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If you choose to read a book in public, will passersby judge you on the cover of your book?

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9 hours ago, David James said:

 

What type of books do you normally read?

 

 

^ My reading diary.

 

But basically they can be broken down into:

 

  • Fiction (trying to focus on the classics at the moment)
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Medical Humanities
  • Medical Anthropology

 

What about yourself?

 

 

9 hours ago, David James said:

I'd say the front cover is a good indication for the most part e.g Nietzsche looks very intriguing.

 

I was on the train the other day and someone was reading a short novel opposite me. I couldn't see the title but could tell by the colours that it was a Penguin Classic. That certainly piqued my interest and I spent the rest of the train journey trying to discreetly read the title. :P So I think it doesn't even have to be about the title of the book, but just its appearance. 

 

9 hours ago, David James said:

I definitely agree with you. However, although Marxism and related works are taught in universities, I think there is a world of difference in someone choosing to read such works to study compared to reading them in public knowing fine well that people will make a judgement.

 

To be honest, if I see someone reading a Politics book, I assume they either study politics or work in politics. I wouldn't assume that the book they are reading reflects their views, as my (limited) experience is that people don't generally read political books otherwise. Bare in mind that most of my friends are university students, so obviously this is from my very limited perspective. I would be more likely to gauge someones political stance by their social media posts for example.

 

9 hours ago, David James said:

I think religious and anti-religious books would also draw similar judgments e.g reading the Bible or The God Delusion would make people convey different emotions. 

 

I think The God Delusion (or something similar by one of the well-known atheists) is a good example of a book where I would probably make an unconscious and prejudiced (negative) assumption about the reader. Not because I disagree with any of the work, but because my experience of people who are fans of such books is that they can be very vocal about their views and close-minded about anyone who disagrees with them (ooh, controversial).

Edited by Angury

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2 hours ago, Angury said:

 

 

^ My reading diary.

 

But basically they can be broken down into:

 

  • Fiction (trying to focus on the classics at the moment)
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Medical Humanities
  • Medical Anthropology

 

What about yourself?

 

You've read some decent books and have some good books listed that you wish to read in the future. I generally read philosophy, psychology, physical anthropology, politics and classic literature novels for the most part but I also don't mind other genres such as fantasy as I have read some fantasy books in the past but they wouldn't be my first choice. I don't mind reading an autobiography every now and then as well. I always read two books at once, one being a relatively easy book to read and the other being a challenge to read e.g Nietzsche, Hegel, Kant, etc. Occasionally, I'll be reading three books at once if I start to read a series but that's quite rare for me. I'm also a firm believer in that if you start a book then finish it, I've read several books that were very sluggish to get through but I persevered with them.

 

When I've not got any books to be read I'm quite guilty of searching on Amazon "Penguin classics" or "Wordsworth classics" etc, to try and find a decent classical novel that I'm unfamiliar with and if I like the summary then I'll buy it. 

 

I was on the train the other day and someone was reading a short novel opposite me. I couldn't see the title but could tell by the colours that it was a Penguin Classic. That certainly piqued my interest and I spent the rest of the train journey trying to discreetly read the title.

:P So I think it doesn't even have to be about the title of the book, but just its appearance.

 

I've had the same thing happen to me. I used to work shift work and would get the late train home and it would generally be the usual faces and every time I had a new book I'd always catch one of them trying to look at what I've just started reading. Also, whenever you get on a busy train and open up a book you'll notice loads of heads turn your way as well. I never used to read in public much but with decent weather I'll take a bottle of water and read at a park or somewhere similar and the general public definitely do take notice of you because it's unfortunately a rare thing these days to see people reading a book.

 

I think the front cover is quite important, I don't really like reading books with just simply the author's name and the title of the book on the front cover although I do have a fair few like this since no other copies were available when I bought them. 

 

To be honest, if I see someone reading a Politics book, I assume they either study politics or work in politics. I wouldn't assume that the book they are reading reflects their views, as my (limited) experience is that people don't generally read political books otherwise. Bare in mind that most of my friends are university students, so obviously this is from my very limited perspective. I would be more likely to gauge someones political stance by their social media posts for example.

 

I think if someone were to be as bold as to read something political in public knowing fine well that people will make judgements based on what you're reading then there is a fine line between someone just reading a certain work for study and reflecting the reader's own political beliefs. It's the same for reading either religious or anti-religious books in public, I doubt very much a religious person is going to want to be seen in public reading Nietzsche's The Antichrist or something and then declaring themselves to be a Christian, do you know what I mean? Or someone reading Mein Kampf in public and then considering themselves to be a communist. 

 

I don't have any friends that are in university and I don't use any social media (Facebook, etc) so I am stating my opinion from a totally different perspective from yours but I still can see where you are coming from. I think the person's physical appearance would also play a part in my judgement whether that would be consciously or subconsciously. 

 

I think The God Delusion (or something similar by one of the well-known atheists) is a good example of a book where I would probably make an unconscious and prejudiced (negative) assumption about the reader. Not because I disagree with any of the work, but because my experience of people who are fans of such books is that they can be very vocal about their views and close-minded about anyone who disagrees with them (ooh, controversial).

