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Non-readers (*Gasp!*)

Written by Kirsten on May 29th, 2009

I think readers tend to gravitate towards one another: even at work, in a vast sea of humanity (most of the members of which I interact with either briefly or not at all), I’ve found a fellow book lover and we’ve become fast friends.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that way. Sometimes, you’re part of a group – be it at work, your neighbors’ barbecue, your family reunion – and you are the only one with a book under your arm, on your desk, shoved in a back pocket or, if the crowd is particularly boring or annoying, in front of your face.

Do you have unavoidable non-readers in your life? Do you steer clear of topics related to books, or try to tempt them with your latest find? Do they tease you about your reading habits? Do you counter with attacks on the time they spend watching television or playing video games?


7 Comments so far ↓

  1. Hmmmm….you know, now that you mention it, I don’t! My entire family is on LT, including a couple of extended family members, even my 20-month-old nephew loves to read. There are 7 people in my office and I’ve had book-based conversations with all of them as well as several volunteers. While not all of these people are as extreme in their reading as I am, all do firmly believe in recreational reading and can easily comprehend my obsession. I’d have to say the last time I was regularly surrounded by non-readers was last year working at the luxury car dealership. I was generally the only one in the break room with anything more in depth than a Sears catalog to read. Those who discovered that I used the immense amounts of downtime I had to read classics on gutenberg thought I was even more strange. Just one of the many reasons I was happy to escape that conservative, money-grubbing, earth polluting enclave for my current position at a conservationist, money-giving, community supporting non-profit!

  2. Kirsten says:

    Haha, that last sentence is classic :)

    I don’t really have much of a social connection with many of the folks in my office or department, mostly because of lifestyle differences – being queer, politically-minded (in an activism sort of way, not a government politics sort of way), and an academic (yeah, I admit it) separates me from most of them by quite a distance. All of my close friends are readers, that I can think of – that’s deliberate in that I prefer to surround myself with well-rounded people (though that term grates on my nerves! lol) and well-read people tend to have more interesting and in-depth contributions to conversations, I think.
    I’m lucky in that most of my family members are also readers; in thinking about it more specifically, I’m surprised my sister and I have never really talked about books. I’ll have to see if she’s got the bug, or if she needs infecting ;)
    My mom is an avid reader (mom, you around??) and she let me read her Agatha Christie and Dick Francis novels growing up, which I think was a big boost to my love of reading. If I’d been limited to what was generally available to my age-affiliated reading level, I might have gone insane. Funny – she’d let me read books full of murder and sex and villainy, but music was strictly monitored: none of that secular mainstream crap, it’ll pollute your mind! :-P

  3. My other half is not a reader, he says what I read in a week or two is what he reads in years. However he has become very understanding of the shelves piled with books, books coming through the post regularly and the excitement of a trip to a bookshop. He has also resigned himself to losing me when I deeply drawn into a book. Sometimes he does make an effort to read something I recommend but the pile of unfinished books is growing on his night table lol! My mum is another one who has never been able to understand my passion for reading and used to get cross at me for reading so much :( I have friends who like books but we have kind of drifted away from each other as our lives have taken different turns. Now I rely on ‘online” friends to give me my book fix!

  4. Ms_Bella says:

    My other half isn’t a reader either lol. He is very understanding about it though and is always taking time to make sure I can get the books I want and building or finding or buying me new bookshelves. My aunt also reads like I do and understands. But the people I work with probably haven’t picked up a book since high school. But a few of them will talk book talk with me or ask about the book I am reading. But I know that they would never pick it up!

  5. Kirsten says:

    thelibrarynook – can I call you “nook?” LoL – I’m so glad you’ve found some great community online, then! I think my partner read less before I came on the scene, and I certainly watched fewer movies than I do now, but compromise is part of the whole domestic bliss package, right? ;)

    Ms_Bella, welcome! So glad to see you here :) I think it’s awesome that you’ve got an understanding guy who’s willing to get you what you need – even if he looks at you askance for it from time to time ;) If I’m remembering correctly, was it your aunt that you lived with growing up? She sounds like a really incredible woman; I’m so glad you had her in your life.

  6. foggidawn says:

    My parents and brother are all readers; my sister-in-law, not so much. Most of my friends enjoy reading, though one of my closest friends (a former college roommate) is a one-book-a-year type (though I even managed to win her over to Harry Potter — I think she finished the series last year). I think that the main thing is that even those who don’t share my book obsession seem to understand it: they have things that they are equally passionate about, things that give them (apparently) as much enjoyment as reading gives me.

  7. Kirsten says:

    And that’s key, foggi – they get it! It drives me nuts when people can’t translate the love they have for their motorcycle or their pocketwatch collection or yoga to the love we have for books and reading.

Reply to Kirsten