Books

The other day, I was bemoaning to a friend about the lack of blog content. This friend is not a blogger, doesn’t read this blog, doesn’t knit and is only interested in mine in sort of an abstract way. (I’m not done with him yet.) Anyway, even though this friend knows little about the ways of knit bloggers, he suggested that I try writing about my reading

Wa? What?

He seemed to think it was a good idea. I thought less so about it, but I promised him that I would at least think about it, and I did. Granted, I thought about the reasons I’ll not be doing it, which probably was not the way that he wanted me to think.

For one reason, I don’t really read that much. That’s not true. I read tons. I read every day, day in day out, the only think that I love more than reading is knitting. I always have a book in my backpack (read: man-purse.) and I use it too. I read at work, I read at the library, at the coffeehouse, on my couch, before bed, all the time. (You could sub knitting in for reading in that last sentence.)

But the thing is, I have reading guilt. I always read, but still feel like I don’t do enough of it. I feel like I should spend ever spare second reading, that it is something I love, therefore I should spend every possible second with my nose in a book in order to deserve the title of bookworm. (I oddly enough don’t get any guilt for not knitting.) I feel like I don’t read, simply because it’s taken me months, about two, to finally power through Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Never mind that I’ve read many other books in that time, I still feel guilty for not reading that one specific book. (There are several others too though, which is where most of the guilt comes from.)

Then there’s more. Not only do I not go fast enough through the books I’m currently reading, but I also feel back for the many, many books I’ve got upstairs that I haven’t read, and probably won’t read for years. I always say that my library is there simply in case I want to read any of those books, but I still feel guilty for having so many books that I haven’t read. (Seriously, there are well over 100 that I haven’t read. Probably closer to 200) The choice, when I do get to start a new book, is always dizzying in its potential.

(And remember I work in a used bookshop, with very reasonable prices, Books come home every week.)

Then I have even more guilt (I swear I should be Jewish) for choosing the books that I have over those that I haven’t. The unopened ones are still hopeful to be wonderful, engrossing books, while the ones that I’ve read, while good books, they are nowhere near as divine as I thought they’d be. I feel so silly for wasting my time with the books I am reading, when I could be enjoying the ones I’m not. (Never mind that they are all entertaining.)

Then you’ve also got my literary tastes. I am a lit snob. If it doesn’t have Dickens or Austen on the cover then I won’t touch it. (Or at least admit it.) (I actually avoided Dickens for a while due to my weird hipster sensibilities. Try to remember Garret, if that many people like something, chances are that there’s a reason for that. Except for 50 Shades of Grey, even I can’t explain that one.) And while I do read a great many of the classics, (a lot of which are still new to me in my youthful ignorance) I do actually occasionally read books by authors who aren’t dead!!!! I know, shocking.

You’ve also got my weird thing about never revealing some things about myself. I know anybody who knows me is probably laughing their ass off right now — but yes, I am holding back. I feel like I’m giving away some part of my soul by telling people about the books I read. I hate it when people ask me “What are you reading?” Then I have to tell them and then tell them what’s happening, because they’ve certainly never read it, and how should I know what happens, I’m not done yet. The  books you read form a part of you like nothing else does, and by telling people about the books your read, you are making a statement about yourself that nothing else can make.

See how deep this well of crazy runs. If there’s a book I want at a library or a bookstore and I can’t find it, I won’t ask a librarian or a bookseller to help me because I don’t want them to know what I’m reading — even if it’s a perfectly normal book. I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.

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2 Comments

  1. My major criterion for book purchasing is that if you can buy it at Costco I won’t read it. Buy as many books (or yarn) as you want, you’ll get around to them all…eventually.

    I hate when someone asks what I’m reading too because I have a very specific taste that is not easy to explain. (Mysteries, noir, UK, European and lots of Scandinavian – turns out it’s really easy to explain!) Or I’ll say, it’s a Swedish book and they’ll say, 10 times out of 10, I didn’t know you spoke Swedish. STFUp! I should just say War and Peace because no one wants to know more after that answer and at this point I read almost exclusively on my phone so no one will know that I’m lying…

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