 

I'm glad you never saw me reading it then! :D I totally understand where you're coming from but such an argument could be and is often used from both sides.

 

I'm personally never really vocal about anything unless it's relevant. You tend to find that the gobshites tend to know nothing.

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On 13/06/2017 at 4:32 PM, David James said:

 

If you were to see someone reading a political book, would you make the assumption that they were supportive of that ideology? 

 

For example, if you were to see someone reading Karl Marx's Capital: Critique of Political Economy, would you assume they were left-wing inclined such as a communist, Marxist or socialist? Or, if you were to see someone reading Margaret Thatcher's The Downing Street Years, would you assume they were centre-right inclined such as a Conservative? 

 

Personally, I wouldn't - I would assume that they were reading it for interest or from intellectual curiosity.  But that's probably just because it would be my own motivation for reading works like that.

 

I do think people make judgements about others based on what they see them reading.  I haven't ever been aware of choosing to read a particular book in public because I thought it would give people a more favourable impression of me, but there are books I have chosen not to read in public because I was slightly embarrassed about them (they were a more 'romance/chick lit' type of book than I usually read, passed on to me by my mother).  But now, I am slightly embarrassed about having been slightly embarrassed by them!  I wouldn't think negatively of anyone I saw reading them, so it wasn't logical for me to think others would think negatively about me.

 

I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.

 

(By the way, what you choose to read can have unexpected effects - many years ago, while working as a receptionist in a lawyers' office, a friend visiting one of the younger lawyers asked me if I ever read at my desk when things were quiet and, if so, what.  I told him I did, usually the The Economist magazine, which he was visibly impressed by.  Reader, I married him. :lol:)

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I think you made the mistake that a lot of people do David James when you say that because someone reads about a certain idealogy they support it. It doesn't mean that at all, but it does at least mean they are open minded enough to find out more and understand anothers point of view. That is essential in my view if we are to understand more about this world that we live in.

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1 hour ago, Ooshie said:
1 hour ago, Ooshie said:

 

Personally, I wouldn't - I would assume that they were reading it for interest or from intellectual curiosity.  But that's probably just because it would be my own motivation for reading works like that.

 

I do think people make judgements about others based on what they see them reading.  I haven't ever been aware of choosing to read a particular book in public because I thought it would give people a more favourable impression of me, but there are books I have chosen not to read in public because I was slightly embarrassed about them (they were a more 'romance/chick lit' type of book than I usually read, passed on to me by my mother).  But now, I am slightly embarrassed about having been slightly embarrassed by them!  I wouldn't think negatively of anyone I saw reading them, so it wasn't logical for me to think others would think negatively about me.

 

I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.

 

(By the way, what you choose to read can have unexpected effects - many years ago, while working as a receptionist in a lawyers' office, a friend visiting one of the younger lawyers asked me if I ever read at my desk when things were quiet and, if so, what.  I told him I did, usually the The Economist magazine, which he was visibly impressed by.  Reader, I married him. :lol:)

 

That's fair enough. 

 

Yeah, I know what you mean, I used the example of the novel The Fifty Shades of Grey in a previous post as an example of a book that would certainly raise a few eyebrows but would probably be a lot more negative than positive. But if people were to see someone reading a classic novel e.g Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc, then I think they would be judged positively. 

 

Likewise, I think it's a great thing. 

 

Hahahahahaha! That's a great story. I think books are definitely a way to start a conversation and I'd say it establishes common ground too. 

 

I think some people view reading as a form of a person being somewhat anti-social as well because obviously it's a solitude hobby/interest and you can appear aloof or reserved to some people. I think it depends on how you present yourself. 

 

1 hour ago, Ooshie said:
1 hour ago, Talisman said:

I think you made the mistake that a lot of people do David James when you say that because someone reads about a certain idealogy they support it. It doesn't mean that at all, but it does at least mean they are open minded enough to find out more and understand anothers point of view. That is essential in my view if we are to understand more about this world that we live in.

 

 

I've mistaken nothing, I think that it's incredibly important to read both for and against your beliefs, both to possibly enhance your beliefs but also to challenge them (see my responses to Athena e.g "I think it's important to not simply accept your Status quo of beliefs but instead both enhance and challenge them"). 

 

But there is a difference between reading such material in your home compared to in public. I highly doubt someone who supports left-wing politics would be seen dead reading Mein Kampf because they wouldn't want to be judged as a Nazi, the exact same way someone who supports right-wing politics would not be seen dead reading The Communist Manifesto because they wouldn't want to be judged as a communist. 

 

People are free to read whatever they want wherever they want to but they should also be aware with the reality that passersby will judge you on the book you decide to read in public. Another example without using politics or religion is would you feel comfortable seeing someone reading Lolita in public? I'm sure parents familiar with the book wouldn't be too exactly pleased. Certain books are bound to have strong emotional responses to them. 

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10 minutes ago, David James said:

People are free to read whatever they want wherever they want to but they should also be aware with the reality that passersby will judge you on the book you decide to read in public.

 

Do I care what the passerby who I'm unlikely to see ever again thinks of me for reading a particular book?  Not in the slightest.  Most of the time, I don't even notice other people if I've got my head in a book.

