19 July, 2011

Book Rape - Has It Happened To You?

EDIT 9/27/17: I'm leaving this up because I don't believe in hiding your poor choices, but learning from them. Please know I realize the insensitivity and poor choice of words in this blog post and I hope you forgive me. Rape is not something to joke about in my opinion. I apologize completely and fully. I had completely forgotten about this post until recently when talking with my wife.

Yes, I said it - Book Rape. This is a nasty and pernicious phenomenon and one you may already have unknowingly suffered.

I learned about this from a friend on Goodreads, Amanda, whose mission it is to build awareness. She says:
"Book rape" = The act of a casual reader forcing books upon you that you do not want to read. Such books are usually benign Christian fiction or popular books, such as Marley and Me or the Twilight series. This crime is usually perpetrated by a family member or loved one (grandmothers are notorious for this); generally, the guilty party has no idea that you enjoy reading some pretty weird and twisted stuff. Yeah, I'm not so much a fan of this.
This pandemic is even worse among genre readers since no one can really comprehend in the first place why we read what we read, but it's definitely weird and wrong.

The worst part is, Book Rape usually occurs with people who already know you're an avid reader. Chances are you've already 1. Heard of the book, and 2. Dismissed it because it's not something you would ever consider wasting your time with, especially when you have so much other good stuff waiting for you.

This is a very difficult situation and there are plenty of ways to deal with it in a nice and friendly way, but with the added benefit of NOT ACTUALLY READING THE STUPID BOOK.

Ways to prevent the dreaded Book Rape:

1. Say you'll add it to your Goodreads, LibraryThing, or any other To-Read list you're keeping. This is kind of a soft agreement. You've considered the proposal, but it's not binding.

2. Amanda recommends carrying around a picture of your latest "To-Read" pile. Then you can agree to reading their recommendation..."just after I finish this":

3. Say you've already read it. This one's a bit tricky because they might ask you things like "What was your favorite part?" Then again, a memory is funny thing to lose.

4. If an actual, physical book is being pushed on you - accept it and throw it under your bed, dresser, etc. You can give it back whenever, preferably just leave it on their doorstep so you can avoid the situation in #3.

5. You could actually say no thanks, I read... and this is where you can insert something crazy like Steampunk, Cyberpunk, etc. They'll have no idea what you're even talking about and you'll most likely get a reaction such as: "Is that YA?"

Let's be honest here, is someone who reads 3 books a year (and only biggest fad Help the Girl with the Twilight Dragon Tattoo) going to tell someone who reads ___ (insert your number, mine's about 10 or 11) times the average amount of books a year (which happens to be 5) what to read? I don't think so. :)

(Note: I have nothing against The Help (I guess it's supposed to be good), but think The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was way overrated...and I have plenty against Twilight)

Any other recommendations? Any funny experiences with this? What do you do? This post was (mostly) in jest, but I've had this happen plenty of times and I just have no desire to read crap anymore. :)


JML said...

Eh, my grandma doesn't do this. When Twilight came out, a lot of my friends recommended it, so I read it. Wasn't a good experience, so I've learned to discount their opinions. Is it rape if you've not yet learned to "not like" the book when they recommended it? Cuz I felt pretty bad afterwards. Like the book version of bad sex, maybe.

Anyway, afterwards, ignoring whatever they recommended seemed like a pretty good technique. I usually do this by changing the subject. It's easy to do with friends. Dunno about grandmothers.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Grandmothers are the worst culprits ... and there's no real getting out of that. :D

And yes, definitely, that's a great example of Book Rape even if you've not yet learned to not like it, you can probably guess it won't end well. :)

Bibliotropic said...

It's usually my dad who tries to bookrape me. He'll give me gifts of books that he found funny or interesting and keep pestering me until I read them, or else guilt-trip me by saying, "You can just tell me if you got rid of it, you know." So I get stuck with books that he enjoyed reading as a teenager or books by comedians he listens to on the radio whose sense of humour he thinks I'll enjoy, and I'm left wondering if this man even knows me at all. It's not like I make a secret of what kinds of books I prefer to read, and "books written by my father's favourite comedians" don't usually enter into that list.

Beth D. said...

"Oh Nana, you don't have to, I might never be able to get to it."...."Okay, okay, yes I will try to get to it, but wouldn't Mom like to read it first?"...."Well we will see if I can get to it sometime."

