Facebook is pretty annoying, but when you take out the equation the big, worse-than-annoying stuff you see (racism, homophobia, etc.) by unfriending people, one of the most annoying things I’ve ever seen was someone who wrote in their favourite books section: “I don’t read fiction, I prefer to spend my time on things which actually have some relevance in the world.”
I had to count to ten. And breathe deeply. And swore anyway.
It really annoys me when people just dismiss books as being trivial. They aren’t. This is why books are still banned and still get burned. People are scared of the ideas they contain because they have meaning and power. But you’ve no doubt heard this all before so I will leave you with an appropriate put down from Jane Austen, which you must deliver in your best impersonation of Downton Abbey’s Lady Grantham the next time you see someone utter something so dismissive.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Or to give the quote in full:
Anyhow, he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urban distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.
The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald
Call me morally bankrupt, but I could quite fancy going to a Great Gatsby party, just once… thought I did read a brilliant article on The Atlantic about “the sublime cluelessness of throwing lavish Gatsby parties” which said “it’s a bit like throwing a Lolita-themed children’s birthday party.”
So, I won’t be throwing my own. But if you happen to be planning one, be sure to invite me.