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2 hours ago, David James said:

 

But there is a difference between reading such material in your home compared to in public. I highly doubt someone who supports left-wing politics would be seen dead reading Mein Kampf because they wouldn't want to be judged as a Nazi, the exact same way someone who supports right-wing politics would not be seen dead reading The Communist Manifesto because they wouldn't want to be judged as a communist. 

 

People are free to read whatever they want wherever they want to but they should also be aware with the reality that passersby will judge you on the book you decide to read in public. Another example without using politics or religion is would you feel comfortable seeing someone reading Lolita in public? I'm sure parents familiar with the book wouldn't be too exactly pleased. Certain books are bound to have strong emotional responses to them. 

 

Is what you are saying that you have those responses to seeing people reading books of those types, @David James?  If so, all well and good, but I have literally never known anyone else (either online or in real life) who has indicated to me that they do so.

 

I would never assume that someone reading a book which espouses a particular viewpoint shares that view.  Even if I did, each to their own - everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not going to feel negative about someone having an opinion which differs from mine.

 

And as to your example of Lolita, well, as both a parent and someone who was groomed and abused as a child, I have both read the book and seen the 1962 film several times.  Neither the film nor the book displeased me or made me uncomfortable.  If I were to see someone reading the book, all I would be likely to think would be to wonder whether they are enjoying it as much as I did, whether they are enjoying the style of the writing, Humbert as 'unreliable narrator' etc.

 

As I said in my post above, I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.

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2 hours ago, chesilbeach said:

 

Do I care what the passerby who I'm unlikely to see ever again thinks of me for reading a particular book?  Not in the slightest.  Most of the time, I don't even notice other people if I've got my head in a book.

 

I agree with you, I don't care what people think of me at all. All I'm pointing out is that there are certain books which might attract trouble if you attempt to read them in certain areas. And like you said, if you are right into a book then you're not going to be wise to your surroundings. Everyone occasionally looks up. If I hear something unusual then I'd also look up and around me. 

 

6 minutes ago, Ooshie said:

 

Is what you are saying that you have those responses to seeing people reading books of those types, @David James?  If so, all well and good, but I have literally never known anyone else (either online or in real life) who has indicated to me that they do so.

 

I would never assume that someone reading a book which espouses a particular viewpoint shares that view.  Even if I did, each to their own - everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not going to feel negative about someone having an opinion which differs from mine.

 

And as to your example of Lolita, well, as both a parent and someone who was groomed and abused as a child, I have both read the book and seen the 1962 film several times.  Neither the film nor the book displeased me or made me uncomfortable.  If I were to see someone reading the book, all I would be likely to think would be to wonder whether they are enjoying it as much as I did, whether they are enjoying the style of the writing, Humbert as 'unreliable narrator' etc.

 

As I said in my post above, I am always just delighted to see anyone reading, and interested in what they have chosen.

 

It all depends on the context and circumstances but generally speaking yes. I don't see why someone would read such literature in public and claim they were only 'studying'. I'd say if anything that reading such material would be making a bold statement more than anything else. It's the exact same as how everyone gets judged on their dress sense/fashion, many people purposely dress a certain way to make a bold statement and lap up the attention seeking judgements made by the public. Someone would have to be totally inept to think that different books would all be judged the same by the public.

 

I'm sorry to hear what you went through, I was just using it as an example of another book that is considered provocative by many people. Have you seen some of the front covers of this book on the different editions on Amazon? There is no doubt reading such material would make some people think of you in a negative light irrespective of anything else. 

 

It's the same as reading about serial killers, etc, anything that is considered outside of what society defines as "normal" would put you open for possible confrontation. 

 

I also enjoy seeing people reading books in public because it really is such a rare sight. 

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24 minutes ago, David James said:

 

It's the same as reading about serial killers, etc, anything that is considered outside of what society defines as "normal" would put you open for possible confrontation.

 

 

Goodness, you must live in a very judgemental area.  Probably good then that you have such a developed sensitivity to what might be considered 'normal', it will no doubt save you from a lot of difficulties.

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15 hours ago, David James said:

 

That's fair enough. 

 

Yeah, I know what you mean, I used the example of the novel The Fifty Shades of Grey in a previous post as an example of a book that would certainly raise a few eyebrows but would probably be a lot more negative than positive. But if people were to see someone reading a classic novel e.g Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc, then I think they would be judged positively. 

 

Likewise, I think it's a great thing. 

 

Hahahahahaha! That's a great story. I think books are definitely a way to start a conversation and I'd say it establishes common ground too. 

 

I think some people view reading as a form of a person being somewhat anti-social as well because obviously it's a solitude hobby/interest and you can appear aloof or reserved to some people. I think it depends on how you present yourself. 

 

 

 

I've mistaken nothing, I think that it's incredibly important to read both for and against your beliefs, both to possibly enhance your beliefs but also to challenge them (see my responses to Athena e.g "I think it's important to not simply accept your Status quo of beliefs but instead both enhance and challenge them"). 

 

But there is a difference between reading such material in your home compared to in public. I highly doubt someone who supports left-wing politics would be seen dead reading Mein Kampf because they wouldn't want to be judged as a Nazi, the exact same way someone who supports right-wing politics would not be seen dead reading The Communist Manifesto because they wouldn't want to be judged as a communist. 

