Fantasy Aficionados discussion

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael | 10 comments I do a lot of reading in coffee shops and other public places and I've noticed that I'll often carry my fantasy titles so that the covers are obscured from onlookers. When I leave a book sitting upon a tabletop, more oft than not I place it cover facing down. Am I alone on this? I'm new to the fantasy genre, so should I expect to grow out of this phase?


message 2: by Traci (new)

Traci I did this in high school. If you're new you might "grow" out of it. A lot of covers aren't so bad anymore. When I was embarrassed was the heyday of Dragonlance. Which is ironic because when someone did notice what I was reading the feedback was usually good. Kids can be weird I guess. So. No shame. Not anymore.


message 3: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments You'll totally grow out of it! :-) I used to do that, too. My friends all wanted me to "read something more serious." One day it occurred to me...I never saw them with books, period! How could they tell me what to read? And why do they care? And sometimes fantasy is deadly serious...and sometimes it's fun...but it's always your business and no one else.


message 4: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Just as an evil afterthought...as I stopped caring as much, I started talking glee in going places with whatever tome I was reading and plop it out no matter where I was. Sometimes more than one. ;-) The conversation would usually evolve from "What are you reading?!" to "You read all that??"


message 5: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Interesting discussion. I never gave a flat damn who saw what I was reading, then or now - if anyone has a problem with this, it's their issue, not mine.

I didn't discover SF or Fantasy until my late teens - though I read like mad, before that. By the time I 'discovered' Zelazny and Tolkien, the friends I had also were avid readers. We scoured the public library, and the one at school, and exchanged the titles of what we loved best. I was very lucky in that way.


message 6: by Rich (new)

Rich Feitelberg | 16 comments I know why you do that; person who do not read fantasy look down on those of us that do. It's like you are wasting your time with silliness when you could be reading a good book. I get this all the time.

But many of the books I like best are fantasy novels. If I'm wasting time, it is my time to waste. So be proud of your choice of reading material and don't hide it.

As an aside, let me add that I see this reaction less now than I used to. I think the popularity of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings has broken down some walls and fantasy novels are more accepted now that they used to be.


message 7: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (last edited Jun 02, 2012 01:44PM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Janny wrote: "Interesting discussion. I never gave a flat damn who saw what I was reading, then or now - if anyone has a problem with this, it's their issue, not mine.

I didn't discover SF or Fantasy until my ..."


I guess that's the difference. I never had any reading friends. I had friends who read sometimes. I did my library scouring alone.

My best fried tried very, very hard. He would go with me to the library a lot, especially when we were younger. He had no real interest in fiction and really didn't want to be there, lol. After some time I started going alone.


message 8: by ~Thena~ (new)

~Thena~ (athena-nadine) | 48 comments Interesting.

I must have been lucky through my life. I've never had anyone criticize me for my reading choices--at least, not in my hearing. lol I've always read fantasy and some science fiction and it's never occurred to me to hide the covers of my books, no matter what I was reading.


message 9: by Rich (new)

Rich Feitelberg | 16 comments Most people, if they are polite, haven't comment on my reading choices verbally, but I've seen looks of disappointment and loss of interest when they see I'm reading a book with a dragon on the cover, or perhaps a superhero.

But like I said it happens less now. Of course, I use a Kindle now too so it is harder to know what I'm reading. ;)


message 10: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Janny wrote: "Interesting discussion. I never gave a flat damn who saw what I was reading, then or now - if anyone has a problem with this, it's their issue, not mine.

I didn't discover SF or Fan..."


That's sad. The few years I had friends who read, we had a lot of fun.

When I was little, my parents read to us. During elementary school, I had a library I could walk to by myself. It was a safe, small town. I had few friends, then, and the books were everything.

Then we moved to another city. That's when I had reading buddies - for about 3 years. We moved again, unfortunately, and I was back to reading alone, but with the occasional friend, who read much less, and we were not very close.

College - that's where I ran into people who had issues - when I began to take art, and ran into ridicule for my subject matter, and where I took extreme heat in my one or two dumb forays into trying creative writing in that setting. Again, the subject matter upset others.

In adult life, my profession has caused many a look askance; but less now then ever before. Rich pegged it: Harry Potter and the success of Lord of the Rings, and lately, Martin, are rubbing the stigma off fast.

I've always been the sort of person who hates being told what to do, how to think, or worst of all, what to do with my life. Disparaging comments made me mad, but not ever to the point of hiding.

