Not everybody enjoys reading, so inevitably some of us of us bookworms have to share our lives and homes with non-readers. In my case these non-readers are my boyfriend and my dog. Both of them are equally uncomprehending of my need to spend at least some time every single day with my nose buried in a book. Both of them are unwilling, or unable, to listen to my very valid arguments. While my boyfriend has made some thinly veiled threats involving the words fire-kindling, my dog actually took action and ate my copy of Tolkien’s “The Two Towers“.
Throughout the years I have tried and tested several methods to deal with these hostile elements within my home. Some have worked better than others so I decided to share what I have learned.
Nagging him to read a book
Like most people who love reading I am incapable of imagining that a person could not love reading. They must just not have experienced the right book yet. So, unable to help myself I keep telling my boyfreind to read this or that book. “You would love it!” I exclaim with naive enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly my boyfriend has not turned into a voracious reader but instead I turned him from an infrequent reader into an wholehearted non-reader. Psychology 101, do not tell your boyfriend what he should do or should like.
Appealing to the benefits of reading
This method simply implies extolling the virtues of reading at any opportune moment. So, if my boyfriend laments on the troubled state of the world I bring up the benefits of reading as a means of educating people and engendering empathy. I bring up articles I have read about the benefits of reading for keeping the brain fit and improving concentration. I hint at the fact that the only reason his Scrabble winning streak is not uninterrupted is my superior vocabulary and spelling, courtesy of those innumerable pages of written words.
Verdict: no effect detected in subject
And I might want to add that neither of these methods work on dogs.
Pretend I did not hear
After reluctantly accepting that my boyfriend’s soul would be forever condemned to live life without knowing the pleasure of reading I tried a different tactic. I call this the “pretend I did not hear” method. Let’s say it is morning and I am reading while enjoying a cup of tea. I have made it perfectly clear to the two members of my family that this is a sacred moment for me and no distractions are allowed. Imagine further that the furrier member of the family has been waiting impatiently for me to take him out for a walk since I got up. He sits next to me with big sad eyes and lets out the most miserable whine. Well, this is the moment I shut my heart and pretend I did not hear him. When I am reading I am simply not there.
Verdict: effective to a limited degree
Accumulate books in secret
Of course, In addition to being a book worm I am also a book hoarder verging on bibliomaniac. This creates a whole other problem in a relationship. When I look at those shelves brimming with books, I see home. My boyfriend on the other hand sees a mess of variously sized and coloured spines collecting dust. He refuses to see sense when it comes to my favourite hobby, book-shopping. The situation has deteriorated to such a degree that I make secret trips to the bookstore and smuggle books home hidden in my handbag. Then I find a good moment to furtively relocate them into the bookshelf where they are conveniently made invisible by the 1000 relatives surrounding them.
Verdict: quite effective (but still leaves me with the difficulty of convincing my family to give me time to read the books I have purchased).