 

People are free to read whatever they want wherever they want to but they should also be aware with the reality that passersby will judge you on the book you decide to read in public. Another example without using politics or religion is would you feel comfortable seeing someone reading Lolita in public? I'm sure parents familiar with the book wouldn't be too exactly pleased. Certain books are bound to have strong emotional responses to them. 

 I guess I must be different to the norm then in that I genuinely do not really care what people might think of my reading choices. I would have no problem being seen reading any of the books you describe in your post, and like to feel that I would not judge anyone else for doing so. If anything, I would use it as an excuse to start a conversation with that person - I gave met some really interesting people on trains and so on this way and ended up talking philosophy with them for hours.

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I will admit that I do not have the self-confidence to not care what people think about what I am reading. In the same way that I dress well when I leave my house, I make a decision whether to bring a paper copy or kindle version of my book. 

 

As another example, would you judge someone reading the Daily Mail? I think all of us are judgmental to some extent, and do care what other people think of us, even if it's not the book we read in public. I think it is reasonable to assume that some people will form opinions on what you are reading (if they have heard of the book). It is only natural to jump to a conclusion based on our own experiences - I used the example of someone reading The God Delusion earlier. 

Edited by Angury

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15 hours ago, Ooshie said:

 

Goodness, you must live in a very judgemental area.  Probably good then that you have such a developed sensitivity to what might be considered 'normal', it will no doubt save you from a lot of difficulties.

 

Everyone judges though. Some people do it more openly than others. Some do it on a conscious level as opposed to the subconscious mindset etc. I don't it's necessarily always a bad thing, making assumptions (even if they later turned out to be false) could possibly save you from certain situations and so on. 

 

How many people have you ever seen books about serial killers? Let's be serious. The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people.

 

3 hours ago, Talisman said:

 I guess I must be different to the norm then in that I genuinely do not really care what people might think of my reading choices. I would have no problem being seen reading any of the books you describe in your post, and like to feel that I would not judge anyone else for doing so. If anything, I would use it as an excuse to start a conversation with that person - I gave met some really interesting people on trains and so on this way and ended up talking philosophy with them for hours.

 

Lolita-Penguin-Classics-Nabokov-Vladimir

 

Can you honestly say that if you were to see someone reading Lolita with this front cover edition it would not make you feel somewhat slightly uncomfortable? If anything, people would ignore the book title and focus on the photo instead. I stand by my point, there are certain books out there that will inevitably make the public scorn you. I've said that I agree with you that people should be able to read whatever book they want to in private or public but to ignore the reality that a large section of the public will make judgements based simply on the title and front cover is ridiculous.

 

1 hour ago, Angury said:

I will admit that I do not have the self-confidence to not care what people think about what I am reading. In the same way that I dress well when I leave my house, I make a decision whether to bring a paper copy or kindle version of my book. 

 

As another example, would you judge someone reading the Daily Mail? I think all of us are judgmental to some extent, and do care what other people think of us, even if it's not the book we read in public. I think it is reasonable to assume that some people will form opinions on what you are reading (if they have heard of the book). It is only natural to jump to a conclusion based on our own experiences - I used the example of someone reading The God Delusion earlier. 

 

We think very much alike. There are certain books on my bookshelves that I wouldn't read in public. It's good to see you take pride in your dress sense as well, the same can't be said for a lot of people. People who like to throw about that they don't care what others think of them are not fooling anyone or themselves, everyone cares but just simply put some do more than others. First impressions and physical appearance do matter in the real world. 

 

Everyone is bias. Even when we decide to read biographies about someone or a historian's works about a period of time, the author will always have a certain degree of bias, but again just some do more than others. Which is why I fundamentally agree that people should read enough from both points of view before making any impulsive or illogical opinions and beliefs. 

 

Are you happy to know that I read my copy of The God Delusion in my house? :lol:

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3 minutes ago, David James said:

 

Everyone judges though. Some people do it more openly than others. Some do it on a conscious level as opposed to the subconscious mindset etc. I don't it's necessarily always a bad thing, making assumptions (even if they later turned out to be false) could possibly save you from certain situations and so on. 

 

How many people have you ever seen books about serial killers? Let's be serious. The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people.

 

I don't think it's fair to assume we all make the same assumptions about people. I read books about serial killers, and if I saw someone read a book on the topic in public, I would think to myself, "There's a person who likes a bit of true crime, like me. I wonder if s/he's read x book that I liked better than the one s/he's reading". 

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Just now, frankie said:

 

I don't think it's fair to assume we all make the same assumptions about people. I read books about serial killers, and if I saw someone read a book on the topic in public, I would think to myself, "There's a person who likes a bit of true crime, like me. I wonder if s/he's read x book that I liked better than the one s/he's reading". 

 

It comes down to conscious vs subconscious judgement. Everyone does either of them and it's up to the person to decide which way they want to judge someone, hence why some people are vocal and some people are discreet. 

