Jun 30, 2009

Guest Post: Don't Judge Me By My Cover, by Shesten

Shesten at IHeartMonster kindly agreed to write a guest post for me, my first guest post!
Thanks Shesten!

I love to travel. I love to take good books with me when I do, but doing so has been quite the social ordeal in my past. So, I thought I'd share with you a little about my bookish traveling past to make a point. What point? You'll see :o)

The first experience I had with traveling with a book on a plane was when I was 14, the summer before I was a sophomore in high school. It was also my first time on an airplane, and I had just finished my Freshman year in high school. I was on my way to Portland, Oregon to play basketball with a club team. All of my teammates on the plane had all kinds of music and headphones, and one simple CD in their players, Hanson. Remember them and the horrid MMmmmmbob thing they sang? Yeah, being more into hip hop at the time, I did not connect with these snobbish girls on the musical front. In reality, I didn't connect with them via my socio-economic class, where I lived, or their utter need to cling to everything girly. I was a tomboy who grew up in the barrio whose parents thought it was a good idea for her to learn to live within her means and love her neighbors no matter what kind of car they drove. I didn't really LOVE reading yet, and I don't even remember the name of the novel that I had taken with me on the airplane, but I do remember that they made fun of me for it in the locker room before our first game and that I never put another book in my gymbag. I think I took three trips that summer with some of those same girls. I wised up immediately and grabbed teen girl magazines to take on the flights with me instead of books. I vaguely remember my coach, who was a junior in college, tell me not to listen to the others because I was both smarter and more talented than they were, but it still didn't make me feel good inside. And the teen girl magazines were kind of addicting, I'll admit that much. I especially enjoyed the quizzes.

Fast forward to the next summer. I'm chosen out of all of these girls to go on a trip to Texas Tech and play with the local community college team on their summer tournament schedule. This time we drove from Arizona to Lubbock. I had since procured a portable CD player and headphones. That morning, as we were waiting to be picked up in the parking lot of the local mall, I had gone into Warehouse Music (the predecessor to fye stores) and purchased the new Sublime album. Yeah, maybe I'm dating myself with the whole CD player and Sublime thing, but hey... it's true. The big deal about Sublime was that I loved the music, but my parents didn't want me to have it. So, by taking this trip with the college girls, I thought I'd be sneaky to my 'rents and cool with the girls all in one swoop. Once the van arrived to pick us up, I quickly learned I was wrong. Not only did none of them like the album I had purchased, most of them had books with them to read. Wait, what? Didn't I just get made fun of for that last summer? Ugh. I felt like I was never going to figure out what forms of entertainment were acceptable for bball trips, and I had to listen to that Sublime album for about 12 hours straight as 14 very tall girls were all piled and crammed into a 15 passenger van. Not a fond memory. (but I still heart Sublime, go figure)

Fast forward again, now about 8 years after the college trip and books. My first business trip. I had worked my way up the ladder after starting out as the receptionist, and now started taking business trips with my boss. I knew from doing her expense reports for many years before I moved up the ladder that she bought at least one magazine at each airport that she went through. So, I thought I'd take the chance and I'd take my Real Simple with me in my pack, but I'd also take Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot, a stand alone YA historical chicklit book (which is great btw). We've procured some seats on Southwest so that the middle is free and we don't have to have anyone in between us. I pull out my book to test the waters and get a polite, "What is that you're reading?" from my boss. I say, "Oh, Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot." She replies, "Meg Cabot. Isn't that the woman behind those dreadful Princess Diaries novels?" To which I stammer, "Yeah, I think so, but I haven't read those," and she harumphs and buries her nose in an architectural magazine. I feel ashamed to be reading YA, but keep reading nonetheless.

After I start flying at least once a quarter, I start to get the hang of grabbing a quick book to take with me on the flight, one that I can finish on the plane or at least on the plane and the flight back if it's a short flight. I very seldom schedule the same flight as my boss again, trying to find a reason to not get on the same flight so that I can have some quiet time to read my book. Hey, if I have to fly on company time, and I can't bust out my laptop and work, then I'm going to do something that's pleasurable, not talk about all of the office gossip and our strategic plan for the next year.

