Our Reading Lives

On Having Non-Reader Friends and Relatives

This is a guest post from Dana Rosette Pangan. Dana works at an online tutorial company in the Philippines and lives on books, coffee, fandoms, and cuteness.

Isn’t it a most wonderful feeling to be surrounded by people who love books as much as you do?

Well, I wouldn’t know. When I talk about books to some people I know, their eyes turn glassy and their faces take on that blank expression which I think is the non-verbal equivalent of “Somebody please kill me.”

Sometimes, if friends or relatives would visit—because apparently people still do that at this day and age—they would see my bookshelves and be like, “Wow, you’ve read all of those?” And it would occur to me that these people—whom I love and respect and totally do not judge—are non-readers.


                                                 TaniaVdB | Pixabay


I mean, they certainly have a vague idea of what a book is and what it does, and on a good day they might have possibly cracked open one, but, unlike me, they can pass by a bookstore without salivating like a Pavlovian dog. They don’t look at books the way a dog looks at bacon. They don’t sniff books the way a police dog sniffs at suspicious bags in airports. They don’t buy more books before finishing the ones they already own, hoarding books like a dog hoards bones. Okay, I may have gone too far with the dog simile, but the point is that they don’t feel the same way as I do about dogs. Books. I meant books.


For goodness’ sake, get out of my head!

It makes me wonder what they do with all that free time not spent on reading books. (Probably boring stuff like doing taxes, mowing the lawn, being a responsible adult, etc.)

This the-venn-diagram-of-my-interests-and-that-of-others-is-two-circles thing makes family dinners a bit dull—because you’re more concerned about Bilbo’s journey to find the dwarves’ treasure than Aunt Martha’s new potted plant—and conversations with friends quite limited—because you really need a shoulder to cry on after your new favorite character died, but good luck telling them that.

And this is why I’m forever grateful for the Internet, with which you can fill the void left by your family and friends who don’t read. Online you can join bookish communities and talk about books and authors and movie adaptations, all to your heart’s content, and no one will look at you like you’ve just been possessed by Shakespeare’s ghost (which would have been awesome, by the way).


             WikiImages | Pixabay


You can read countless bookish articles and lists. You can join online book clubs, which are like regular book clubs but do not require eye contact. You can read book reviews and even write your own! Or, at least, you can do these things if you can tear yourself away from your book long enough to do so.

How about you? Do you have non-reader family members and friends? Does this affect your reading experience?