How reading can unite mankind – one book at a time

Can I have a look at your paper when you've finished, mate? Image:Pixabay

Can I have a look at your paper when you’ve finished, mate? Image:Pixabay

I’ve talked before about judging someone’s personality by the contents of their bookshelves. But I’m not finished judging there. I’ve got a whole ocean of judging welling up inside me, ready to slosh over into a fresh blog post. Want me to prove it? Okay, here goes.

I like people a little more if they read books … And I like them a little less if they don’t.

I suppose it’s not much of a surprise I love fellow readers as I’m someone whose life can be measured in the books they’ve read and especially – if you were feeling cynical, and hey, it’s a Monday, we’re all entitled to feel a twinge of grumbly old git on a Monday – you might say it’s especially because I’m an aspiring writer that I love to see people read.

I mean, every sad, tragic, hollow human being who would rather watch YouTube vids of other people playing computer games than read a great book, is one less potential reader for my as yet unpublished canon of classic literature.

And as a side note, I can’t quite believe that people spend hourse doing this – watching footage of other people gaming. Surely, if we look hard enough, we’ll find this in Revelation, besides the many headed beasties and men riding Pale Horses … ‘And lo, the land will o’erflow with Peeping Toms on a landscape that exists not in our world. And their will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth …’

Any-hoo, it’s not my own revenue I see sailing down the proverbial Swannie. It’s just, each time I see the girl who lives near me who risks tripping over raised pavements slabs and stepping in slithering Everests of dog mess so she can walk and still read her book – it makes me smile.

Each time I sit on the bus and see a fellow traveller with their nose tucked in one of those old fashioned, leafy, papery things – what did we call them? Oh, yeah, books – instead of dashing through fb posts or thier Twitter feed or abusing the bus driver, it makes me feel just a tiny bit happier.

Because I know what it is to be them.

I know that even if they’re young enough to be my kid, old enough to have edited the original Revelation, if they loathe chocolate (weirdos) or own a cabal of cats that hunt down every native songbird within a ten mile radius and gives them no more rebuke than a ‘Naughty kitty’ for their sins (evil) – we have a deep and meanful shared experience.

We both know what it’s like to lose hours in a book, to never really want to return, to have a writer transport them away from the bus and the old lady sitting next to them who smells vaguely of wee.

We’ve both been on that same journey.

And in a busy, crazy world, where we seem to notice the differences more than we feel the similarities, anything that unifies is a grand and beautiful thing. 


Are you like me – do you distrust people who don’t read? Or are you less of a judgemental old woman and love them anyway? Let me know what you think.

26 thoughts on “How reading can unite mankind – one book at a time

  1. I do find people who do not read a bit odd, alien, foreign…
    Why on earth would you not want to emmerse yourself in another world, meet new characters, learn their stories?
    I know a book is special when I can’t read it fast enough, but at the same time I dread reaching the final page… You know those ones? It’s like saying goodbye to a friend when you finish a great book.
    I was actually online juts a few minutes ago reserving some new ones at my local library, (I make them work hard for me!) and am looking forward to getting my mitts on them.
    Just a side note…. I have kindle books on my iPad but I haven’t actually read them. It just doesn’t feel the same as holding those pages in your hands. I doubt I’ll change my mind about this.
    Kat x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, lovely – you’ve summed it all up there, petal! I just don’t get why people choose to miss out on that experience. It’s one of the best things a human being can do – be lost in their own or someone else’s imagination.
      Only ever looked at other people’s Kindles, never owned one. I have nothing against them – I just like books more. It’s the same feeling as holding a CD compared to downloading – there’s no feeling of ownership. One click of a button and it can be as if you never had that experience.
      I think I might just be an old fart, though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes. I’m totally nannish – I asked for fleecy socks and wrist warmers for my birthday – oh, and pyjamas. I do love being snug 🙂 Don’t do downloads – seen my other half swearing over synching his ipod too often to bother going there 🙂

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      2. Well, submitting work is not for the faint of heart – at some point you will be rejected and it does hurt. But it gets easier. And I’d be very happy to look over anything you wanted to send for spelling mistakes etc. I can be your alpha reader 🙂

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      3. Thank you for that offer! I’ll definitely keep it mind and I’d happily return the favour.
        I once got publiished on Huff Post women’s section but the dashboard/admin was so awful I never bothered again.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks love. Yes, I read that. It was a really good piece and I remember being very impressed – Huff Post, ooh hark at her, they’ll be no talking to her now. 🙂 I’m surprised to hear you haven’t submitted much else – I assumed reading that that you had a track record of published bits and bobs 🙂 You could try a Myslexia blog pitch. I guess I’m biased as I’m writing for them at the mo, but they’ve been lovely – very supportive and positive and they use WordPress so you’ll already know the tech side of it inside out.
        https://mslexia.co.uk/submit-your-work/

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    1. Yes, I confess there are many nights I don’t read much, drifting off to sleep before I’ve managed to read more than a couple of pages. But never reading at all? It’s an odd idea to me. Thanks, Lauren

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  2. I remember my late father-in-law asking whether the books on my shelves — each of which I’d deliberately acquired — had been bought “as a job lot”, presumably at an auction or jumble sale. Nothing sums up a bibliophobe more than an inability to understand what drives bibliophiles to read. His few shelves were essentially filled with bibles and bible commentaries, as though the ‘Good Book’ encompassed everything one could possibly want to know. I have a bible and some books on religion, but they represent less than 1% of my book hoard.

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    1. What a very odd question to ask someone. Did he think your book choice suggested something deviant about your personality? 🙂 I’ve met a handful of people who never read any fiction – all men, weirdly. One claimed fiction was a ‘total waste of time’. Well, perhaps you could say he’s right, but man has been creative for our entire history – there’s something about the creative process and its outcomes that we need to make us human. And without imagination we can’t invent and without that we’d be truly scuppered as a race. My step father just reads books about trucks – model ones, real ones – odd, in my opinion. I think there a a lot of people who feel you only need one book in your life – koran, bible whichever. I think they’re missing some great reads 🙂

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      1. “Curiouser and curiouser” — I think we all seek some amount of certainty in our lives, don’t we, but some (like my father-in-law) get all the certainty they think they need from a sacred text, or from the workings of the combustion engine, or whatever. But for some of us — you and I for example? — certainty is never finite, never as solid as the proverbial ground we stand on. We are perpetually curious — about humans, science, fantasy, crotchet, myth, etymology, entomology, epistemology, eccentricities — and books partly help satisfy our cravings while exposing new experiences to explore. It’s one way, an exemplary way, to escape the rat-trap of life; anyone who disses the lure of books has closed up shop on the human imagination. To my way of thinking, Lynn, anyway!

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      2. A grand way of putting it. Yes, I’m baffled when I meet people whose minds never step further than work-home-football (other sports and hobbies are available). Who just aren’t interested in anything outside of their daily experience. It’s a peculiar mindset. There’s so much going on in the world, so much that has happened or will happen – how can someone be disinterested in all of that? I’m not claiming I retain a great deal of what I hear and read – but then, it’s good fun relearning it at a later date 🙂

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