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02/20/2002 Entry: "In Which I Whine About People Who Don't Venerate Books Like I Do."

You know, I can really tell that certain people weren't major bookworms (as I was) when they were kids.

They're people who feel absolutely free to walk into the room where I am peacefully absorbed in my book, and start talking, and expect me to put down my book and listen. Sometimes these are the same people who will scream and rip your head off if you dare to speak during Buffy. Granted, it's technically easier to 'pause' a book, but dammit, I was reading, that means I'm busy, I don't want to make small talk now.
They're people who think that just because I've turned the last page of a book, I'm done with it, and am now free to entertain them. Okay, I'm a weirdo, a major bookworm, and a total nerd, but if the book I've just finished was anywhere near good, I'd really prefer to sit in silence for about ten minutes and think about it, let myself 'recover' from what may have been a reasonably emotional experience for me.
Heck, they're people who ask 'so what's it about?' and expect a coherent summary of the plot. I, personally, loathe this question. Generally, if it's someone who really ought to know better, I'll say, "It's about this guy, and he does stuff." Usually what I end up doing is silently passing the book over, back up, so that they can read the little summary on the back. After all, someone was paid to write that blurb, so someone else might as well read it, right?

Sigh. Okay, never mind, I can't even work myself up into a decent rant right now. I want to go home.

Replies: add your comment: currently 14 comments

I hate when people interrupt my reading to ask me what I'm reading. Usually this prompts me to point to the spine of the book without otherwise moving. This question is usually followed by 'What's it about?'

Admittedly, I do try to explain what it's about. (Un?)Fortunately my summarizing skills aren't up to snuff, so my summary usually winds up going, 'It's about this chick and she has a compass but it's not and there's bears.' (The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman)

The summaries on the backs of books bug me. They usually either hardly resemble the book, or give away important parts of the plot. Oh well.

Posted by Ed @ 02/20/2002 10:27 PM EST

It's worse when you're writing a book and people ask what it's about...granted I should know what it's about as I'm the writer, but that doesn't mean I can come up with something that doesn't do what the first person...Ed...said. Gah. Ah well. I guess I should probably attempt to finish it instead of rewriting the damn thing eh. :P Damn homework.

Posted by Tiffany @ 02/20/2002 10:40 PM EST

I usually try to come up with the most literary explanation for what the book is about that I can. You know, "It's about how men simultaneously fear the womb and wish to return to it." (The Pit and The Pendulum, E.A. Poe)

This usually succeeds in getting people to leave me alone to finish the book in peace. :)

Posted by Bonnie @ 02/20/2002 10:59 PM EST

Oh, God, yes. The dreaded "what are you reading?" I always have the urge to wake those people up in the middle of the night and ask what they were dreaming about. The main problem is that I'm often reading weird stuff lately, like strange religious books or RPGs or unusual comics, so then I have to *explain* it too, and argh. I need to get a dust jacket with some really weird title on it, like "Satanism and You" or something, and just stick that on whatever book I happen to be reading.-

Posted by AJ @ 02/20/2002 11:15 PM EST

If I had a nickel for every time my reading was interrupted...

Posted by Nathan @ 02/21/2002 12:52 AM EST

Yesterday I had someone interrupt me in mid-read to start up a one-sided conversation about dietary habits. I was in the DEAD MIDDLE of Toni Morrison's _Song of Solomon_.
Gahh. You DON'T interrupt someone like that.

Posted by Big Big Truck @ 02/21/2002 09:15 AM EST

All I have to say is:
Reading = busy. Darnit.

And yes, I definitely have to decompress at the end of a good book. (And often in the middle of them. Well, that depends on the book, really.) Usually try to finish them where I won't be disturbed. ...but yes, "reading = busy" is definitely something I want to impress upon the world in general.

Posted by StB @ 02/21/2002 09:26 AM EST

Being the fangirl wuss that I am, and also a simultaneously geeky and shy yet social creature, when someone appears to take interest in something I'm reading and really enjoying, I feel slightly annoyed that they interrupted me, but then I attempt to enthusiastically summarize the plot so far (or the book in general, if I've read it before). Sadly, my story-telling skills really suck, and I usually end up talking for like 10 minutes and mixing it all up and by the time I'm done the person doesn't want to read it anymore. T_T

Short example: "Okay, well, it's like a fairy tale, only it was written in the modern day and it's a really cool use of language and alliteration and stuff! It's for kids. But it's still my favorite. And it sounds just like an old-fashioned fairy tale. And it's got really cool illustrations. Yeah, I read books with pictures. Where was I? Oh, right, so there's this guy, he's a prince, and he comes by this village and hears that there's this princess up in the castle being guarded by her evil uncle the duke, who wants to marry her. Ick. So he goes to see if he can free her, because the duke likes to set impossible tasks for her suitors and/or kill them, right? Oh, I forgot to mention that at the time he's pretending to be a poor minstrel but we know he's not really. So he goes up there. Oh, before I tell you that part, I need to tell you the part where he meets the Golux. It's important. So he meets this guy named the Golux, yes? And then..." and it just goes on. It's BAAAAAD. (yes, that was a SHORT example.) (parenthetical remark #2: the book in question is "The 13 Clocks" by James Thurber.)

I'm much better at explaining things in writing. Things seem to come out in order naturally, and if they don't I can change them around. ^^;


Posted by benimaru @ 02/21/2002 09:40 AM EST

Do you ever get the feeling that reading is sorta like diving?

If it's a really good book, you have to sorta decompress at regular intervals. I find myself staring into space for 10 minutes at a time are various points, just because I'm thinking about what's come up in the story or what it represents or what I would do in that situation or how the hell did they invent that gizmo, or... you get the gist.

And I suppose that means that if someone interrupts you in the middle of it, it give you the bends.

No wonder you explode! ;o)

Posted by JohnnyBoy @ 02/21/2002 02:15 PM EST

What's worse, people who start talking and just talk LOUDER when one ignores them (or, if one is feeling particularly nonbitchy, says "I'm reading, ask me later").

Posted by xaf @ 02/21/2002 07:25 PM EST

I actually usually don't mind if someone says something to me while I'm reading, but that's probably because no one talks to me much anyway...
I also try not to interupt someone when they are reading for osme of these very reasons. I know it annoys people. I WANT to talk to people sometimes, but I know I should not because they are reading. And I'm not sure if I would be a bother to them or not...

Posted by Wolf @ 02/21/2002 11:29 PM EST

Also... there are people who expect you to be able to hear them just fine (and answer them!) when you have headphones on. ._.; I don't understand them. Maybe they haven't had the experience of using the gift of technology called headphones, but that's rather unlikely.

Posted by Keiiii @ 02/22/2002 03:36 AM EST

That sounds so familiar it's not even funny. o.o I /hate/ it when people interrupt my reading - it's like shoving your face in front of someone else's and going 'baaa' when they're trying to drive.

Posted by Rae @ 02/23/2002 07:03 AM EST

I Think we can all relate to that one. It's been lately im on a kick to read and its a neverfail....i read...people become Earth's biggest chatterbox. DOesnt matter how mousy they are, they will open up a can of speak-ass on me. And of course several annoyed sounding responses wont shut them up.Normaly i end up putting the book down. Damn...hate it when that happens.

Posted by Cloud12287 @ 02/24/2002 12:26 AM EST

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