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Married to a non-reader

February 9, 2010

My husband majored in English literature. He sat with me in our high school’s junior Honors and senior AP English classes. He is incredibly literate and knowledgeable about books. He counts Moby Dick as the best book of all time. And he’ll be the first to tell you that he can count all the books he’s read (excluding children’s books and Harry Potter) on one hand. 

Yes, that’s right. 5 books. It’s shocking on multiple levels. Granted, that might be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. The guy just doesn’t like to read.

Here are some things he does like to do: Write, read blogs related to the Giants or the 49ers, play basketball, watch sports on television, create multiple simulation teams on, manage his fantasy teams, sing the March Madness theme at full-volume into his friend’s cell-phone voicemail inboxes. He also likes to watch LOST with me, win at board games, and mock me without hesitation. That’s okay — I’m worthy of mocking. I’ve accepted this lot in life. 

Magellan & Bruce Campbell -- two of only a handful of books I've seen Matt read in the seven years we've been a couple. An odd pairing.


I have tried to encourage Matt’s reading. One year I gave him a book on Magellan for Christmas. He actually read it. And now, five years later, he still brings up random Magellan facts. (Did you know they ate penguins and thought they were chickens? Really slow chickens? No? Me neither. Until Matt read the Magellan book.) This foray into non-fiction prompted a Powell’s visit that yielded a handful of other non-fiction reads. It also prompted me telling people gift ideas for Matt that included, “Good non-fiction!”

And my husband is the worst person to buy presents for in the history of present buying. So, if I tell people that he’s taken an interest in non-fiction books, it’s a miracle. Non-fiction books start raining down en masse. It’s like our families breathe a collective sigh and say, “Finally!! Something we can actually buy him! Thank the Lord!” How was I to know that this was a short-lived love affair?

Of course, you know what that means. Sitting on our bookshelves are the following books unread by Matt:

I have purchased some of these for Matt. Some were gifts. All are unread.


– Bobby Fischer Goes to War

– The Great Mortality

– Infamous Scribblers

– The Concise History of the Vikings

– Tales from the Yankees Dugout

– America’s Hidden Histories

– The Bounty

– Coach Wooden One-on-One

– The Secret Life of Houdini

And we’ve acquired all of those since we’ve been married. So, we’re looking at almost two books for every year of marriage that are unwrapped, flipped through, and set aside for me to pick up and read later. This 80 books (PLUS book club books and the books I’m reading before/with/to my students) has made me realize that Matt needs a reading challenge too. So, tonight I’m going to make him pick two of these books to read. Just two in 2010. NOT EVEN ALL OF THEM!! Just two!! I’ll keep you updated on which one he picks. I might even make him write reviews. Oh…he is so going to hate me for this blog post.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    February 15, 2010 10:24 pm

    I am shocked. Just shocked. Christopher Robin, how could you? Sure, I’m an English major who somehow never read “Moby Dick” or any Dante, and I hate William Faulkner, but I still love to read. Did he fake his way through our Honors and AP classes? If so, then well done… very convincing. But still! How can you major in English and not like to read?

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