Statistics (Booking Through Thursday)

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.)

17 thoughts on “Statistics (Booking Through Thursday)”

  1. I convinced her that we should install shelves in the common area around the ceiling. The funny part was that she got all into the DIY aspect of the project and I didn’t lift a finger to get my shelves.

    Getting rid of my books was never and option!

  2. Wow … I can’t imagine being an English major and not reading. I had to have about five books going at once when I got my degree.

  3. I shiver at the thought of an English major who didn’t care to read anymore. You should’ve burned sage to purify the apartment when she moved out.

  4. I’m afraid I can believe an English Major who doesn’t read. I once interviewed a candidate for our Major English course who when asked what she read for pleasure looked me straight in the eye and said, “Oh, if I’d thought you were going to ask me about books I would have read one.” I don’t know if she ever did do a degreee course anywhere, but she certainly didn’t do it with us!

  5. I recently became a department manager, and had to start interviewing people almost immediately. Ack! I haven’t BEEN interviewed in 12 years! I didn’t know how to conduct an interview!

    Fortunately I found a podcast called Manager-Tools. I got some interviewing guidelines there including suggested warm-up questions. One of which was What’s the last book you read, and what did you learn from it or like about it?

    So I’m interviewing for a Desktop Publishing Specialist, and this one candidate replies that she’s reading “Ulysses.”

    I hired her. I figured, if she can deal with James Joyce, she can deal with aircraft manuals.

    (I hasten to add, that wasn’t the ONLY criterion! :-D)

  6. Now, I admit that I didn’t touch a book related to my field of study for a long while after I graduated with my master’s degree, but I didn’t completely give up books.

    I have found too that in the last couple of years I am surrounded by more readers than ever before. In work, among my friends and my family. It’s a good feeling. 🙂

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