In reflection, I guess I could not hide because to even 'act' that stifled made me rebel. When I was very little, that sometimes led to tantrums. My dad shot some very hilarious home movies of me, shoved into a yellow party dress I HATED. I had this thunderous scowl, and every second of the footage went Twitch, Yank, Twitch, Yank, while my sisters all looked like angelic cuties.

Now if I could have shoved that yellow dress face down under a brown paper bag....


message 11: by ~Thena~ (new)

~Thena~ (athena-nadine) | 48 comments Janny, I can see people like those you went to college with looking down on you for your reading choices. I'm sorry you had to deal with that. It sucks. I guess I never had issues because I went to college for physics and math (way before Harry Potter). We were all geeks and nerds. lol After school, I ended up going into IT and was surrounded by more geeks. So I never developed any sense that my choice of entertainment reading was odd or "less than."

Granted, I have plenty of friends who probably think my choice of genres, my collection of Star Wars stuff, and my video games are a bit silly, but I've never had to deal with actual disdain.


message 12: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) This thread is the reason why e-readers were invented. ;)

I've never been embarrassed by my reading choices. Growing up, I was never much into fantasy, but I was into horror. I didn't have any reading friends, but my mom was a voracious reader, and it was mostly her books that I read. I remember only one time, in highschool, that someone made a comment about my reading choices - it was while reading at my desk before the start of the class. I was reading Gerald's Game, and my English lit teacher confiscated the book and told me that "Stephen King writes nothing but trash" and that "she never wanted to see another Stephen King book in her classroom". Of course, she's an English lit teacher, so I guess that's a required opinion... LOL

My mom got her book back though, and handed it right back to me saying, "Just read it at home next time. I don't want to drive all the way down there again." LOL


message 13: by Kit★ (new)

Kit★ (xkittyxlzt) | 1018 comments I never hid my fantasy readings, took 'em as a hey check out my awesome book opportunity. Now the historical romance novels I would hide back when I was in school. Specially the ones with the old-school Fabio-type covers. Didn't want my teachers or fellow students seeing 'em. But I don't hide 'em anymore, don't care what anyone thinks of what I'm reading :)


message 14: by Weenie (new)

Weenie While I was at uni, I was just getting into Anne McCaffrey's Pern series and probably Piers Anthony's Xanth series. One of my housemates always used to scoff at my 'silly books', which made me a bit defensive at the time.

I couldn't care less these days, so yeah, you do grow out of it!


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael | 10 comments Case in point: I have a friend, more of a frequent acquaintance I suppose, that I often run into at my favorite coffee shop. Over the years he and I have enjoyed discussing the current history or current events-related books we were reading. Lately, however, as more and more fantasy has worked its way into my reading rotation, I've become accustomed to his asking me what I'm reading and then having to watch as his expression morphs from enthusiastic interest to confusion and polite acceptance. I then tread water attempting to explain what it is about the fantasy genre that I find so appealing. He plays along and it's not as if he's hostile toward fantasy...I can just tell that he doesn't really get why anyone would care to read something about dragons, magic talismans, magic swords, wizards, and a bunch of crazy not-real animals. I suppose I'll learn to deal with my shame, but perhaps for now I should resort to DIY paper sack book covers.


message 16: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Michael wrote: "I then tread water attempting to explain what it is about the fantasy genre that I find so appealing. He plays along and it's not as if he's hostile toward fantasy...I can just tell that he doesn't really get why anyone would care to read something about dragons, magic talismans, magic swords, wizards, and a bunch of crazy not-real animals. "

Do you need to justify reading for pleasure? I've only recently (within the last few years) found my way to fantasy, and now it's my go-to genre, though I still read quite a lot of everything-else-with-words too. I love the escapism of fantasy. Getting to fall into someone else's imagination and all that that entails is freeing and awesome. That's what it boils down to. But whatever your reason for enjoying fantasy is, you shouldn't have to, and don't need to, justify it to your friend. His tastes run differently, that's all. Tell him to lighten up... There's no test at the end. ;)


message 17: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Michael wrote: "Case in point: I have a friend, more of a frequent acquaintance I suppose, that I often run into at my favorite coffee shop. Over the years he and I have enjoyed discussing the current history or c..."

