Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! I hope we all take a moment to reflect on the cause for which he died and realize just how far we still need to go to truly gain equality for all. For those of you who are lucky enough to get the day off of work, I hope you enjoy it to its fullest. For those of us who still have to work, well, hopefully the day will be quiet and relatively stress-free.
On to this week’s Musing Mondays, hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page…, and a chance to get our brain working again after the weekend!
Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tidy reading around people.When is it inappropriate to read in front of others? Is it ever appropriate?
I’ve never given this much thought actually but upon reflection, I realize that there are certain situations where I feel very uncomfortable picking up a book. I have no problems reading in public. I am actually trying to do it more often, sitting at the salon, waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting in the car, and so forth. I wish more people would do this because then I wouldn’t have to listen to their inane chatter as they desperately try to fill the time by talking to friends on their cell phones.
However, I do feel uncomfortable reading in front of friends and family members when I am a guest of theirs. For example, we stayed with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for the holidays. I brought many books with me in addition to my computer and my study materials knowing that there would be plenty of time to read, study, and stay caught up on my blog. However, once we got down there, I found I only brought out the computer or one of my books whenever my sister-in-law ran errands or while my brother-in-law was at work. I felt uncomfortable reading in front of them because they are not big readers and because I felt that while I was there, I should keep them company and engage in conversation with them. I do not normally feel like that; in fact, I wish more people were comfortable with sitting in silence because it brings people closer together, in my opinion. Still, when we got home, I was surprised at how little I had read and how far behind I was on my blog. I did the same thing staying with my brother and sister-in-law over Thanksgiving. The funny thing is that they all know I am an avid reader. Yet, I feel like every time they see me reading, they think I am being deliberately rude and exclusionary when really, I am just trying to fill some quiet time with a pastime I enjoy!
So, my thinking is that at least for me, I find it rude to read in front of family members and friends, whereas it is perfectly okay to do so in front of strangers. How does everyone else feel about this? Have others experienced something similar? Do you let it really bother you? How about when others read in front of you?
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Jodie – You bring up an interesting point. I've been on business trips with co-workers who think nothing of opening up their laptop and checking e-mail or doing some work while I've been sitting right next to them. How is that different from opening a book? Is checking work e-mail more acceptable than reading next to a co-worker on a shared flight?
My parents are readers, or at least my dad will usually be reading papers etc I'd never read when we're at the dinner table now like I did when I was much younger. And I read on public transport, how else would I pass the time after I get tired of looking out the window. However I rarely read around people who aren't big readers when I travel on public transport with them because it makes me feel as if I'm abandoning them or something – the exception being very long flights, I'd go crazy otherwise.
Elisabeth Marie – I think with my family, I am more okay with reading in front of them than I am with my in-laws. My family has known me for 33 years. My in-laws have only known me for fifteen, and even then, our time together has been limited. I agree it could be a tremendous conversation started, and I have tried that trick. Unfortunately, with my in-laws, they just look at me like I'm crazy.
Ceri – I did do that. Whenever they turned on the TV or watched a movie, I jumped online or pulled out a book. But that was the only time I felt comfortable reading in front of them. I agree that watching TV or a movie is not true socializing!
Caite – You are right. If they are readers too, then I feel more comfortable reading in front of them. Unfortunately, most of them are not but rather are big talkers…
Booksnyc – If more of my relatives would whip out a book for reading time, then I might get along with them better! 😉
And I agree – I can't understand how people bear to sit around waiting without something to read.
I'm fine with reading in front of anyone. If it's my family they know not to take it personally, and if it's a stranger, perhaps it could be used as a good conversation starter, if they care to know you anyway.
I think I'm pretty much exactly the same as you.
It takes half an hour to get from my house to work each day (by train) so I read at the station and while on the train every day. If I'm waiting for an appointment or any situation like that when I'm on my own, I feel fine about picking up a book.
If I'm with friends and family, I'll probably never pick up my book UNLESS they're also busy. If we're together to spend time together, I'd feel awfully rude if I picked up a book. I'd probably feel the same if someone else did it too. The exception comes if they're getting on with other things too or watching TV, etc. and we're not really 'socialising' in that way. 🙂
maybe it is easier if they are big readers too and understand it better…
This is a great topic for discussion. Personally, I have been and am now almost always comfortable reading in public – waiting rooms, subway, buses, trains, planes, airports – books make them all so much more bearable.
In others homes is a little more tricky – I agree with you. I bring books when I am a guest in others homes but reserve my reading for when I am lying in bed before sleep or as I have just woken up. I think I would feel rude reading while my hosts were up and about – I would be inclined to keep them company and chat. Now if they whipped out a book for some reading time I would happily join them!