is relative.

I'm also the person who most uses the expressions, "Omigod!!" "like", "whatever", etc. etc. etc. to boot.

I usually reply with something like, "Reading doesn't make me a loser, ya know!" and then make some sort of cute face, like :P

Then the person goes all, "But how do you find the time?"

"Insomnia. 99% of what I read is read between 1 and 4AM. It's something to do."

"So, like, you sleep in the afternoon?"


"When do you sleep?"

"After three or four days sleeping two-to-four hours, I crash one day and recuperate all of my strengths."


And so the cycle of "so, like, you read but, like, you're not an alien" continues. It annoys me. What, I can't read and be social? I can't enjoy fictional worlds apart from Harry Potter's (which is popular even around these parts) and not be a recluse?

So, in conclusion, I'd just like to say that if you think you've got a person pegged as a stereotypical blonde or the derogatory likes, they may come and surprise you with an all out, all-geeked up book review site much like mine. It doesn't mean we're those nerds Hollywood is only so happy to promote the image of. It doesn't mean we're the losers even books themselves make us out to be. It doesn't mean we're freaks from Krypton.

What it may mean is that we're even cooler, more experienced, more articulate, and more secular savvy than you. ;)

Now I must be on my way to Glow In The Spark, so if you'll excuse me...


Chelsea said...

Reviewer X, just to let you know, you rock PRETTY damn hard. But you probably already knew that. :p

Book Chic said...

You are amazing. That was one of the most hilarious and insightful blogs I've ever read. Go you!! :)

Although sleep is very important to me, so I could never be like you, haha.

ambeen said...

Haha, wow. I wish that was me. People often peg me as a reader even when I don't have a book in hand (which is rare). Apparently I have the look. Nerd, I guess?

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm pretty much a dork personally, but I do agree that stereotypes really don't work and you won't know everything about me by finding out I like to read or whatever...
Loved the post though!! It was hilarious and very true like I said.

P.S. Email: If you want to help out, let me know by tomorrow! If not, all cool!!!

alison ashlee said...

I think I'd be the reader person ... Certainly not the partay til the sun goes up again kind of person. Tres interesting and great post, by the way!

I was just wondering though ... What the hell are bijector, surjector and injector functions? I swear, you ain't speakin' English there! :P

Jennifer said...

Try getting a PhD--then people think you're really weird!

"You actually want to get paid to read ridiculous amounts of books and TALK about them?"

"Umm . . . yeah?"

If I'd had my stuff together at your age as much as you clearly do, I'd be running the world right now . . . :)


Debbie Reed Fischer said...

Awesome post. Don't you hate stereotypes? Now go back to your party, you wild thing.


OH NO. You're reminding me so much of...ME! (Back in the day, that is.) It's all making sense now. Kind of too much sense.Sh&%, sh*$, sh#*! :-O

A.S. King said...

Hey! Great post (yeah - I know I'm late...been working.) And what was with last week & stereotypes? I just guest blogged over at about some dude who told me I'm too young to write good books.


Anonymous said...

For me its the opposite People dont belive me when I tell em I like to partyT_T I must have

I remember being seen as a freak for reading so much.
When I was 16 I had read all of Jane Austens books.

When I was in highschool the english(actually swedish) teacher
seemed astounded to hear that I had already read Jane Eyre.Even more so when I said I didnt mind reading it again...yes im a booklover i admit it^^

Lauren said...

That post was so funny!! Wow, you seem like the type of person I would want to be if I could choose.
Though at the end of the day, I'm happy being what people think I am. A bookish and funny nerd.


Reviewer X said...

Y'all are too much =) *hugs*

And Lauren, thanks :) But just so you know, who you are -- that's the most important thing of it all.


Anonymous said...

it happens! i mean i know this guy who is in the effing club 24/7 and guess what i find out?!?! he's an effing med school! and not only that he the TOP his class that makes him valedictorian! don't know how b/c he don't have the nerd look....AT ALL. i mean he's like all jacked up and spiky haired and everything. also found out total mama's boy. so you see what u in counter is not abnormal at ALL. so don't worry. btw i'm in law school and i party...actually just like u do.

Charmaine said...

WOW!!! That is exactly how I am treated in school. I always have to read in school or on the bus home. When my classmate or schoolmate sees me reading, she will look at me in the weird way. But I don't care anyway and now I decided to review books on my blog. I am not an insomnia though...Haha...but its great that you don't have to sleep. I wish I don't have to sleep so that I will have more time to read:))

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way, the previous comment is by me. Anyway, keep it all up. I love reading your blog. Its interesting and cool so keep it up!!

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