No One Ever Died From Reading Too Much…

At least, not that I know. It’s a phrase I repeat to myself with each new book I begin reading. Just to put the amount of reading I do into perspective …

Last summer, someone who shall remain nameless and who does not really know me at all, told me that my problem is I read too much and need to find myself a new hobby. You can imagine how that made me feel. (In case you’re wondering, my snappy comeback was that I thought I wasn’t reading near enough as I could be reading … That was met with a blank stare.)

So, instead of heeding her suggestion, I began to read even more than I had up until then. My entire life has been about books and reading: studying them, selling them, representing them to bookstores and libraries, promoting them, and now even writing them myself.
It’s no surprise I prefer the company of books (and their authors and other readers) over someone like this “someone”. Actually, I believe this person figured I was being selfish of my time – I’ve been accused of this before – in choosing not to be sociable by joining the crowd for chit-chat, but instead sequestering myself away with my ever-growing reading list.

Or, perhaps it’s a case of me being too kind to this person, who has declared publicly that she never reads. Maybe the fact I spend so much of my time reading and am so very well-read makes her feel somewhat inadequate, because she chooses, for whatever reason, not to read books at all. So she blames me for making her look bad and I am responsible for her own failure to match up to me and what I choose to do with my own life.

Who knows.

This is all a long preamble to tell my blog readers I am changing tack and heading in a new direction in what I write about here.

READING will now become the focus, and I plan to write a series of posts on various aspects of the subject, both from my own perspective and that of other readers. My recent blog post, How to Help an Author received an incredible number (for me) of views, likes, shares, and reblogs – plus many comments, so I can see I’m heading in the right direction with this idea. (I’ve been trying to get this series going for a long time now … This time for sure, Rocky!)

I won’t be discussing any longer the issues of how to write, edit, get published, or promote books. I believe I’ve written myself out on those topics and there are plenty of old posts in the archives of this blog, in case anyone is still interested in reading what I’ve had to say. Besides, many other bloggers and websites continue to offer great advice. I’ll leave it up to them to tell you how it’s all done.

But I see little to no information on reading books – both from the perspective of readers and authors (who should always be readers as well, right?). I plan to cover the “Who, What, Where, When and Why”s of reading, as well as “How” we read. I hope readers of this blog will join in on the discussion and add their thoughts about their own reading habits.

I have a funny feeling that, rather than me seeming like an oddity for the number of books I “consume” as a matter of course in my life, I’m going to discover I am far from alone, and that many other readers approach reading in the same way I do …

45 responses

  1. What a bizarre thing to say, ‘you read too much’. I’ve had people tell me that in the past myself. Said I was too posh because I was reading books and that someone didn’t like to read either. I think it’s a jealousy thing πŸ˜‰
    Will be interested to read your new posts about reading πŸ™‚

  2. Love the quote – and post – and the comment.
    People now just look at you as if you have two heads if you read all the time. As if you should be pitied for a sad life.
    Before publishing, I was totally involved reading- how the brain learns the skill, interprets the symbols, and processes the information – and how instruction should be molded for various populations/brain damage/dyslexics of differing levels. All I can say is while progress monitoring can make a difference, but the obsession with data is on the wrong track. The joy of reading is being destroyed by those chasing benchmarks. When the last stronghold of literature and reading for enjoyment, the school libraries, have been instructed to create “lessons” to reinforce the targeted skills – I knew we – and literature – were in real trouble.
    Can’t wait to see what you discover. Reading from perspective of reader and authors – cool!

  3. Reading too much? No such thing!

    I’m excited about your new focus for your blog and I’m looking forward to your reader-oriented articles!

    1. Thanks for your continuing support, Tricia!

  4. Only someone who hasn’t discovered all the knowledge and worlds that are opened up by reading could ever make a comment like that. I feel sorry for that person, because he/she has a very narrow perspective on the world! You are definitely right – a person can NEVER read enough! I choose to do so as well and have found it so satisfying to fill my brain with interesting topics rather than the drivel that permeates much of today’s TV programming.

  5. Great post! So well said. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  6. One of the problems with being an avid reader is that so many people don’t read so it’s hard to find people with whom to discuss what you’re reading.

    1. Exactly true! I wish there were a way to organize a virtual get-together to discuss as you suggest – not as a book club, but as though friends were taking a walk together, talking, and one says, “I just finished reading this great book by So-and-So,” without any fear of receiving silence and a blank stare from the other. Thanks for your comment!

      1. You’re welcome! I did have an easier time of finding people with whom to talk books back when I was in school and at past jobs where there were literary co-workers. My problem now is that I’m a long way from school and currently between jobs.

      2. I know what you mean – and I am now geographically removed from most of my reading friends. I’m hoping this new series of mine will generate enough interest that readers like you and me will jump in and take part in the discussion and talk about what we’re currently reading… no matter where they happen to live in the world. Happy to have you on board, Robert!

