Not can not. Do not.
Mark Twain, be still!
Then I begin to think in my head about all of the love I have for books and all of the memories surrounding reading that exist in my life. When I was five, I was on the front page of our town newspaper because I was there so much. I was already a reader and I was also going to graduate high school in the year 2000. In 1987, this was a big deal...for town newspapers.
I seriously went to the library constantly. Bless my mother and father for buying a home around the corner from the town library. My parents also read to me every night. I was a repeat reader, always wanting the same stories, and I still like to re-read books. I love to see how the meaning changes as my life changes. Perhaps it is an exercise in vanity, but I really don't care. I love the story of Seal Child and who gives a shit if it was written for fourth graders and I am now thirty one? I also love Oranges are not the Only Fruit and can pretty much read that book once a month until who knows when.
The point is, I love books. I have many books. When John Waters spoke about how you shouldn't have sex with people if they don't own books, my agreement soared like the Reading Rainbow logo. But what do you do when you meet someone who seems interesting, only to discover they do not read?
So very wrong. He plainly put, unashamed and with no hesitation, that they were not his books and no, he did not read.
I was shocked. I have NEVER heard this before. EVER. First time for everything. I have heard this again, from another man, recently. This time it was early on, and I really didn't know what to do. Could we work? Would he have much to say? I held out for his own observations and thoughts on life, but they came infrequently and much too quietly.
Shocked is no longer the word....I was disappointed. I liked him, but I was sick of hearing myself talk. I actually do want to know someone else, rather than project. But then I thought more about this situation. If they are both so unashamed about not reading, who am I to shame them? Or anyone? About anything?
Which basically should have been the most giant red flag you ever saw, but I stayed with him for years after that. UGH.
What I am trying to say is, reading doesn't necessarily make you smarter, more interesting, or more worldly. It just ups the chances. The reader is responsible for their own interpretation, but it doesn't automatically mean you're better. Better according to who?
It makes me rethink John Waters' quote. You shouldn't sleep with people who don't read just because they don't read, but also because you don't want to be the jerk to make them feel dumb about not reading. I mean, I love reading and in a perfect world everyone does. But you could say that about anything that you love. Peanut butter, suspenders, the color chartreuse. Fuck it, the drink Chartreuse. (Which I am now in love with, thanks to a friend.)
What I am chipping away at is this: The world would not be great if everyone was the same. Period. And we know this from an early age, why?
Because there are books are written about this.