Friday, January 9, 2015

Reading Like a Beast in a Non-Reading World, Part 1


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According to Urban Dictionary, "beast status is achieved when the aforementioned person is so good at a certain skill that they have exceeded human comprehension, thus making them non-human." (Source: here.) 

I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say that I read like a beast. Chances are pretty good that if you take the time to read book blogs, you probably do too. I will also confessing to having a love of books and reading that is so big that I sometimes and intermittently have a hard time connecting with the people around me because I just don't think they understand my feelings about BOOKS. I am not antisocial. I do not have a hard time being sociable. But my love for reading does come up quite frequently when I'm in social situations, and lately it has been more annoying than awesome. 


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Here are a few things that I've experienced lately

1. I've been picked on for taking pictures of books, then posting to Facebook or my Instagram
2. "I just don't understand how you have time to read so many books!" 
3. "IIII just don't have TIIIIME to READDDD!" 
4. "I don't like to read. Reading is so boring." 

WHAT WHAT WHAT? 
Okay. 

First of all, I don't often post pictures to my Instagram. I'd love to do one of those #PhotoADay things sometime, but honestly I haven't had the motivation to do one yet with all of my books still temporarily packed. Maybe soon! I think I post book photos online less than most of my reading friends (which is totally okay!) and yet *I'm* getting picked on for it? 

Whatever. I'm not stopping. 
#Kanyeshrug

With regard to the rest of the poopy rubbish up there, I think much of the reading community hears this stuff from time to time. And all of us go thru times in our lives when reading ebbs and flows. And as with anything else, with things that we love and are passionate about -- be they books or babies or cats -- we shuffle around things and carve out time and make a way to include these things in our lives. 

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For me, reading is way-high-up at the top of my list. Along with that comes discussing what I've read and checking out what everyone else is reading. It's like a package deal and it makes me HAPPY. Sure, my life has shifted around over the course of the past year. And sure, my reading has changed. But reading has always been a big, huge deal to me and I've been able to read like a beast throughout all of my changes...because I CHOOSE TO. If I didn't have time to pick up physical copies, I listened to books, for example. And this is my choice. 

It doesn't make me weird. 
It doesn't make me selfish. 
It doesn't make me anything other than a reader. Period. 

What I can't get over is that now that I've moved to a new place -- back home, actually, where I grew up -- I'm more annoyed than ever that I'm picked on again for my reading habits. It feels like I'm a kid again: the bookworm. It isn't a shock to anyone IRL that my Twitter handle is @BookwormAsheley. Y'ALL, I EMBRACE THAT THING. At the age that I am, I figured that I would be over the picking-on and disdain toward reading by now; I guess what I expected, or hoped, was that I would move back here and the people that I knew to be big readers years ago would be big readers today. 

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Thankfully, there is this amazing platform which lets me interact with you all because starting a blog was the FIRST way that I realized that there were people out there with a bookish appetite like mine. I sheepishly joined Twitter and then did readalongs and from there, I felt like I belonged. I became a Reader in a Reading world! It's so fantastic. 

Don't get me wrong -- I have a real-life friend that lives relatively close that I get to see every few months. We talk about books and enjoy recommendations back and forth. I LOVE THIS. I think that she gets my bookworm-self and what's even better is that we have common interests outside of books, so this is probably the best kind of friendship - right? (Looking at you, Jen!) Selfishly, though, I'm aching for someone or a group of people that live a little closer that read like I do, or at least enjoy reading the same types of books that I do. My library is incredible, but has not been helpful with this. And I have not yet been able to make the connections that I'M SURE are out there in my community. 
  • I need to reconnect with some old real-life friends that read like I do and/or I need to make some new friends with an appetite for reading that is similar to mine. 
  • ALSO: What on earth did I do as a child without the internet? Was I just ALONE in my love for reading? WAS I? 


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I think we all probably struggle with this at some point in our lives. Some of us are probably content with the online friends we have. I ADORE my online reading friends -- I would be absolutely lost without the texts, messages, chats, long email threads, and RANTING that goes on over books and bookish things. I cannot get enough! I am absolutely thrilled any time I get to meet/see these people in real life because we all live so far away from one another. I love video texts and EVERYTHING that goes along with it. But it's also true that a lunch or dinner date to discuss a book would be wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. 

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I have more thoughts on being a Reader in a Non-Reading world that I need to share, but they're many and long. I'll have to break this post up into more than one! 

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Do any of you guys ever experience any of the comments that I've listed above? What are some of the other things you've heard? How have YOU been picked on? 
I KNOW I'm not the only one! 