Debbie Macomber books are sitting on my kitchen table almost a full year later, still. Not that I dislike her books, hell, I haven't read them. I have been stalling to give them back. I want to avoid 'what did you think?' Hard to disappoint my grandmother. lol.

Woodge said...

I'm mostly lucky with this. My parents pay attention to what I actually read, my in-laws know to include gift receipts and never ask follow-up questions. My grandparents are long dead and my wife knows that I buy everything I want to read anyway. For friends I usually say, "Oh, my To Be Read pile is far too big to add to at the moment" and that is that. Doesn't stop me from adding to it myself though. Natch.

ediFanoB said...

My family never tried to convince me to read certain books.

But there are other kinds of book rape.
There are authors who send you a word or pdf copy of their book. And then they try to force you to read it. You get one mail after the other. When I started my blog I sent kind replies. But in vain. Nowadays I ignore such kind of pestering.

WonderBunny said...

I think people around me have clued in and only give me gift cards now for the bookstore. They know there is a chance I have or already own some of the books out there. Although I do have a few books on my shelf that belong to others that I haven't felt like reading yet...but plan to sometime. It just is a little out of my interest area so that take more effort to read.

I do pass off books to my boyfriend all the time and sometimes he reads them and sometimes they languish on his night stand. When they get dusty, I take them back. I figure if he decides he wants to read it, he'll find it on the bookshelf.

The Help was actually very good... I couldn't get 100 pages into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

This happens to me...a lot! I sometimes get books as gifts that are SO not what I read. I'm so glad my parents know what I like. We actually have pretty similar reading taste (yeah, my parents are cool). Some people just don't realize that what they like isn't necessarily what someone else will like. Sure, recommend the book, but don't expect the person to read it and then get mad if they don't. I actually have pretty eclectic taste, but if someone comes at me with romance or erotica, you can bet your ass I'm running the other way!

a.l.l.a.n1 said...

Awesome post! Hilarious and something I think we can all relate to.

My cousin gave me a short story book based on thrillers. It has been in the garage for about 3-4 years now. I can never give it back because I will have to tell him I havent read it...and never even considered it!

This is one of those "its funny because its true" things. You have hit the nail so hard on the head here I dont have anything to add except praise.

seriously...great post!

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Wow, I'm just glad I'm not the only one. :) I'm loving these stories.

@Bibliotropic - Dad's can be almost as bad as grandmothers. Mine at least understands my tastes a bit, he went through a Star Wars phase not too long ago.

@Beth - That sounds exactly like me! I can never say no, even though I'm 99% positive I won't even open the book up.

@Woodge - Haha, yeah, I need to stop book raping myself. :D At least I can't be too disappointed though.

@edi - Awesome! I didn't even think of that context and you're completely right. I've become pretty immune to them too.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

@WonderBunny - Oh, so you're an admitted Book Rapist? Yeah, me too. :)

@Michelle - Those are VERY cool parents. My mom just finished the first Harry Potter and loved it, so I feel like there's some wiggle room for good taste. :D

I think you really have a good point, you have to be careful with book recommendations. It's a lot of time to invest in a book and you should really never be too pushy or offended if people don't want to read what they give them. Plus, you have to be excited to read a book to actually get through it (at least quickly) and usually excitement comes from within and rarely from a quick book recommendation (Book Rape)

@a.l.l.a.n.1. - Thanks a ton, I had fun writing this up. I think 3-4 years has got to be some kind of record!

A Writerly Wight said...

Haha, or how about saying you read it and to be nice also saying, "yeah, that was pretty good" or just okay. Then the person gets so excited that ...somebody... actually liked it and brings you the other 20 in the series. Hah! In my case, I looked up what the book was about on wikipedia so I could fake the favorite part question but I wasn't asked. Later I found out that my friend who suggested the book decided she didn't really like the series. Lucky ;)

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

@Wight - Haha, that's just insane. How do people not at least know you can't recommend something unless you really love it! I actually got this idea from all the times you forced books on me...oh crap, it was actually the other way around. (I still feel so bad about that Blade Itself recommendation)

A Writerly Wight said...

Hah! You should! I was going to check out the first Malazan book but then I remembered you recommended it ;) Just kidding!