There are those among us that don’t like reading. I’ll give you a moment to accept that. Actually, I take that time allotment back. You’re probably aware of these individuals. In fact, you’re probably outnumbered by them. I know firsthand what it’s like to interact with this baffling species, mostly because I’m married to one.
I’ll admit, at times I taunt him about this. “What new book are we beginning this week?” I’ll ask as we exit the library. My husband is a master of starting books. By chapter two his mind has wandered, his eyes have glazed, and he is adrift in a sea of thought that has nothing to do with literature and everything to do with drumming or motor vehicle maintenance. There was a time long ago when I presumed intellect was closely linked with the love of reading. I was young; I was naïve; I was proven wrong. My husband is extremely intelligent, more so than yours truly, yet he just can’t seem to find enthusiasm for reading. It took me some time, but eventually I realized what his dysfunction was, because clearly it was him that was broken and not the book.
He hasn’t found a suitable genre.
Books are akin to music and movies, a truth non-readers don’t embrace. I’ve yet to encounter a person who vehemently declares, with nose pinched and mouth pursed, they dislike music or movies. So why such a violent dispassion when it comes to books? I blame it on the high school years. Even those of us who quiver with delight at the anticipation of a trip to the bookstore have some novel that conjures resentment upon hearing its hostile name. For me, it’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I know this novel is an undeniable classic. I realized there are a few of you who will walk away from the computer with disgust after reading such a declaration. But this novel was shoved down my throat by a somewhat unpleasant sixth grade English teacher much in the way a mother pushes broccoli. It was awful. It was grueling. It elicited a new appreciation for cruciferous vegetables.
Literature is just as diverse as music or movies, providing a niche category for even the most eclectic of mental palates, but the expansive shelves are sometimes underutilized. All it takes is one bad experience to forever turn a person away from the wonderfully captivating world of books. Music and movies are different. My hypothesis: these are not private forms of media. Music is everywhere. It’s played in stores, it’s a must-have when driving, it’s used routinely in…that’s right…movies. Movies and television are just as integrated, becoming as ubiquitous to our culture as overly complicated coffee drinks and fast food restaurants. Books on the other hand are not a social activity. Most people don’t gather around e-readers on their lunch break to collectively skim the pages of the latest J.K Rowling. I think this is the reason people shy away. They had one bad experience and, since graduating high school or college, are now freed from the repeat exposure.
Slowly and patiently, approaching with caution as I would an injured animal, I’m drawing my husband out of his dreary existence as a non-reader. We go to the library together, he in the CD section and me in fiction, but he’s there, and often he leaves with a book under his arm. Usually it sits on his nightstand for three weeks before I pick it up, brush of the personal effects that have accumulated on top, and return it to the library sad and unfulfilled. It is, after all, the book’s purpose in life to be read. Stripping it of that pleasure, that promise of satisfying its aspiration, is simply cruel and unusual in my opinion, though the importance of my opinion is debatable. But I don’t view his literary neglect as defeat. I view it as progress. After all, there was a time when we’d leave the bookstore with a pile of CDs and no books to be found in his reusable tote.
So for now, until they realize there are endless possibilities in the enticing span of books, I recommend you do the same with those mysterious creatures in your own life. There’s no need to brow-beat, no need to berate, but try suggesting a book you’ve enjoyed or simply recommend they explore a new genre. Maybe offer your used novels to a friend.
And if all else fails, Facebook has made it easier than ever to “unfriend” those enigmatic, heartless, non-bookie people.
Just teasing…sort of…
About The Author:
Michaela Debelius is an American fiction writer whose work incorporates elements of science fiction, horror, and romance. Originally from New England, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and two furry children. For more information about her second novel, Perpetual, please visit www.michaeladebelius.com
About The Book
“Some people say they don’t care. I actually mean it.”
Mercy Green didn’t become this way overnight. Centuries of monotonous life have left her jaded and detached. Humans weren’t meant to live forever. But then again, she isn’t human. Adam is though, and his purity baffles her. How can he remain unpolluted in a world tarnished by corruption? It doesn’t matter. Her time in Birchwood Creek is coming to an end and she must prepare to relocate. That is, until she inexplicably wakes up in a pool of her own blood. The answer seems simple enough: leave immediately. But when an attempt is made on Adam’s life, a failed murder she inadvertently caused, she feels obligated to stay and protect him.
But then she’s attacked again.
And Adam begins to ask questions.
Victim to an unseen stalker, Mercy’s forced to seek help from Nick, an immortal teenager whose sudden appearance suspiciously coincides with her plunge into chaos. With her structured life unraveling and revelation of her immortality looming, Mercy must accept the truth: she’s being hunted. But why?
…And she thought immortality was boring.