Do You Read?

Alright, I realize that publicly brooding over the more emotionally damaging things your mother said to you comes off at best as unsettlingly Freudian and at worst downright Psycho with a capital taxidermy mom corpse in you basement, but this is gonna be pertinent to my larger point here. Here’s one of the first things my mother said to me when I happened to tell her that I was writing a book blog:

“Well you know honey, you’re really trying to appeal to a minority of the population there. Don’t expect too much as far as an audience goes.” Thanks mom. Love you too.

Did I mention, though, that my mom’s a librarian? That my love of books was definitely fostered by her own? Leave that out and I suppose it sounds like I’m Matilda, from that Roald Dahl book they turned into a movie with Danny Devito. My mother is not, nor will she ever be, Danny Devito. She does love me, and is a decent women after all.

Why, then, you might ask, would my mother, the book lover, say such a thing? Well, moms do their best to be protective. If there’s one thing she’d know, that I know too really, from years of reading and loving it is that there are many people who think its weird and don’t get the point. I suppose she feared such an illiterate would stumble across my musings on the internet and leave a rude comment calling her darling daughter a fish turd or something. It was meant as a kind sentiment, and I’d like to assure my mother that I grew up with the internet and have been called far worse than a fish turd online and to my face.

Anyhow, I’d like to address the whole “reading is pointless” crowd.  I’ve certainly had to speak to such people on more than one occasion. An uncle once asked me why people bother buying and rereading books. I paused and decided the best way to answer was that rereading books is just like re-watching a movie you like. He looked like he either didn’t believe me,or didn’t quite understand the general concept.

When people say they don’t like to read I almost want to act like a very stupid friend who tells their gay buddy they just haven’t found the right book yet. People write about a ridiculously wide variety of things in a variety of ways. No matter what or how they read them, books can give you something. They can tell you you’re not alone, they can give you new perspectives, they can give you just a few easy laughs and a break from the day.

In the age of the internet, people actually read for fun more than they realize. Those articles your friends share on Facebook, those funny click bait titled lists, that counts as reading, for fun! See? It’s not that hard. I know Buzzfeed lists aren’t hardcore literature, but you don’t have to read hardcore literature to like reading. That right there maybe be the biggest misconception non-readers have about getting into reading. You absolutely don’t have to read a big, fancy looking book your English teacher tried to make you read once just because you didn’t hate reading that one one mystery novel or the baby of whatever book deal your favorite celebrity got.

I almost surprised myself with this realization, but I’m much more worried about people who don’t read anything as opposed to people who read things considered simple or even trashy. I had a freaking serious Twilight phase, and I know how simple those books are but I also know how much that experience gave me. I loved those books. They, just like any other book, were a decent, quiet escape from whatever I was up to me neck in at the time, (puberty, most likely,) and a very patient friend too. Books wait for you. You can read as slow as you want, go back and reread bits you didn’t get, and in general just plod along with the story.

Asking too many questions during a movie or TV show gets you uninvited from the movie theater and/or your friend’s Game of Thrones viewing party. That’s quiet and occasionally live tweeting time. Books, though don’t mind being questioned, or paused, to be thought over, even over basic stuff like “Wait, what’s with this dialogue? Who’s talking? Which character is that again.” The Game of Thrones books all come with character glossaries in case you confuse one or two of the fifty million aging bearded white men that used to be a knight for one of the fifty million aging, bearded white men that are all very stern and perhaps have noble blood in them. I’m considering copying out those character lists, laminating them, and giving them to my friends and parents, especially my parents, in celebration of the new season coming out. I won’t pretend I couldn’t use one either.

The point is, the so called “reading population” isn’t really that big at all, and even the people who don’t think they fall into that category could be more wrong than they’d think. Reading doesn’t have to be crazy dense or formal, or a year long commitment with a mile long text. It’s just one more thing that can make you feel better, safer, more at home, in a busy day. Whether you feel like reading paperbacks, e-readers, or online, please just try. It does give you something,if you’re relaxed enough to just pick a book you know you’d like and read it when you want. Not sure what kind of book you like? Well, that’s what blogs and review sites like these are for. Don’t worry, I got this.

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3 thoughts on “Do You Read?

  1. Really insightful comments and ringing true with the reader in me. I used to say no to play dates or hang outs with friends so I could finish the Betsy and Tacy trilogy or anything Jane Austen. I felt ashamed because it wasn’t cool to prefer reading over just about anything else. I feel less associated with that identity now, I think because of the barrage of technology that surrounds me. I still read before bed, but find I’m not able to be gripped by the pages as I once was. Your blog is an inspiration to get back to days past!

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  2. I would add that if you listen to audio books that’s reading too. I read a wide range of books but there is nothing like reading a short and sweet murder mystery for fun!!!

    Like

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