You know, some people just don't understand the complexity of the genre. They think it's all rainbows and butterflies. One of my favorite places to start when explaining the width and depth of fantasy (right now) is The Tolkien Professor: http://tolkienprofessor.com/wp/


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael | 10 comments The problem lies entirely with my shame, I'm sure.


message 19: by Rakib_khan (new)

Rakib_khan | 5 comments .....I like fantasy genre above all.....and that 'silly books' comment I get so often,from my brother,my friends all round.....now I am an intern doctor,most of the time I am working with senior doctors,but as a habit I always carry a book around with me (now 'the great hunt').....I see often that I get weird looks and sometimes I hide my books and keep the cover hidden etc.....but actually at the end of the day I dont care that much,cuz that is what I like and this is what I am.....I cant change for them even if it hampers my carrier for them thinking I dont take life seriously.....I take my patients damn seriously and they find that out when they spend time with me most of the time.....


message 20: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Young-Turner | 25 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Michael wrote: "Case in point: I have a friend, more of a frequent acquaintance I suppose, that I often run into at my favorite coffee shop. Over the years he and I have enjoyed discussing the curr..."

I went to Washington College, where the Tolkien Professor now teaches. I am so envious of the students who get to take his classes. How cool would it be to discuss Lord of the Rings as a college course? Most of my friends are into fantasy so I've never worried about hiding it. But I've had jobs in the past where coworkers looked down their noses at the books I was reading. Oh well, I was the weird one anyway.


message 21: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (imhrien) | 433 comments Hah, this is exactly why I have some very mixed feelings about the recent success of Game of Thrones. The very same fellow students/coworkers/relatives who gave me grief about reading fantasy are now saying:

"Omg! you like reading right? Did you ever try Game of Thrones!!?"

...and if my death glare wouldn't work, I'd try vehemently wishing they would have an unfortunate encounter with a Grue.

Not that I ever had "serious" problems with people about my reading tastes. They would ask, "What are you reading?" like I was holding a dead rat or something. So I would do my best to explain with the usually mistaken hope that I might actually convert them. The usual response was, "well, that's sounds cool and all, but its just not my kind of thing..."

That was the part that used to bother me, I had something I really loved that many people were either dismissive or slightly contemptuous of. And so my cynicism developed and it eventually became supremely annoying to try and explain things to people. I never did hide what I read, but I lost that eagerness to share it with others that I wasn't close to. Now that Fantasy seems to be everybody's thing, I roll my eyes and shrug. Now and then I might shake my fist in anguish over all those frustrated years, then I get over it and try to enjoy a very R.R. Martin centric discussion. =/


message 22: by Terry (new)

Terry Simpson | 261 comments The only thing I ever hid ... guess you could call it fantasy ... and that I hid from my parents :P Anyways, at work my friends would ask what I was reading. Back then, it was one massive fantasy tome or another and I gladly shared. They just went 'Oh.' When the Lord of The Rings movie came out and people would ask, I'd say "Some Lord of the Rings type stuff."

Was never ashamed and never hid my choice of literature, even when Walt Whitman was my favorite and those around me turned their noses up at poetry.


message 23: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments You know, when I try to explain to people that I read fantasy and not sci-fi...people give me blank looks and ask what is the difference.

My response is usually "Fantasy = Lord of the Rings and Sci-Fi = Star Trek."


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I guess I was another lucky one in that it was my dad who first got me into sci-fi and fantasy, so I never had to deal with shit from my parents saying I should read 'real books' or anything, and most of my friends were geeks anyway, so I never got crap from them, and the people in school who were mean to me would've been mean to me anyway. I was in the freaking marching band, for crying out loud. LOL

That said - I've never hidden a cover in public, and have actually made "train friends" by them seeing what I read, and vice versa, and us seeing we read some of the same stuff.

BUT I'm also glad I wasn't around in the 60s and 70s when some of the sci-fi and fantasy covers were truly awful. AND I don't tend to read books with half-naked people on the covers and, if I were, I'd probably get something to put over those. ;)


Nikki (aka Quinn) | 9 comments I am the wierdo that will ask what someone is reading if they are in a public place....I feel like us readers are in a secret club or something


message 26: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Nikki (aka Quinn) wrote: "I am the wierdo that will ask what someone is reading if they are in a public place....I feel like us readers are in a secret club or something"

I do this too... hehe...


Nikki (aka Quinn) | 9 comments :)


message 28: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 04, 2012 01:41PM) (new)

Jalilah Regarding my reading choices, I don't care about what people think. However some covers are embarrassing like this one: The Fairy Godmother I took the jacket off !


message 29: by Traci (new)

Traci I hate to sound like your mom, especially considering I don't even have children, but from experience the ones who will make fun of your books or look down on you for reading them aren't people you're going to get along with anyway. I've gotten to now that I won't shut up about whatever I'm reading.


message 30: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) I get the raised eyebrow all of the time when people ask what I'm reading and find out it's a fantasy book. It used to bother me a lot, and I felt a lot of shame.. But over the years, I've learned to embrace my nerdiness. It was more difficult at first because people look at me and I don't think I come across as nerdy.. But it becomes blatantly obvious once I open my mouth. I figure, take me or leave me.. I'm a nerd and I'm happy that way :)


message 31: by Traci (new)

Traci I tend to get the "awww look, a nerd" look. Like I'm some kind of rare but friendly fluffy little animal. I'm kind of used now to eyes fading out of focus while I'm talking...hasn't stopped me.


message 32: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Dawn wrote: "I get the raised eyebrow all of the time when people ask what I'm reading and find out it's a fantasy book. It used to bother me a lot, and I felt a lot of shame.. But over the years, I've learned ..."

