What is reading to me, you ask? Well, imagine a small cottage tucked away in the woods in a Winter landscape. It’s snowing outside and you’re in a cozy bedroom, wrapped up in blankets, warmed by a blazing fireplace while watching a TV show or a movie on your laptop. You’re in your pajamas, sipping hot chocolate and it’s the Winter vacations and you’re just happy, warm and safe. If you could bottle up that feeling in a nutshell- then it would be what I feel like every time I read.
Huh. Talk about an introvert’s dream landscape.
I’ve been a reader since, well, since forever. I can’t remember a time when I was not obsessively in love with books. Okay, maybe not obsessive per se, as much as just in love. I was a decent, acceptable reader since I was a child. Because of my brother, we always had books lying around in our house. We traveled a lot back then and bought books at the railway station on every single trip. As a kid, I was more into dolls, dressing up, dancing and socializing back then (what happened to that girl, I really don’t know)…. and somewhere along the way, books just became a part of my life.
You might as well try to separate salt from sugar physically than Nimika from reading.
However, what I want to talk about is the struggles a book lover has to go through when people Just Don’t Get It. Let’s be honest- reading is a dying art. I know a lot of people still like to read but if you’re a book nerd, then chances are that 95% of the people around you- including/especially your friends- don’t know what’s wrong with you and oh my god, Lisa, Stop Reading Already types.
I’ve always been the nerdy, bookish friend and when every girl around me is excited about something worth getting excited about, I’m just here like-
Don’t take this the wrong way. Even though you might be a bit crazy if you don’t read, that’s okay. Everyone has different interests. Almost all of my friends don’t like to read and I still love them to the moon and back. The problem? The problem is that people don’t know how to “deal” with people like us and often do or say things that range from mildly to extremely annoying or even offensive.
I come across a lot of questions when it comes to my passion for reading. I know these questions annoy a lot of readers everywhere and I even get why although I shrug them off because you can’t really expect people to understand.
Why read the book when you can see the movie? Um, maybe because Hollywood has a tendency to ruin every book to movie adaptation and a two hour movie can not capture a four hundred page novel? Also, because I like to read. Bet you didn’t know that.
Why do you read such thick books? ^^See above^^ – Because I like to read and once I’m swept off by the story, the number of pages don’t matter.
Why buy books when you can just read ’em online or an ebook? Okay, this might very well be a practical and sensible question. Why waste (your words, not mine) so much of money on paperbacks and hardcovers when they’re available free online? I get it, I get it, but book collection is a hobby, an obsession, a dream for me. I read majority of my books online or for free, and I do have a Kindle, but I keep buying books occasionally because I love to see them on my shelf and nothing can beat paper and ink, not even technology.
I can handle all of these questions but one question that always, always ticks me off is this-
How do you get time to read?
Why would you ask that question?
I can’t express to you enough how much I get that question. Nothing like someone questioning your joblessness to make you feel like a loser. Um, I make time to read. You know, clear my schedule to make sure I squeeze in time to read. I’m glad you’re so busy in life with your interviews with celebrities, flights to Paris, grand tours of your job at Google that you can’t make time for what you love to do but I can do that and I do.
I realize that sometimes I do give reading and writing too much time as opposed to my school work and daily chores but that’s my work to clear and not your job to question. There. I was saltier than a whole beach about this topic.
So, you’re in school, reading your book and minding your own business.
Random Person: Oh, she’s reading and minding her own business. Therefore, I should totally go up to her and start telling her about the incident that happened to me a month ago which was so totally funny and not related to her at all but I’m a disgrace to humanity and I might as well prove it.
I mean, really. Oh, and there’s a whole method of doing that, by the way. People approach me when I’m reading and the first question they ask is- “Hi, you reading?”
I put my book aside because it’s finally Socializing time and I’m too polite to ask the person to go away. Cue hours of trying to listen to the person ramble about things that really don’t interest me and day dream about getting stranded to an abandoned island with my book.
Another thing that non-readers do- and I can’t blame them for doing it really, but it annoys me a lot- is this: When I’m reading, there would always be that one person who asks, “Hey, whatchya readin’?”
