Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Nightstands and Reading Habits

It seems to me that the objects on a person’s nightstand can be pretty revealing. Take mine, for instance. I have two alarm clocks (one typical electric clock-radio and one battery-operated old-fashioned alarm clock just in case the power goes out) and the book I am currently reading. On the shelf below, there is a large basket of books that I intend to read soon and want on hand when I finish my current read. On the floor, there are a more books that won’t fit in my to-be-read basket. My husband has rather different taste. On his nightstand, there are two remote controls, a couple of books on real estate, a couple on sports and Freakonomics.

I guess that there are two types of people: those who love to read and those who don’t understand the first type. It doesn’t take much to entertain me and my preferred type of entertainment is quite portable. I could spend hours reading in any relatively quiet place—the couch, the bed, the car, the beach, the back porch. My hubby, however, quickly grows impatient with books and his book choices tend to be more practically oriented—geared to learning a skill, perfecting a hobby, understanding the economy. When I am found with a book, he is usually found relaxing in front of the TV. Maybe this has to do with the imagination. I love forming images in my head of the characters and places that I read about. This relaxes me, diverts me, and provides an escape from what may be on my mind. I find the TV over stimulating—the light, the noise, the commercials—but, I think that some people must find comfort in having ready-made images provided for them and being able to see the action. Maybe imagining what the words describe takes too much effort. Or maybe these are simply habits that we unconsciously acquire as we grow up. I was often sick as a child and remember spending lots of time inside reading. My husband rarely was ill and was very active, constantly playing outside. No time to sit down and read meant that he didn’t develop the habit. And old habits die hard, don’t they? So, in the evenings he watches TV (and yes, occasionally his bad TV does catch my attention) while I curl up beside him with a book. And this works for us.

Review of The Book of Lost Things tomorrow. C'est promis!


Shannon said...

I am right with you on the whole TV vs books thing!!! Give me a book anyday! I too enjoy making the images of the story I am reading in my mind...watching TV leaves very little to the imagination.