 

I've also read a lot about serial killers, true crime, etc, but I can't recall ever seeing someone reading a book about such things in public and I personally wouldn't as well. Such books could put you into a danger situation. I'm not talking any hyperbole here as well, the best 'experiment' of reading this material in public is for you to read a book about Ian Brady, Myra Hindley and The Moors Murders in public given all the public news it's all had again because Ian Brady died a little while ago and tell me how you get on. 

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4 minutes ago, David James said:

 

It comes down to conscious vs subconscious judgement. Everyone does either of them and it's up to the person to decide which way they want to judge someone, hence why some people are vocal and some people are discreet. 

 

Okay so basically no matter what we say to the contrary, you will not believe it and will disagree. Okay, fair enough. 

 

Quote

 

I've also read a lot about serial killers, true crime, etc, but I can't recall ever seeing someone reading a book about such things in public and I personally wouldn't as well. Such books could put you into a danger situation. I'm not talking any hyperbole here as well, the best 'experiment' of reading this material in public is for you to read a book about Ian Brady, Myra Hindley and The Moors Murders in public given all the public news it's all had again because Ian Brady died a little while ago and tell me how you get on. 

 

And what makes you think I've not read true crime book in public, without having any problems? I have, and I will. 

 

Edit: I'm not sure how Ian Brady's death relates to this particular issue?

Edited by frankie

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2 hours ago, frankie said:

 

Okay so basically no matter what we say to the contrary, you will not believe it and will disagree. Okay, fair enough. 

 

Do you believe that there are people out there who do not make any sort of judgement about another person?

 

I'm sorry, but the fact that we are human and live in a society with other human beings means that judgements will always be made about us and we will make judgements about others. We are not perfect, and nor should we be. We make judgements on other people based on their clothing, their skin colour (yes, this is difficult to swallow, but even subconsciously many of us do - and I will be the first to raise my hand and admit it), their job, their car, their house and so on. The types of books we read in public simply add another layer to this exterior we show to the world.

Why else would we choose to buy a Porsche instead of a Toyota, or wear a dress from Dolce & Gabbana instead of Topshop? As human beings we make judgements on others based on our own experiences and what we have learnt from others. We view the world through categories - it's how our brain is able to condense all the information around us into understandable chunks. We put people into boxes and make assumptions about them, whether we want to or not. No matter how open-minded you think you may be, whatever background you come from, whatever social class, however educated or however diverse your life experience, you will do this. This is not just my own opinion - it has been well documented in countless psychologica research studies. A judgement about another person does not have to be vocal. Most of the judgements we make about other people are subconscious - we may behave differently towards other people, change the tone of our voice, our body language or our facial expressions. Most of the time we aren't even aware of it.

The people I would be most cynical about would be those who claim to be so open-minded that they make no judgements about anyone based on anything. Is there such a thing as being so open-minded that your own brain falls out? ;)

 

Applying this to literature, there will always be certain books that will be at the top of the 'hierarchy' (e.g. Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust) and those that are at the bottom (Fifty Shades of Grey). And the types of books we choose to read in public will lead to some sort of judgement from others depending on the position they take upon this hierarchy. True, not everyone will make the same judgement on the same book. It does, as I have said, depend upon our own personal experiences, including whether we have read the book ourselves or simply heard of it on the news or on the reading list for Oxford University. But we are all judgemental to some degree, and certain books will illicit a stronger reaction than others for most people.

 

Just as an example, a few years back I was reading this book:

 

41MMTrWyMeL.jpg

 

I am sure this book would have turned heads in any public setting. And the opinions of others about me based on this book would be even more different if I had been say, a man in his late fifties rather than a young female.

 

It's not right, and it certainly isn't fair, but it does happen. What is important (imo) is to be aware that we are all susceptible to such thought processes and to acknowledge when they occur. Covering our ears and pretending to be societies' version of politically correct will be helpful to no one. It is important to have this discussion because it teaches us so much about ourselves, including where these prejudices came from and how they impact the way we interact with others. Even on this forum I am sure people have made assumptions about me based on my avatar and signature, the way I structure my sentences, my vocabulary and my ideals.

 

2 hours ago, frankie said:

Edit: I'm not sure how Ian Brady's death relates to this particular issue?

 

Because Brady has been all over the news recently due to his recent death, and he can stimulate some intense emotions amongst the general public due to the words that have been used to describe him by the media ('monster', 'evil').

Edited by Angury

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6 minutes ago, Angury said:

 

Do you believe that there are people out there who do not make any sort of judgement about another person?

 

I wasn't talking about judgements per se, I was talking about how I took David James's words to mean that s/he thinks we make the same assumptions about people. That's what I was talking about. You make fair points, and I do make judgements about people based on this and that, but what I do not like is that I'm supposed to make the same assumptions about people as some other people are. I only made my comment regarding literature, and nothing else, and I'd prefer it if you didn't make overgeneralizations based on that. :)

 

6 minutes ago, Angury said:

 

Because Brady has been all over the news recently due to his recent death, and he can stimulate some intense emotions amongst the general public due to the words that have been used to describe him by the media ('monster', 'evil').

 

The reason why I asked is because one who didn't know who Ian Brady was could've gathered from David James's post that Ian Brady is an example of someone who is reading a serial killer book in public and getting into trouble because of it. 

