Emphasis on social life takes time away from reading

April 05, 2001

Emphasis on social life takes time away from reading

I've been reading fewer books of late.

Don't get me wrong - I love books. I'm usually reading three books at once: a mystery, a slower novel and a nonfiction book to fall asleep to in bed. I finish two books a week. I make more trips to the library than the grocery store.

But lately I've been trying to be more outgoing, pushing aside my shyness and meeting more people.

Which does take time away from book-reading.

Sometimes I'm convinced books are more fascinating than people. But sometimes I find those I meet more fun and interesting. And more enriching to my life.

And so a new book has sat, unopened, by my computer for a week.

It gives me that "Please read me and I'll be your friend forever" look.

But I know it's an empty promise.

When I finish the book, after I take it to parks, my bed, fancy restaurants so I can read it while I look around, impressed and hungry with the smells ... one day I know we will become separate. Alas, our affair will end.


The book will close itself to me forever and ask to be sent back to the library.

I will be left struggling to understand where our relationship went wrong, where the passion went, and whether it or I had become selfish.

In the book deposit box, it will talk about me as if I'm just someone met on the street.

The book will tell how long it took me to read it and how I didn't understand certain words.

Other books will say, "Oh, I hope he doesn't ever want to read me, he sounds so clueless about how to be a good book-lover."

And the book will laugh with them. Yet still secretly treasure the memory of this library user.

Scott Butki covers Washington County government for The Herald-Mail. Send e-mail to him at

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