About a year later, I finally realized that audiobooks were the way to go when you're on a plane. You can look zombie-ish and most people will just leave you alone. Until the one flight I had into LAX. I was meeting a colleague at LAX and we were going to share a cab to the office in West Hollywood. My flight was supposed to arrive about 20 minutes before hers, which would probably have worked out perfectly, but it didn't because her flight was two hours late. As I sat at LAX waiting for her to show, I was listening to Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer on my Creative Zen Micro, when some random lady sat down next to me. She motioned for me to take out my headphones, which I respectfully did. She said, "What are you listening to?" I said, "An audiobook called Eclipse." I started to put my headphones back in and she said, "Who writes it?" I reply, "Stephenie Meyer." She says, "Is it good?" I say, "I don't know, I'm not finished with it." At which time, I full on stop the player because it's clear that she wants to talk rather than let me be. At which time, I conclude that audiobooks are not the way to go in airports.

Fast forward one more time, to me now traveling for pleasure a couple of weeks ago. I get on a plane next to a lady who pulls out a Kindle. I think Hmmmm coool. I'll ask her about it. I do and she says she loves it. Then we're cleared for takeoff and we have to turn off all electronic devices, but I don't have to turn off my book. We have some turbulence in the flight at which time we're asked to turn off our electronics again, but I don't have to turn off my book. After being a little precocious and pointing out that I never have to turn off my book, the lady sneers at me. When we're about to land, the lady in front of us turns to ask us what we're reading (a question I seem to hear a lot when I travel!). I'm reading Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine. I go on and on about how great it is and how everyone should read the Morganville Vampires series. The lady next to me with the Kindle just smirks and says something to the effect of "If you want to read childrens books, then fine." The lady in front of us and I exchange a glance and both roll our eyes. Finally, I have the guts to speak up for myself and defend my choice of literature on a plane. I say, "Judge all you want, but you're the one missing out." Then as we're getting our bags and getting off of the plane, the lady turns to me and says, "By the way, I do not approve of your blue hair." I reply (and rather quickly to my satisfaction) "I don't really care what you think," give her a snide smile and look the other way. But I'm really thinking, "So what if I'm 27 and like YA? Wanna fight? Huh? Bring it on!"

Now, why did I share all of these little anecdotes with you? Like I said before, to make a point. My point is not for you to be who you are no matter what others think ('cause I was good at that even back in HS, despite what you might read through in these anecdotes). No, my point is that what you read and what entertains you is not going to be the same as what entertains me. Obviously since you're reading Ella's blog, we have similar tastes, but we're not going to see eye to eye on every volume. But, I promise to respect your opinions if you'll respect mine and I promise not to judge a girl by her cover. The cover someone holds in their hands has nothing to do with who they are as a person. Don't forget that! Can you join Ella and I in making a promise not to judge a person by the cover that he or she holds in their hands? I know it will be hard, but I also know we can do it! Si se puede!


I take books with me wherever I go; I've learned not to pay too much attention to the "oh-you're-reading-a-'children's-book'-huh" kind of people. I don't only read YA, but that's the genre I'm most attracted to -I think I'm entitled to be, seeing that I'm 17-, and it really annoys me to find people that think they can tell every book you've read just by looking at what you're reading now. And many of those same people don't even read as much as we do. That's interesting.

I heart Ray Bradbury and Isabel Allende, just as much as I heart Stephenie Meyer.
So, like Shesten says,
don't judge someone by their cover! Who knows, you might end up loving the book that someone's holding.


ps: I was little, and I don't know how, but I remember MmmBop! And I liked it!
You can laugh at me now... :oP

(seriously? LMAO)

3 monkey thought (s):

Unknown said...

I love that you added the Mmmmbop video to the post! Thanks for having me Ella!! I'll be linking you tomorrow :o)

The Book Resort said...

What an interesting guest post. Thank you, Ella & Shesten!

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