This week’s question:
There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?
I’ve always been the biggest reader in any of the groups of friends I’ve been in throughout my life, but now I’ve hit a wonderful season where I’ve got lots of readers as friends. There is nothing quite like swapping books with people who appreciate them, not to mention talking about them. Even so, I am generally drawn to people who like to read and write.
My three oldest friends in the world are big readers, and two of them are also cross stitchers, a former hobby of mine, but that’s beside the point. My best friend from college and I bonded over our love of classic children’s literature, though we had reader conflict about literature for grown ups. She was an English major, and I was a double in drama and American Studies. I was lukewarm to cold on fiction from the British Isles, she didn’t get my mania for Ibsen and Twain. I’ve come around to her point of view, naturally.
Because I’ve always been around readers, I’m always shocked when I find out that someone doesn’t like to read, or when I visit a home that isn’t lined with bookshelves. I had one roommate who moved into a very small apartment with me, and we were trying to figure out how to squeeze everything in. She actually got angry when she saw my boxes of books, asking me whether or not I needed them! I explained that I had just finished grad school, thinking that would be enough of an explanation. She then informed me that she hadn’t read a book since graduating college nearly 2 years ago. I was shocked because she had been an English major and I thought she would understand. (In all fairness to her, she was just starting out in a very demanding career and was going through some tough times personally. We didn’t live together much longer, but we stay in touch and she’s made a lot of other life choices that I admire.)