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35 minutes ago, frankie said:

 

I wasn't talking about judgements per se, I was talking about how I took David James's words to mean that s/he thinks we make the same assumptions about people. That's what I was talking about. 

 

From what I have read in David James post, he didn't say anything about people making the 'same assumption' about people, simply that everyone makes a judgement. Perhaps we interpreted it differently, but using an example of serial killers is similar to mine of Paedophilias - i.e. that they tend to illicit strong emotions in people:

 

3 hours ago, David James said:

 

It comes down to conscious vs subconscious judgement. Everyone does either of them and it's up to the person to decide which way they want to judge someone, hence why some people are vocal and some people are discreet. 

 

 

To use another example, I was travelling to an exam in London a few weeks ago and was reading a heavy tome about medicine. I am sure many people who saw me reading it who had no experience of healthcare would just make an assumption that I worked in that area, while someone who was perhaps familiar with that text (say, another healthcare professional) may have made a different judgement about me. The point is, a judgement is still being made.

 

 

35 minutes ago, frankie said:

The reason why I asked is because one who didn't know who Ian Brady was could've gathered from David James's post that Ian Brady is an example of someone who is reading a serial killer book in public and getting into trouble because of it. 

 

Again, in David James's post he specifically says:

 

3 hours ago, David James said:

given all the public news it's all had again because Ian Brady died a little while ago

 

Hence, surely Brady is specifically a good example in this context as it is recent and therefore in the public's mind compared to say The Yorkshire Killer.

 

35 minutes ago, frankie said:

I only made my comment regarding literature, and nothing else, and I'd prefer it if you didn't make overgeneralizations based on that. :)

 

I think it's important to appreciate that this type of thought process goes beyond literature - it wasn't a comment specifically at you, apologies if it came across that way!

Edited by Angury

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11 minutes ago, Angury said:

 

From what I have read in David James post, he didn't say anything about people making the 'same assumption' about people, but that everyone makes a judgement:

 

Fair enough, s/he used the judgement angle, I said 'assumption'. It doesn't change the point I was making. 

 

Quote

Again, in David James's post he specifically says:

 

 

Hence, surely Brady is specifically a good example in this context as it is recent and therefore in the public's mind compared to say The Yorkshire Killer.

 

I didn't contest Brady being a good example, nor did I say he was a bad example! I only asked what the example was for. Ian Brady is not a household name over here so pardon my ignorance. I'm not UK based so I don't know all UK based serial killers. And like I said, I read from David Jame's post that Brady was reading a serial killer book in public. That's because 'read' as in present tense is spelled the same as 'read' in past tense. 

Edited by frankie

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4 hours ago, frankie said:

 

Okay so basically no matter what we say to the contrary, you will not believe it and will disagree. Okay, fair enough. 

 

No. I think you've misinterpreted what I have said. Other users don't seem to have had any problem comprehending what I said and meant. 

 

And what makes you think I've not read true crime book in public, without having any problems? I have, and I will. 



 

Edit: I'm not sure how Ian Brady's death relates to this particular issue?

 

I never said that someone shouldn't or can't read about serial killers in public but that they should be conscious that doing such a thing could give unwanted attention from the public. 

 

Google Ian Brady, I'm sure you'll know why I mentioned him in my post.

 

2 hours ago, Angury said:

 

Do you believe that there are people out there who do not make any sort of judgement about another person?

 

I'm sorry, but the fact that we are human and live in a society with other human beings means that judgements will always be made about us and we will make judgements about others. We are not perfect, and nor should we be. We make judgements on other people based on their clothing, their skin colour (yes, this is difficult to swallow, but even subconsciously many of us do - and I will be the first to raise my hand and admit it), their job, their car, their house and so on. The types of books we read in public simply add another layer to this exterior we show to the world.

Why else would we choose to buy a Porsche instead of a Toyota, or wear a dress from Dolce & Gabbana instead of Topshop? As human beings we make judgements on others based on our own experiences and what we have learnt from others. We view the world through categories - it's how our brain is able to condense all the information around us into understandable chunks. We put people into boxes and make assumptions about them, whether we want to or not. No matter how open-minded you think you may be, whatever background you come from, whatever social class, however educated or however diverse your life experience, you will do this. This is not just my own opinion - it has been well documented in countless psychologica research studies. A judgement about another person does not have to be vocal. Most of the judgements we make about other people are subconscious - we may behave differently towards other people, change the tone of our voice, our body language or our facial expressions. Most of the time we aren't even aware of it.

The people I would be most cynical about would be those who claim to be so open-minded that they make no judgements about anyone based on anything. Is there such a thing as being so open-minded that your own brain falls out? ;)

 

Exactly! Humans judge on everything, including everything you've mentioned and way beyond. To somehow think like frankie that books and the reader are exempt from any judgement is ridiculous. 

 

If you haven't already Angury, I recommend you to read Gustave Le Bon's works, especially his most known work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.

 

I also think when it comes to someone choosing to read a book in public will also make people judge their personality too with phrases such as "intelligent", "nerd", "geek", "loner", "anti-social", "weird", etc, you get my drift. 

