My husband has become a ravenous reader. I’m not quite sure how it happened, either, because for the majority of our lives together, he’s never read more than the occasional action novel. I could buy him a book for his birthday in October, and one for Father’s Day in June, and he could live off those two for an entire year, occasionally reading a page or two before bed or on a Sunday afternoon.
Not anymore. He’s devouring books nearly as quickly as I am, making emergency trips to the library, spending inordinate amounts of time searching the internet for books and then placing them on hold at various libraries all across town. ( I’m certainly thankful he’s using the library, for if he were buying all these books, I’m afraid our basement bookshelves would simply sink the house.)
With the usual fervor of a convert, he simply can’t spend enough time reading. This morning, for instance, I knew he had a meeting on the other side of town, and I- clock watcher that I am -could see he was running seriously short of time. Yet, there he was, still propped against his pillows, happily engrossed in the final pages of his novel. Meanwhile, I was completely distracted from my short story, hyper aware of the minute hand moving ever closer to the time he needed to be on the road.
“It’s getting quite late, you know,” I ventured, not wanting our first words of the day to be too negatively charged.
He glanced quickly at the clock radio and flipped the last few pages of the paperback. “I don’t care, ” he said, with an all too familiar tone of defiant finality, “I’m three pages from the end, and I’m finishing this book.”
Perhaps I could take a lesson from him, for I rarely allow myself the luxury of putting reading at the head of my list. On the contrary, I consider reading time my reward for completing all the tasks on my daily “to do” sheet, which sometimes means my reading time is truncated quite severely. Isn’t that odd? After all, I’m the one who’s supposed to be the reader in the family. But I was cursed with a very strong Puritan work ethic, which comes with a compulsion to put duty before pleasure.
Could I be jealous of this new ravenous reader in the house? Perhaps the reason that, instead of being pleased he’s taken up a pastime that’s dear to my heart, I find myself annoyed that he’s spending the entire morning in his chair, lost in the pages of his book, is that I’d rather be doing that too, but I won’t allow myself the luxury.
While I’ve been thinking I’d created a monster, getting my husband hooked on books, perhaps I should allow the book monster in myself to surface once in a while, defiantly put aside those tasks I set each day and immerse myself between the covers for as long as I like.
The question is, will our household survive two ravenous readers and two book monsters?
I’ll keep you posted. <smiles>