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Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days: A Guest Post

A Tale of Two Readers

Angie reads faster than I do. I know that seems like an insignificant fact, but it a constant source of tension in the midst of our otherwise blissful marriage. She'll call me over to the couch to show me something funny on her computer or ask me to read an email before she sends it... and then she scrolls. Usually she starts scrolling before I'm halfway through the intended passage, and then she looks up and says "Oh, you weren't finished yet..."

But I know she knows. I think she's just pointing out how much faster she is.

Our differences as readers don't stop there. Angie was an avid reader as a young child while I didn't really become a pleasure reader until high school. She is tenacious with books, sticking with them even when they don't seem to live up. It is not uncommon for her to put down a book having read the last page only to say "Well that was terrible." I, on the other hand, am less loyal. Starting a book is by no means a guarantee that I will finish it, and I have been known to give up on a book mere chapters from the end.

Once I decide I like a book, though,  I am a non-repentant re-reader.  There is a small selection of my most favorite books that I read annually, often in the same season each year. The Grapes of Wrath always seems appropriate for the last few days of summer, while All Quiet on the Western Front is a winter favorite. Angie doesn't understand my need to read books over and over again and silently scoffs at my assertion that I walk away with something different each time. She prefers to spread herself around, finding new authors and genres and falling in love with new characters each time.

We are even polar opposites when it comes to what we want our books to look like. She likes her books to be pristine with stiff spines and unwrinkled dust jackets. Her bookshelves (before marrying me) were impeccably maintained in perfect alphabetical order, and each book might as well have been right off of the press. My books are what you might call world-weary. They are dog-eared and ratty with covers hanging on by threads or attached with duct tape. On the shelf, I have no problem stacking my books flat, and I am as likely to put them in alphabetical order as I am to read Jane Austin. That might be the reason she evicted my books from our front room and insisted they be housed out of site in my office.
{Can you guess which ones are mine?}

My wife and I met in a reading classroom. In the earlier parts of our relationship we would read books aloud to each other in bed at night. And we both secretly enjoy doing the voices when we read to our children. In all other areas of our life, Angie and I are not that different. We are both teachers, we  both tend a little towards being home-bodies, and we both have a deeply ingrained aversion to physical activity. As readers though, the old adage seems to be true: opposites really do attract.


Emily said...

cute post. :)

Toby said...

Great post! I think I'm the same as you, Chris. I'll read 6 books at a time and not finish half of them if they can't hold my interest. Then there are certain books I've read probably a half-dozen times.

Rebekah said...

That was nice of your husband to post for you.

Unknown said...

So romantic. I miss you guys!