 



I am sure this book would have turned heads in any public setting. And the opinions of others about me based on this book would be even more different if I had been say, a man in his late fifties rather than a young female.

 

Absolutely. I'm sure many parents would actually report a man reading Lolita near a school or a children environment. 

 

It's not 

right, and it certainly isn't fair, but it does happen. What is important (imo) is to be aware that we are all susceptible to such thought processes and to acknowledge when they occur. Covering our ears and pretending to be societies' version of politically correct will be helpful to no one. It is important to have this discussion because it teaches us so much about ourselves, including where these prejudices came from and how they impact the way we interact with others. Even on this forum I am sure people have made assumptions about me based on my avatar and signature, the way I structure my sentences, my vocabulary and my ideals.

 

Speaking of judgement, who is to decide what is "right"? I don't understand why too many people bury their heads in the sand and somehow deny the existence of such an obvious thing of the mind. Prejudices are always going to be there. If anything, anyone who has done even a little bit of research of the left-wing mob who call themselves "antifa" will know that they are some of the most intolerant people of society and yet they speak about wanting a progressive society free from any prejudice and only tolerance etc but if you have a different point of view from them you are suddenly a "Nazi" or a "racist", oh, the irony. 

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2 hours ago, frankie said:

 

I wasn't talking about judgements per se, I was talking about how I took David James's words to mean that s/he thinks we make the same assumptions about people. That's what I was talking about. You make fair points, and I do make judgements about people based on this and that, but what I do not like is that I'm supposed to make the same assumptions about people as some other people are. I only made my comment regarding literature, and nothing else, and I'd prefer it if you didn't make overgeneralizations based on that. :)

 

 

The reason why I asked is because one who didn't know who Ian Brady was could've gathered from David James's post that Ian Brady is an example of someone who is reading a serial killer book in public and getting into trouble because of it. 

 

Please don't put words into my mouth. I never said we all make the same assumptions about people. Please quote me where I said that. 

 

You could have easily have googled "Ian Brady" and have understood the point I was making. 

 

2 hours ago, Angury said:

To use another example, I was travelling to an exam in London a few weeks ago and was reading a heavy tome about medicine. I am sure many people who saw me reading it who had no experience of healthcare would just make an assumption that I worked in that area, while someone who was perhaps familiar with that text (say, another healthcare professional) may have made a different judgement about me. The point is, a judgement is still being made.

 

A good example. That's why I also said that people would certainly judge someone reading a philosophical book as opposed to a romance novel. Anything that looks like it requires some sort of in depth thought, such as the one you mentioned, will make people categorise you into a certain box. You should feel chuffed that most people would have thought of you as an intellectual. :D

 

On a side note, did your exam go well? :)

 

I think it's important to appreciate that this type of thought process goes beyond literature - it wasn't a comment specifically at you, apologies if it came across that way!

 

Indeed. I also mentioned this about someone's physical appearance and political orientated books. I highly doubt someone wearing a Che Guevara and reading a Marxist book if asked about their political beliefs would say they were actually a conservative and only reading such a book for 'study'. :lol:

 

Judgements are made from every single angle. You always hear people naively say you should never judge someone based on their looks etc but it's simply human nature and those who spout such nonsense are probably guilty of presenting them in such a way that they know fine well they are going to be judged but instead wants everyone to just treat them as a "normal" human being. 

 

Here is a brilliant example of what I mean:

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/body-art-tattoo-man-dyed-eyes-ink-equal-treatment-people-modifications-king-of-ink-land-king-body-a7582936.html

 

He's nothing more than an attention seeking *insert here*, no-one will ever take him serious and he will never get a decent job because of his ridiculous so-called 'body modifications' (more like mutilation really). He's from a different planet and quite clearly is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. The idiot has even gone as far as changing his name to 'King of Ink Land King Body Art', I bet that sounds nice being called out in the job centre and no-one will know who the name is referring to, right? ;)

 

2 hours ago, frankie said:

 

Fair enough, s/he used the judgement angle, I said 'assumption'. It doesn't change the point I was making. 

 

You misunderstood what I meant. I couldn't have been more clearer, Angury certainly knew what I meant straight away.

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9 minutes ago, David James said:

I never said that someone shouldn't or can't read about serial killers in public but that they should be conscious that doing such a thing could give unwanted attention from the public. 

 

No, you didn't say that people shouldn't or can't read books about serial killers in public, but you told me to go out and see what happens when I read a true crime book possibly implying that I will then find out people will judge me because of that. I have read true crime books in public in the past and nothing's happened to me. Sure, that doesn't mean people haven't judged me, because if they do, they are hardly going to say it to my face.  My point is, you seem to make the point that people are judged if they read a true crime book in the open, and my point is that personally I don't judge someone for reading about Ian Brady, using your example. 

 

This is where our opinions differ and that's fine. 

 

9 minutes ago, David James said:

 

Google Ian Brady, I'm sure you'll know why I mentioned him in my post.

 

I now know who he is. I would've known Myra Hindley by name, but for some reason I didn't remember who her partner was. The reason I asked about him is that I misread a part of your post: "The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people."

 

I misread the word 'read' and thought you meant past tense, and therefore I thought Ian Brady was reading a true crime book in public and got into trouble. I got it all mixed up like that because we were talking about people reading true crime in public.  My question was simply out of curiosity. 

