What do non-reader friends think about your reading habits? Do they understand? Are they sympathetic? Are they always trying to get you to “get your nose out of that book?”
One thing I’ve discovered about being a semi-professional reader is that it opens up book-related conversations quite nicely. Since I read on a schedule, I always have a good answer to “What are you reading?” So far, the only personal recommendation I’ve followed up on was Open Mind, Faithful Heart, from the pre-papacy writings of Pope Francis. That turned out to be a great lead!
Just last night, some in-person friends were telling me that they follow my reviews (or maybe this blog… perhaps both!), so I know they know that I’m reading as well as what I’m reading. It’s nice to know that I have a sympathetic audience. It also keeps me on my best blogging behavior, which is wise, because this is a public blog and I use my real identity.
I’ve never really encountered opposition to reading. I can remember many moments in school when I was finished with my assignment way before the rest of the class. My teachers usually okayed reading a personal book during those times (it kept me quiet and relatively on-task), but they would also occasionally ask me to help my fellow classmates who were still working and struggling.
My ed school classmates and I discussed that situation once, and we came up at a loss for a solid solution. Students teaching students can be empowered, but they’re not the teachers; we are.
Then again, I’d be kidding myself if I pretended that those early experiences of teaching didn’t spark my lifelong love. I used to read stories to the neighborhood kids in my pretend classroom. That counted as playing outside! Teaching is in my blood, even if I don’t do it professionally anymore. It’s right next to reading, and we all know that’s not going anywhere.
For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.