“Michael, we know you read books. Now stop showing off.” This was the response I got the other day from a person who purported to be my friend during a conversation about some thing or the other. We were in animated conversation and I had made yet another reference to a book I had read and some line the writer had used. Severally though I have come under scrutiny and told of my highbrow nature. Well I know you are interested in football – the British kind, not the one they play inAmericawith a small rugby ball, and helmets – I still never told you to shut up when you referred to aNewcastledefender as an example in one of your millions of football analogies. It only seems fair then that you let me speak of the only thing I know, books. Either that or you could always go and hang around bars in town where they show football, and hope cricket isn’t showing.
I mean we never see anyone going all bonkers when food addicts go on about hamburgers and we all seem okay to listen to our friends recall their drunken escapades but when a reader gets giddy and starts to tell the tales of the latest book that he found himself lost in he is suddenly being high brow and showing off? It is almost as if reading a book is a crime.
Anyway, I decided not to tell that so called friend that he is an illiterate blabbering fool and think about where he was coming from. The truth is, everyone wishes they could read more. When we are brought up as children reading is lauded as one of the better traits to have and yet not everyone catches on so quick. It is in the science of life. We are all wired differently. We can’t all be readers. We can’t all be euphoric at the smell of a new book no matter how ideal it would be not everyone can feel the same way about books.
And that’s okay, because by the time a book is getting to my hand to read several people’s talents have been used. There’s the writer who spent five minutes away from twiddling his thumbs to write the book. After that there is the editor who probably wrote more than the writer himself wrote, only in red pen. Then after that there’s the publisher who has to typeset the work, do the graphic design and cut down some trees. All through this there is also the work of Steve Jobs, or Bill gates in play as the work is sent back and forth via the World Wide Web. After that there is the hotel where the book launch shall be held, the shops where the books shall be sold and the chair on which I will sit to read it. If all these people had their noses buried in a book as opposed to doing their jobs there would be no books in the first place, meaning their would be nowhere for them to bury their noses, meaning they would be twiddling their thumbs, meaning the world would be full of writers; which would be boring.
This is why I understand it when someone tells me that they aren’t into books and all that ‘literature stuff.’ After all we need people like those to print our books and write our messages and monitor our email servers, or if nothing else, to provide materials for the writers in terms of research. So when I say that I let that guy get away with his idiocy; it makes perfect sense to me. After all, if everyone was a great reader and completely in love with books, who would we base the idiots in our books on?