Wednesday, January 26, 2011

But you're just reading...

I've noticed that my family doesn't "get" me when I'm reading. They see me sitting there, apparently doing nothing, book in hand. Clearly, it's okay for them to have a conversation with me, ask me to run an errand, or otherwise ensure that I'm gainfully employed instead of just sitting there wasting my life. After all, I'm just reading.
I get infuriated with the just reading thing. For me, there is no just about it. Believe it or not, even (sometimes especially) working in a bookstore doesn't afford me more time to read. It just gives me a better idea of just how many books are out there that I want to open, but can't just yet- no time, no money, no brain power. So, when I actually do sit down with a book in hand, I can hardly describe the sense of luxury and pampering that comes with it. The sense of anticipation of opening a new book by an author that you know you like, the faint sense of trepidation (did I make a wrong choice? Am I wasting precious reading time?) when you venture into a new author or type of book, the sorrow when a good book comes to an end- I revel in it all. I am not just reading, I am finally getting to do one of my very favorite things. So don't ask me to set the table. I don't feel like talking about your day. And I don't need to go shopping for vacuum cleaner bags, thank you very much.
Now, my husband, after more than six years of marriage, has finally not learned to be jealous of my books. And I have learned to set a time limit on reading. I actually do care about his day, so I'll ask for "the end of the chapter" or "fifteen more pages" or whatever else I can get away with, and then return to the regularly scheduled programming of my life. Or get everything else out of the way, knowing that sometimes there will be time by the end of the day for my own time.

But if you've ever been there, wondering why people can't just leave you alone when you're reading, this is for you.


  1. Some of us get that same reaction from our families when we're "just writing." :)

  2. I hadn't thought of that! Us literature-loving types are just doomed to be misunderstood by those who love us.