Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ON BOOKS ~ Never Apologize For What You Read...


Image Courtesy ittybittiesforyou via Flickr

This morning, while sitting in my doctor's waiting room by myself I was so bored I ended up reading a Diabetes pamphlet because Bret Michaels was sharing his daily menu.  I don't have Diabetes and have little interest in menu plans in general.  But there was little else to choose from.  It did not appear that the magazine subscriptions had been renewed since there was nothing past April displayed.  And if I had to read about Sandra Bullock's sucky love life one more time I was going to walk out.

Thankfully I was joined by another patient-in-waiting.  My doctor is in a solo office with a tiny, open waiting room where the receptionist sits at a desk instead of hidden behind a counter.  But the receptionist was on vacation so it was just me and this other woman surrounded by expired magazines.  We decided to talk.  We talked about the expired magazines and this of course led to laments for the books we had not brought with us.

A-ha!  Another reader!  So I asked her what she was reading and she said she actually was in-between books - thus the reason she didn't have one on her.  When I asked what it was she had just finished, she got incredibly shy.  She said it was just a kid's book - that she liked the easy ones.  If she could have crawled under the desk and hidden without fear of the doctor coming out and finding her I think she would have.  She was embarrassed to be a 20-something woman caught reading books for kids.

I should have told her to never be ashamed of what you read. But since our relationship was too new for advice, instead I asked her what exactly it was that she had finished.  She told me it was The Lightening Thief.  Now, of course I have heard of that book and its series thanks to all of the YA book bloggers out there.  When I told her that I knew of it from all of these adult book bloggers in love with YA she perked up a little.  Before long she decided to share how exciting it was having all those mythology figures that were boring to her in text books become something she enjoyed learning about through these stories.  And that is exactly why you should never apologize for what you read.

Another patient-in-waiting arrived.  This was an elderly woman who appeared to be a regular to this office.  When I explained the doctor was running quite late she too mentioned how she wished she had her book.  When I told her we were just talking about that very thing she wanted to know what we were reading.  Again the young woman curled up into herself, reluctantly admitting that it was just this easy kid's book.  Well, the older lady went off an a big tangent about how Harry Potter changed her friend's life - that her friend read it with her granddaughter and they would call each other every week to talk about their progress and what they thought - a long distance book club.  The younger woman smiled and felt comfortable again.

I left them in the waiting room when my turn with the doctor arrived.  The elderly woman was explaining the plot of The Help to the younger woman, encouraging her to read it despite its heft, to meet some of the most incredible women you'll ever want to know in books, promising her a quick but lasting adventure.  The younger woman in turn was giving the older woman the name of The Lightening Thief so that she could go right out and buy it for her young grandson, thinking it would be perfect for him.

It doesn't matter what you read or how you read.  Just that you do.  And that you encourage others to follow in your shoes.  You are never too old for YA or too young for important lessons.  And - when you are stuck in a waiting room with nothing to read, talk to people instead.  It makes the wait a lot more enjoyable.

30 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

How fun! It sounds like you all had an impromptu book club!

But seriously it is pathetic what the magazine pickings are in doctor waiting rooms. I suppose people steal the good ones. Even when they aren't stolen, I notice that the recipe I wanted to see, for example, just happens to be torn out.

It is truly hell to be in a line or a wait without a book!

Christy--Southern Sassy Girl said...

I've only been brave enough to talk to someone about books in a waiting room one time, and bless her heart, she seemed to be the shyest person I've ever met. Since then, well, I haven't been very brave.

However, when I'm in the library perusing and see someone just looking around in the same aisle I'm in, I have no problem recommending something, especially if they pick up an author that I'm familiar with. I did it today, actually....it was exhilerating. :o)

kaye said...

I agree, I think most of my favorite books are in the YA category.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and leaving encouraging remarks. I promise I'll keep smiling even if it's lopsided. I did stop by the blog you linked me to. She's certainly survived some tough stuff.

Matty said...

I readily admit that I don't read books much. I did read several last year by Nicholas Sparks. His books tend to be read more by women, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I like his work.

Missy B. said...

I really enjoyed this post.....made my day!

Susan said...

This is a great post, Molly! I love talking to people in waiting rooms, or in all kinds of situations. You find out the most fascinating things sometimes.

I don't know if you remember a post I wrote several months ago about my childhood passion of reading where I admitted that as a young mother I became addicted to reading Harlequin romances. I was slightly ashamed of that for a long time until I accepted that they had filled a niche in my life. I was stuck at home with little ones and had almost no social outlets, my husband worked ALL THE TIME and I craved romance, excitement, the single life. They were short and didn't require a lot of thinking, which I couldn't do with so much noise going on all the time. I could live vicariously through the women in those books, and they always had a happy ending. Thankfully, as my kids got older, I recovered from my addiction and went back to reading "real" books.

As for reading in waiting rooms, I try to keep a book of short stories or essays in my car at all times. It has saved me from many a boring wait.

Penny said...

That sounds so fun!! I LOVE discussing books. It's hard for me to find folks who love to talk about books as much as I!!

I agree with you, never be ashamed of what you read. It's all about adventure and imagination. I, for one, LOVE Harry Potter. I even have a HP tattoo. I wear it proud :)

You and I would be perfect book club members!! Too bad we have all of this distance between us, otherwise I could totally see us dressed up in period clothing (from the book we read), having tea and cookies and discussion! haha..

