What is it with people who don’t read? Why are they so proud of themselves for never having picked up a book?
I was signing copies of my novels yesterday at an event in a suburb south of Chicago. As people passed by my booth, I’d ask if they enjoyed reading mysteries. A "yes" allowed me an opening to explain my series. A "no" often led to a discussion of the type of material they read, be it books, newspapers, or magazines.
I didn’t mind when a person said no, they enjoyed something other than mystery. It’s fine with me if other people enjoy romance or sci-fi or non-fiction books. What bothered me was the number of people who waved me off with "I don’t read" or "I’m don’t have time for books" or "I did enough reading in school".
It wasn’t just the words that aggravated me. It was the pride I heard in these people’s voices as they rejected the very notion of reading. These were BUSY people with BUSY lives and BETTER THINGS TO DO than WASTE TIME reading. Reading was dismissed as something fit only for school children and old people in rocking chairs.
I gritted my teeth and smiled the first few times these words were spoken. But I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when one woman pointed to her daughter and two grandchildren and said, "She has two kids. She has no time for books."
"Really?" I replied nastily. "I raised six kids and still found time to read."
What I didn’t add was, maybe that’s why all my kids have done well in life. They’ve learned that reading is not only enjoyable, but also makes them better educated and more informed citizens of this country.
I wonder how those two children will turn out with a mother who has no time for books.