      3. And thank you for having me, Susan! Looking forward to discussing.

  7. If you want to offer a credible opinion in social media … as is so common these days , it makes sense you must increase your prior knowledge by being an avid reader.

  8. Reblogged this on suzannebowditch and commented:
    Such a good post

  9. So sad when I hear about people who don’t read. Oddly enough, I never realized until I began writing and publishing books that the people in my own circles have no interest in reading. What the heck are these people doing in my orbit? πŸ™‚

  10. Too late. There have been a LOT of books.

  11. There is no such thing as reading too much, and why would someone brag about not reading? One might as well say, “I’m an ignorant fool.”

  12. Most young people in college here seem to only read books in their chosen field. That’s better than not reading but I think they miss a lot of fun. It could be due to the lack of as many libraries and genre books as in the west. —- Suzanne

    1. I’ll be covering this in “What” we read. Specialization has become part of our society, but rather than making people generally smarter, it narrows down their focus too much, in my opinion.

  13. Also, reading too much? No such thing. Utterly ridiculous.

  14. Now there’s a catchy blog title!

  15. Looking forward to reading these posts, Susan. Love the Annie Dillard quote – that sums me up. Another favourite quotation is from Louisa May Alcott – ‘she is too fond of books and it has turned her brain’. It always surprises me when people say they never read.

    1. And this from Mark Twain: β€œThe man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

  16. Anytime someone says, “I don’t have to read,” I promptly stop talking to them. Why should I waste my time on them when they not only don’t read books (how can someone not read books?) but brag about it as if to show how frickin’ busy they are. Anyway, good for you for keeping up the reading. It’s kind of scary how many writers don’t read as much as they should/could. I’ve been reading more this year and it’s such a comfort, isn’t it? It’s kind of a salvation at times. P.S. Can’t wait to see your new blog direction.

  17. I treat people who say they don’t read with the same suspicion as those who say they only like one sort of music.

  18. Great Susan and look forward to the posts. The ability to read, is in my opinion, a basic human right. It takes people from survival to living. Being able to read changes peoples perspective on the world and allows us to see the other persons point of view. It is a gift that many, as your acquaintance shows all too clearly, squander. You are right to put this gift front and centre.. Sally

  19. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    More from Susan πŸ˜‰

  20. I’d rather be accused of reading too much than too little Susan. Being well read is a plus when it comes to writing…

    1. A necessity for being able to write well!

  21. Sounds like this will make for interesting … reading!

    I hope what you have to say about it won’t reveal that I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. But I can always use advice on how to read a little bit faster. For some reason I can’t read much faster than I think, so Moby Dick would take a year to get through. (Kidding!)

    Good luck with the new tack!

    1. I’m reminded of a quote from the great (yet unknown) movie, Reuban Reuban: “I, for example, would like to read Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night as slowly as possible. In fact, I would pay vast sums for anyone to teach me to read the books I love at a snail’s pace.”

      I believe, Mr. Brennan, this sentiment is more in keeping with your approach to reading … Am I correct? πŸ™‚

      Here’s a link to the complete quote and more info about that movie.

      Thanks for reading along!

      1. Heh heh. Possibly!

        I’d really like to see that movie again. I remember loving it when I saw it back in the day (and not just because I liked Kelly McGillis way too much …), but you can’t get it on DVD now. No idea why.

        There’s a popular slow-food movement. Why not a slow-reading movement?

      2. I’m so happy to hear that you also saw and enjoyed this movie!

  22. I once made a really bad faux pas with one of my very affluent clients that I treated as a massage therapist. The client was a quadriplegic as the result of his sixteenth aviation accident – he flew recreational WWll planes like Spitfires and Hurricanes. Perhaps a poor choice of hobby for him. When he told me that he didn’t read, I must have revealed by pitiful facial expression a sense of “oh my God, then what do you do to fill your life?” He commented that he was not ready for the scrap heap. It’s just that at this time, I can’t conceive of a life without books.

  23. I love that Annie Dillard quote – perfect. I was always the one ‘with her head stuck in a book’ but luckily it was said with affection and a certain amount of pride. Both my parents were avid readers. The only time it was a problem was when I had measles and my mother was convinced I’d damage my eyes if I read. I hid under the blankets with a torch!
    Your new blog series sounds interesting.

  24. I smell the tea, lol!! Very much looking forward to your upcoming series. I’ll be on the lookout πŸ‘€.

  25. LOL Yes, it would have. πŸ™‚

  26. Hello, fellow reader. I’ve been told I’m wasting my time reading too. Hey, it is her loss. I read every night right before bedtime. I love books and have quite a few favorite authors. I’m a published author as well. I love writing and do it most days. There’s something wonderfully magical about writing a story and seeing it form on the page.

  27. bettyjanehegerat

    I think my response which of course I wouldn’t have come up with until “someone” had walked away: A pat on the arm, “Oh, poor you, all those books you’ve missed. But it’s never too late to start!” My on the spot response would be an incredulous dropping of the jaw. πŸ™‚

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