r e a d i n g

Most of my life I’ve been teased about how much I read.

And when I say teased, I don’t mean in a mean way; at worst it is a gentle ribbing, at best it is done with an affectionate smile.

But anytime a person’s quirks are repeatedly pointed out to them, it can cause them to feel like they are being singled out for being different. A reminder that can cause someone to feel uncomfortable with themselves.

I’ve never felt that way. I don’t mind the teasing. Because I really, really love to read.

I’ve had a book in my hand since I was twelve and discovered I liked adult-level fiction; I spent that summer’s vacation at Disney World with my nose buried in a book.

One of my best friends said that even before we were friends she knew who I was. I was the kid at St. Mary’s who sat at the lunch table reading while distractedly eating fries.

If one of my co-workers catches me in the hall without a book they joke about not recognizing me.

Before I was eighteen, I’d read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, most of the Perry Mason books, a number of Destroyer and Executioner novels my father had laying around, all of the Babysitter Club books my sister owned, and even a few Danielle Steele books I found in the house (sorry mom!).

I’m the guy who went to the college dance and spent most of it leaning up against the wall with a book, reading with the occasional glance at the dancers.

If I’m at a party with people I don’t know, I don’t think twice about pulling out a book.

(I don’t read in social settings because I’m anti-social; I just happen to read _everywhere_. I love people. I just don’t see the need to fill my time and space with awkward silence when I can be reading instead.)

Sometimes people ask me how fast I read. One book a week? Two books? Three? As if how fast I read is some kind of party trick.

(I read 72 books in 2011, 80 in 2012 – so the answer is I average about 1.5 books a week).

Reading hasn’t made me smarter (it might be different if I was reading rocket manuals; I’m not). But it has given me an excellent vocabulary and taught me to love language. It’s made me a better writer.

I was productively using ‘waiting in line’ time way before cell phones made ignoring the people around you cool.

I never feel particularly out of place, no matter where I go, so long as I have a book.

I don’t know what boredom is. Free time? More time to read.

Which is all to say this:

Reading. F’ing. Rocks.

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