*Holds up the cover so the person can read.*
*I smile and go back to reading*
“So, what’s it about?”
See, I don’t know if you’re really interested in the book or if you’re just trying to make conversation. I appreciate both of these gestures, nonetheless. The thing is, I really, really suck at describing books. I cannot describe the synopsis without making the book sound really lame and weird.
“Um, it’s about this girl who loves to draw and she… was raised by a group of monsters who send her to fetch teeth in exchange for, um, wishes but these monsters are really sweet, to be honest. Oh, and then there’s this angel who wants to kill her because he thinks she’s a demon…. Nevermind, it’s really, really great. You should totally read it.”
The person ooh and aahs and tries to look interested while secretly wondering if I’m a part of some satanic cult.
No, I’m just very awkward.
The conclusion is, I will avoid this Random Person who interrupts my reading if I can. I repeat, it’s not that I don’t value my friendships, but I need time off from people for a while. If I keep my book down to receive your call or to text you back immediately, know that you are very, very important to me.
Like I mentioned before, I am the reader friend in any group. Naturally, people come to me for recommendations or to borrow books. I’m always trying to convert my friends into readers (it’ll happen one day, I’m sure of it) so I love to recommend books. I have some screenshots here of someone asking for recs and this is literally how I reacted-
Do you see what I mean? Do you see?
Even if you ask for recommendations and don’t read the book- that’s okay! I really don’t mind. My problem is, when you specifically ask for my book and then not return it for ages and then probably lose it. Or return it damaged.
That’s when I lose it.
I’ll be up frank with you- I don’t like lending people my books. My books are my babies and I’m scared that people won’t take good care of them. But I’m also the kind of person who just cannot say no.
How do you refuse a person who wants a book they know you have without offending them? How? I’l squirm and make excuses, but then finally let them borrow it. I’m actually very pleased when someone reads the book they they borrowed (I can count on one hand when that actually happens) but if someone takes ages with the book, returns it in a damaged condition and then say that they lost interest so didn’t finish it… oh, joy, I’ll enjoy being the Godzilla to your Tokyo in that situation.
“It’s Just a Book”
“Why are you crying over a fictional character? It’s just a book.”
“Jesus, girl, stop being obsessed with the damaged book. It’s just a book.”
“I can’t believe you’d spend so much money on that hardcover. It’s just a book.”
“Calm down, why the hell are you so impatient for the book to release anyway? It’s… Just. A. Book!”
Need I say anything more than that?
Alone in the Muggle World
One thing that I’ve realized in all these years is that people don’t like to hear you rant about what you’re passionate about. They just don’t. All of my friends roll their eyes and just shake their heads when I start talking books. My friends are great but I’ve almost stopped talking about books to all of them.
I kind of get it. Talking about books bore you. I wouldn’t like someone rambling about something I don’t know the first thing about. But…well, I know that I wouldn’t push them off. I know it. Even if it’s just for the sake of being the one person they can rant about their passion to, I’ll do it.
So, why can’t people at least try to just… not push me off when I say something even remotely related to books? I’m not going to convert you! I just like to think that if you are a close friend of mine, then you’d know something about books because of me. That you’d know my favorite books, my favorite characters or just my genre preferences, maybe. Here, I’m talking about the friends or people I’ve known for a long time and not someone I met yesterday because obviously, that person will just listen to me for the sake of being polite.
However, after all this time of knowing me, if you’re still patient with me and ready to give me a few minutes for talking about books and make an effort to try and pay attention- then…well, you’re a gem.
Well, that got serious really fast.
Me Being Positive: That’s what we have the internet for! For finding the people we can relate to who’ll probably not run away from us when we start talking. I’m honestly so glad for having internet nerd friends (yes, I’m talking about you, Ananya) for being highly, highly relatable.
There you go! This was incredibly long but I’m glad I got to talk it out.
I’d just like to say, no offense meant to any non-readers. I can understand why you’d do the things above and I know you couldn’t know why that’d affect us.
But, there’s nothing wrong in ranting it out, right?