 

9 minutes ago, David James said:

 

 

Exactly! Humans judge on everything, including everything you've mentioned and way beyond. To somehow think like frankie that books and the reader are exempt from any judgement is ridiculous. 

 

I never said books and readers are exempt from any judgement by everyone in the world. This thread however is about books and readers and therefore I'm sticking to the topic of books and readers, and my personal opinion was that I don't judge people based on what they read. I'm talking of my own personal opinion. 

 

All in all, we just have to agree to disagree. 

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7 hours ago, David James said:

 

Everyone judges though. Some people do it more openly than others. Some do it on a conscious level as opposed to the subconscious mindset etc. I don't it's necessarily always a bad thing, making assumptions (even if they later turned out to be false) could possibly save you from certain situations and so on. 

 

How many people have you ever seen books about serial killers? Let's be serious. The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people.

 

 

 

I have never lived in an area where anyone would dream of openly reacting to the reading matter of another with even a very British 'tut'!  And if they are not openly reacting, what does it matter if they are thinking negatively or positively about the work in question?

 

Really - I would happily read a book about the Moors Murderers in public.  I wouldn't think twice about it, and wouldn't give a second thought to seeing anyone else read a similar book. 

 

Thank you for the discussion though - it is amusing me greatly!

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3 hours ago, frankie said:

 

No, you didn't say that people shouldn't or can't read books about serial killers in public, but you told me to go out and see what happens when I read a true crime book possibly implying that I will then find out people will judge me because of that. I have read true crime books in public in the past and nothing's happened to me. Sure, that doesn't mean people haven't judged me, because if they do, they are hardly going to say it to my face.  My point is, you seem to make the point that people are judged if they read a true crime book in the open, and my point is that personally I don't judge someone for reading about Ian Brady, using your example. 

 

This is where our opinions differ and that's fine. 

 

 

I now know who he is. I would've known Myra Hindley by name, but for some reason I didn't remember who her partner was. The reason I asked about him is that I misread a part of your post: "The infamous serial killer Ian Brady died recently, read a book about The Moors Murders in public and see the responses you will get from people."

 

I misread the word 'read' and thought you meant past tense, and therefore I thought Ian Brady was reading a true crime book in public and got into trouble. I got it all mixed up like that because we were talking about people reading true crime in public.  My question was simply out of curiosity.  

 

I decided to use serial killers because it's the type of literature that some people have strong emotions about it. It doesn't matter what type of book you will be judged regardless but reading about serial killers would more than likely make a passerby think of you in a negative judgement compared to reading something that is generally regarded as a good novel, etc. Can you honestly not see the point I'm trying to make? 

 

I never said books and readers are exempt from any judgement by everyone in the world. This thread however is about books and readers and therefore I'm sticking to the topic of books and readers, and my personal opinion was that I don't judge people based on what they read. I'm talking of my own personal opinion. 



 

All in all, we just have to agree to disagree.

 

You've just contradicted yourself because you said "I don't judge people based on what they read" but in a previous post you said that if you were to see someone reading about serial killers you would think "There's a person who likes a bit of true crime, like me. I wonder if s/he's read x book that I liked better than the one s/he's reading". - that's a judgement. You've just proved my point. 

 

34 minutes ago, Ooshie said:

 

 

I have never lived in an area where anyone would dream of openly reacting to the reading matter of another with even a very British 'tut'!  And if they are not openly reacting, what does it matter if they are thinking negatively or positively about the work in question?

 

Really - I would happily read a book about the Moors Murderers in public.  I wouldn't think twice about it, and wouldn't give a second thought to seeing anyone else read a similar book. 

 

Thank you for the discussion though - it is amusing me greatly!

 

I guess it comes down to where you decide to read in public. It doesn't matter really but there are some books out there or even specific genres that will make people think of you 'negatively'. I posted an image in an earlier post of a front cover of Lolita, would it bother you to see someone reading that near a school or where lots of children were about? That's the point I'm trying to make. Your age, gender, dress sense, etc, would also play a part in someone's judgement of you. 

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37 minutes ago, David James said:

I guess it comes down to where you decide to read in public. It doesn't matter really but there are some books out there or even specific genres that will make people think of you 'negatively'. I posted an image in an earlier post of a front cover of Lolita, would it bother you to see someone reading that near a school or where lots of children were about? That's the point I'm trying to make. Your age, gender, dress sense, etc, would also play a part in someone's judgement of you. 

 

I have already stated that the reading of Lolita doesn't bother me, and the front cover you have posted doesn't alter my feelings on that.  It wouldn't bother me at all seeing someone reading it near a school or where lots of children are about.

 

I do think I have entirely understood the points you have been trying to make in all your previous posts.  It is purely that I don't have the reactions you mention, and have never encountered anyone in any part of the country I have lived in having an openly negative reaction to anything being read by someone else either.  It seems that no-one who has posted on this thread has encountered such a reaction. 

 

I'm just somewhat puzzled by why you keep pushing your hypothesis.  Everyone who has posted seems to understand it perfectly well; it's just that no-one has had any experiences which support it.

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