:)

Sandy Nawrot said...

It is my worst nightmare to be stuck waiting somewhere without a book! The horror! I think amongst people who read and review books as a hobby, there is no shame in reading anything! No, I guess I've not seen Harlequins reviewed (even though I've read them Susan!) but other than that, it is anything goes on here. Good for you for trying to draw out this girl. I love YA!

Literary Feline said...

What a great post! I probably would have read the Diabetes pamphlet too. :-)

I still hesitate when bringing a graphic novel to work to read during my lunch break. I do get weird looks and have had people express their dismay that a grown up would want to read a graphic novel. It's a great opportunity to educate them, however, about how diverse graphic novels and that many are written for adults. I'm not sure they walk away with a new found respect for the graphic novel, but combined with the fact that they know I read just about everything under the sun (someone wondered how I could read Anna Karenina for fun), I think maybe I do plant a little tiny seed. And that's a start!

Janet said...

what's the chances of 3 women in a waiting room with NO book! Play the lottery, girl!

I just started The Passage by by Justin Cronin...it's a page turner!!!

Sun Singer said...

And to think, it used to only be those books with scandalous covers we wouldn't talk about, that we wrapped in a grocery sack or hid inside a National Geographic.

Interesting how people explain their reading by referring to it as JUST, just a romance, just a bit of chick lit, just another spy story, or just some book for kids.

Sigh.

Malcolm

Forgetfulone said...

Reading is one of my favorite things. Ever. I'm a nerd! My step-daughter read the Lightning Thief series and raved about it. I've loved all the Harry Potter books. The Help is on my to-read list. And right now, I'm reading The Guardian. I love a good book. P. S. Always take your book to the doctor! P. S. S. I'm working on a movie post. Will send it to you hopefully in a few days. P. S. S. S. I've been known to read diabetes pamphlets, too!

Stephanie said...

I hope I never outgrow kids' books!

stacybuckeye said...

As a teen 90% of my pleasure reading was romance and I still think the good ones have merit beyond the genre. Now they take up maybe 10-15% of my reading, but I'm not ashamed of it. I love love ;)
I hate getting stuck somewhere without a book. Especially with all the reading I need to get done!

Amy said...

AMEN!
This post brought tears to my eyes. I absolutely love it and completely agree with you. Well said.

jehara said...

I used to feel shy about reading Nora Roberts. But I am working on it by admitting it on my blog. ;)

When I was in college I felt weird about still looking for books in the YA section and then I realized that plenty of adults read YA and I stopped feeling weird about it.

Thanks for the reminder. ;)

Kathleen said...

AMEN!!!!

Lenore said...

I bring a book EVERYWHERE, but I might have been tempted by that Bret Michaels Diabetes menu anyway ;)

Kristi said...

Good for you! I have been in more than a few situations where I have hesitated to tell someone why I have been reading, for fear that it would be something that they wouldn't be interested in. I have started to be a little less shy though his year - it is amazing the conversations that I have been able to share. This is a wonderful post and I have learned a great lesson!

bermudaonion said...

Fantastic post! A good story is a good story no matter what and we all have different tastes - that's why there are so many good books out there.

Louise said...

I agree.

Stephanie said...

What a great post! (And what are the odds- three women without books! ACK!!! I always keep something I haven't read in my bag at all times, to avoid that situation.) I sometimes struggle with book embarrassment when I read YA, like the other day when I was reading something fluffy and fairly awful by Lurlene McDaniel. On the upside, though, it seemed to help me out of my reading slump, so that's a good thing. I always worry that someone will see me reading something like that and think, "She's reading THAT?!? Wow, how juvenile. She must be stupid!" I need to get over that.

ham1299 said...

What a great post - and a great subject! I agree, never apologize for what you're reading!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I love this post! I feel like too often people are made to feel small based on what they choose to read. It's not right, and I like how instead of judging the woman for reading the Lighting Thief, you mention adult book bloggers. Kudos.

Bookfool said...

What a wonderful post and how fun! I don't think this could even happen in my doctor's waiting room. Since they remodeled the building, there are TVs blasting at both ends of the room. I have to really work hard to block out that noise to read. Good reason to stay healthy. LOL

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

I love the message of this post. I used to be embarrassed about telling people I read romance novels. That's been a long time ago now but I decided there are so many people and so many different tastes in reading that I was wasting time worrying about it. There are still some literary types who look down on romance novels but hey - not my problem.

I like the way readers find instant bonds when they find each other. That was a great time you had in the doctor's office. I'm glad you shared it with us.

Jenny Girl said...

I don't get embarassed anymore. I figure who cares? And who are they to judge?
The only time kids books are an issue is if I go to the library to check them out, and have trouble finding them. They don't like adults lurking around the kids books. And since I don't have kids, I do look weird :)
Great post.

Jeane said...

I love your post. It made me think.
When my kid joined the public library's summer reading program, I saw there was a slot for adults and signed myself up, too! For adults you have to go online and write little mini-reviews of what you've read- and I went and saw others were all reading adult books. I just brought home a slew of YA and J fiction for myself, and felt embarrassed to put up that I'd read those books. But really, I shouldn't! And now I won't.

Michelle said...

Amen! We love what we love, and we should never be embarrassed by our loves. That goes for anything in life, especially books!

Booksnyc said...

great post and a wonderful reminder not to judge other's tastes in reading!