Shh! I'm Reading

“Nothing in our culture applauds the desire to be alone. Being alone, in fact, is the great crime.”
 ~~Betsy Lerner in The Forest for the Trees

Lerner is talking about writers, but she could just as easily be talking about readers. I often think of my niece, a tween avid reader, who sometimes pays a price for being so, or does she?

My son, nieces and nephews, as I’ve mentioned before, appreciate reading and do it often, but the lover of reading will often choose it over all else. For example, when I had them all together a few months ago, they were to create an itinerary so I’d know how I’d have to spend my Saturday.*

They told me they wanted to go to the mall. There wasn’t consensus though. H, my avid reader, wasn’t interested. She said the mall was fine and she doesn’t mind going if there is a strategic purpose, but she’d rather spend time at the bookstore. (Once there, she grabbed a handful of books and we sat by the train where she read excerpts from the books to me while my **nephew sent trains zooming around the track.)

Late that night the others were chatting, laughing, and listening to music, but not H. Once again, she was with me. This time she was reading a book aloud to herself (I just happened to be in the room with her).

I guess my point is sometimes choosing reading means choosing to be alone, choosing to not be sociable. While all of the others were at the mall trying on clothes, laughing, talking, and meeting other young people, H was stuck with me, but she was having a different type of fun, a type of fun that is not always applauded.

Avid readers often have to choose to be alone.

Am I making any sense? Have you noticed this?

Your guidance is appreciated.

*I’m a little like that character in The Big Bang Theory who cannot deal with sudden, unexpected events without uneasiness settling in.

**My nephew was not interested in going to the bookstore, but had to do so because the older kids couldn’t look after him.