For those that are Readers and not alone in their "real" world -- please tell me about it! I want some inspiration! 



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7 comments:

  1. Do people who never read realize how weird we think THEY are? Not that I would ever say that. (Oops - I just did.)

    I don't currently have any social media accounts that are not book blog-related, so my reading habits are pretty much a mystery to the people I know IRL. The most flak I've gotten is from my father who, last time he came to visit, looked at all of my new stocked-full bookcases and declared my house "cluttered." I was like, "Whaaaaat???" It had never occurred to me that someone might look at all of my books and think anything other than awesome thoughts. I hate that this has kind of wormed its way into my brain, because I now look around and think, "Wait - IS this cluttered?" where I had always thought, "All of these books are beautiful. This is ART."

    So, that's what social media with book lovers does to help me.

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  2. Sadly, I don't have any friends outside the blogging/bookish online community who read as voraciously or love books as passionately as I do. I try to talk about books with people but they just don't understand the joy that comes with picking up that perfect book and getting lost for hours in an amazing world. Sadly, my girl friends are in love with Jodi Picoult...and not much else. I'm happy they read but there's so much more out there! It's even more frustrating when I try to get them to read a fantastic book that I know they'd love (ie, Hunger Games or Divergent) but they refuse and then they'll be talking about it at a gathering months later and I'm like, I told you about that book! But they give me blank looks. GAH!! It's hard being a bookworm but I'm happy I have y'all.

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  3. Preach it, Asheley! I've had to endure similar comments to yours over the years. People at my old work just didn't understand how I could read so much - and why I enjoyed it, preferred it to other activities. Since starting a new job at a community library, however, I am surrounded by people who get me, who also choose to read a book over their lunch hours. And it's the best thing ever.
    The absolute worst comment is the whole "oh, I don't have time to read." It's generally very untrue, and lots of times comes off as the person meaning well, clearly we ignore all obligations in our lives. Ugh.
    But, hey, having bookish internet friends does help a ton! And I do hope you're able to connect with more bookish people in your own life as well.

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  4. I needed this post, dear friend! I would say that most if not all of my friends are at least casual readers. They'll read a few books a year, and I have several that I can recommend books to, which is FUN. My family all reads too. But NOBODY reads as much as I do, and I have heard a lot of "how do you find time to read?" or "you read HOW MANY BOOKS LAST YEAR?!" Then if they find out what I read, there's sometimes confusion over my love of YA. It's frustrating, and I'll even admit to being embarrassed about it sometimes - then getting mad at myself for feeling that way. At the very least, I'm tired of feeling like reading is something that I have to defend, so I don't bring it up much. Regardless, everyone knows I read a lot and have always read a lot.

    I agree, that reading makes me happy so I make it a priority. I don't really watch any TV shows, and in pretty much any moment of downtime, I'm
    reading. I have friends who craft or sew and do other things that I don't, and some who have lots of tv shows they watch at night. Thankfully most of the vocalized confusion about my reading habits come from people I know more casually. My closer friends and family accept me much more easily.

    I was THRILLED when I found this bookish community, and blown away that there were others LIKE ME and who read even MORE than I do. And even better, who take discussing books just as seriously as I do!! But still, I am very thankful that this isn't all I have. I have a close and important group of girlfriends IRL as well, whom I'm incredibly thankful for. We first bonded over our love of Twilight. And have grown into much more than that. They don't read nearly as much as I do, but they don't bother me about that. I've realized that this is actually not the norm for my online bookish friends, so I feel very blessed and wish we all lived a little closer!

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  5. LOL.... darn right that's poopy rubbish!! People drive me crazy when they say "I have no time to read" or.... "You are so lucky you are home with your kids and have time to do things like read." --- WAIT WHAAAT? Sometimes the things that come out of people's mouths just baffle me. Obviously taking care of a 6, 4, and 3 month old is a piece of cake... I have ALL THE TIME. ha. A lot of times I just respond with "Well, I don't watch a lot of TV." This always makes me feel kind of dumb for picking on me for READING when they watch 10 shows a week! Everyone has a right to do what they love and should not have to justify it! I don't pick on TV watchers.... or Gamers, so leave my books alone!

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  6. Growing up, I was honestly the only person in my group of friends who really read voraciously, devouring books like it was nobody's business. Sure, some of my friends were readers (and still read too), but they didn't consume books the way I did or even obsess about them to the extent I did! This is one of the reasons I'm so thankful that I came across this book blogging community, and have met friends and fellow readers who love books just as much as I do! I think it's great that I now have people who will appreciate my love for books and reading and good stories - and who fully support it.

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  7. See into this article about phone message hacking

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