This is where I am now. :-) I love the looks on people's faces when they see my physical library. :-D


message 33: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) I loved the looks on my friends faces when they helped me pack/move last year and saw all of the boxes of books they were going to have to carry :D


message 34: by Donna (last edited Jun 04, 2012 07:32AM) (new)

Donna Royston | 64 comments Hmm, don't usually feel the urge to hide what I'm reading, fantasy or otherwise. Over the years, though, I have occasionally read a book that had a cover that I thought was embarrassing, and I turned those face down. I don't remember what they were. I don't think they were fantasy novels.

Yeah, there are lots of people who will turn up their noses at fantasy -- including my mom and sister -- who don't necessarily read anything more intellectual. Mom likes mysteries, for instance.


message 35: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Dawn wrote: "I loved the looks on my friends faces when they helped me pack/move last year and saw all of the boxes of books they were going to have to carry :D"

Oh! That IS fun, lol.


message 36: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger I guess I've been lucky. I've never had anyone criticize me for reading fantasy.


message 37: by Kasi (new)

Kasi Blake (kcblake) | 64 comments I read what I want and don't care what anyone thinks.


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger Agreed!


message 39: by Robert (new)

Robert | 6 comments I've never been embarrassed by my love for fantasy/sci-fi. I'm also an avid RPG'er and am proud of it!


message 40: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I game...and strangely enough I used to get more props for that than reading.

Of course, in college I was a nerd's wet dream, lol.


message 41: by Isabella (last edited Jun 04, 2012 08:18PM) (new)

Isabella (isabellaamaris) | 2 comments (Edited upon further reflection) Hmmm, now that I think about it, I think the reason I didn't get much grief was because I was because I was quite a solitary individual then (and to a lesser degree now)... But yeah, once I started writing fantasy, I noticed a more open disapproval from those around me...

Anyway, it all probably comes back to what MrsJoseph said upthread, that the complexity of fantasy works has sometimes escaped people...And yeah, still don't understand how this happened, though the relationship to children's lit of old is beginning to make more and more sense as the reason for many people looking down on fantasy... Have to add that I thought this attitude was going away... sad to hear it isn't...


message 42: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger I know some high school students who were told they could choose any book they liked to read and then do a book report on. Some of the students wanted to read my epic fantasy, The Steel Queen. The teacher told them no, they could not pick a fantasy book!!!!!


message 43: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger When I was in high school, so long ago, a bunch of us complained to our English teacher that we never got read any science fiction or fantasy in class. So the teacher promised we would add one science fiction book to the reading list. We read Childhood's End, and it was by far the best debate we ever had in English class. Too bad more English teachers are not so open minded.


message 44: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah my son read The Giver in his English class and was told next year they would be reading The Hunger Games


message 45: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger Awesome!


message 46: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Jalilah wrote: "my son read The Giver in his English class and was told next year they would be reading The Hunger Games"

The closest we got to fantasy in high school was Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Though we read Bloodchild and Other Stories (well, just blood child) by Octavia Butler in college.


Nikki (aka Quinn) | 9 comments I like suprising people with what I am reading... esp. since they are usually long books and I look like I am fifteen so people tend to assume I would be reading People magazine or something (although hey I'm not about that either)

The other day I was reading Name of the Wind and the barista asked if it was Fabio on the cover....I think I would feel wierd reading romance novels in public though


message 48: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 04, 2012 12:57PM) (new)

Jalilah Just remembered my son also read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in his 5th grade class.


message 49: by Karen (new)

Karen Azinger I don't read romance, but I have to agree that a lot of those covers are embarrassing! Fantasy books on the other hand, get some really awesome artwork on the covers!


message 50: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Karen wrote: "I don't read romance, but I have to agree that a lot of those covers are embarrassing! Fantasy books on the other hand, get some really awesome artwork on the covers!"

Only 50% of the time now. A lot of fantasy covers look like PNR covers.


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