DISCUSSION: How to Live With a Non-Reader

Growing up, I was never one who read a lot. Sure, I had my favourites, but to actually sit down for an ENTIRE DAY and devour book after book? That just wasn’t me. Of course, NOW I could sit down for a whole week, never leave the house, never turn on the TV, and just read the entire time.

But that’s just me.

I know quite a few people who don’t read. They’ve read books in high school or the odd one here or there, but to them reading isn’t something they do when they sit down to relax.

While I don’t normally get too personal on the blog, I will say this: my husband isn’t a reader. And that’s okay.

Why is this okay? Here are my reasons:

  1. If he read, we probably wouldn’t be reading the same things. Sure, I could still talk about my YA books or the sexy vampire or werewolf in a book, but that would still just be me talking to him much like I do now.
  2. If he read, who would get on my case to, you know, PUT DOWN A BOOK ONCE IN A WHILE? Like I said earlier, I could just read, read, read. Sometimes I need that extra kick in the butt to actually get out of the house and visit the world.
  3. If he read, I probably wouldn’t have discovered so many great TV shows. While I can go a whole week and not watch the TV, I still LOVE certain shows and I love Fall TV when all the new shows come in. Since we both love TV, we can both sit back and relax during the evenings and watch our favourites.
  4. If he read, we would be poor. I mean, I buy a ton of books already – enough books to make my wallet cry. If there were TWO readers in the house, I guess we could use the local library, BUT what if he was someone who liked that shiny new book on the shelf? Welcome to brokesville, my friends.
  5. If he read, who would watch all of the sports? Our Canadian sports teams would SUFFER! No, not really, but with him watching his favourite sports programs, I can go read my favourite books. It’s a win-win.

Of course, there are major benefits to having a spouse who reads, too (or, if you’re not married, say a boyfriend, a roommate, a parent, a sibling, etc.). Things like sharing your views on certain books – maybe a favourite of yours isn’t a favourite of theirs which can lead to a great (or maybe harmful) conversation, or reading the book THEN watching the movie and being able to discuss the differences afterwards.

Do I ever feel like I’m missing out being the only reader in the house? Of course not. Sure, it would be great, but this is why I have the book community, my local library, my friends or members of my family who are readers. All of these people are the people with whom I can discuss my love of books!

So when it comes to you living with that non-reader in your life, be gently and be patient – but most importantly, just be yourself. I still discuss my books a lot with my husband, I get majorly flaily over certain things happening in books or if I get a super awesome book or bookish surprise in the mail, I still tell him some of the differences from the book to a movie, and I still rant to him about bookish topics or the latest and greatest releases that I think are duds.

As in any relationship, it’s all about accepting each other for who they are and I think we’re doing that swimmingly.

Do you live with a non-reader? Is it an issue or a non-issue? 

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.

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29 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: How to Live With a Non-Reader

  1. My husband isn’t a big reader – but he does like his epic fantasies. It’s not really an issue because I think we should each have our own passions. But it has been nice when we have read the same book or series, and then talked about it.

  2. We would be broke – haha that one is so true. D isn’t a reader either, and I’m fine t with that! I agree that it would be great to be able to debate with him about books but there is no way he would be reading all the YA I read (the adult horror would be much more up his alley) but it is nice to be able to finish up your reading and go sit on the couch and get lost in a show. Great post Kristilyn!

    • Ha ha … yes! And that’s so true, even having a spouse who reads doesn’t guarantee that they’ll read the same books as you. I kind of like keeping it to myself (& my blogging friends!).

  3. My hubs only reads graphic novels, and he rolls his eyes whenever I start book-talk. I’m trying to get my kids to be voracious readers – I think my daughter is headed the right way, but my boys…. not so much 😦 I like to think that If I’m the only reader, the shelves are mine, and I get to arrange them my way, and I don’t have to share!!

    • I had a lady come to the library today looking for books in a Rick Riordin series because her son LOVES the series and she was just thrilled that he was reading, so it was nice to recommend some OTHER books he might like. Must be a boy thing.

      Though you’re right — at least they’re YOUR shelves. 🙂

      • My oldest does love Percy Jackson, and my younger son likes a dragon series called Fire Within, but that’s it!! They won’t try something new unless school makes them read it :/

      • That’s sad. BUT there are a lot of people much older who are the same way. Unless it’s super hyped about, or unless they read it for studies, they’re not going to read. Sad books. 😦

  4. My boyfriend is a non-reader so when we lived together/when we move in together again (grr long distance sucks!), I’ll have to remember how I got in enough reading time. I’m not one to spend an entire day reading because I simply don’t have time. I’m a student, so I spend a whole day doing work, and then the evening reading if I’m lucky! My boyfriend is always fine listening to whatever crazy book I’m reading and letting me read while he watches sports, since I’m not as much of a watch sports on TV person. Basically, I agree, just be patient and figure it out 😀

    • I’m not a sports person, either. When hockey comes back it’ll be great because then I’ll read more in the evenings! It’s hard to find the time when you both don’t do the same thing, you’re right!

  5. My bf is not a reader. Although he will occasionally find a series he enjoyed, then he will stay up until 3am every night until he finishes it, then read nothing for like a year. But I would miss out on lots of great TV if it weren’t for him.

    • I can’t imagine having reading habits like that. I kind of like always having a book on the go! But you’re so right — I don’t think I would’ve found so many good TV shows without my hubs!

  6. My boyfriend is a video gamer (and a non-reader, mostly–he did get me to read Harry Potter and The Hunger Games) and that kind of presents a whole bunch of different issues, especially when he’s playing with other people. But. I like that we have our own things. As long as we have other things we do together, it’s all good. 🙂

    • Yes! Hubs and I have lots of things we do together and that’s great, but when hockey season rolls around or when he’s watching Ninja Assassin for the millionth time, I can go and read my books. It’s nice!

  7. My husband is trying to read a book per month this year, but they’re mostly non-fiction. I recommend books to him, and give him my books to read, but he rarely does. It does sort of hurt, kind of like the non-reading of the blog – if I recommend a book, it’s not an offhand thing, I actually think you will get something out of it. So try it!!!

    We moved last year and our new house has a gas fireplace. We both love reading in front of it. So that’s one thing we can share!

    • That’s great that your hubs does read a bit! I tried with mine, but now I just deal with him not being a reader. We can’t all love the same things!

      I LOVE reading in front of the fireplace!

  8. My boyfriend is a big reader so I don’t have the same issues (and benefits!) as you. I even get him to read a lot of my books and he really likes them, too (thankfully I like a lot of male narrated, romance-lite books, so I have a good selection for him to work with)! I wouldn’t say our life is overrun by reading because we’re both readers though, thankfully!

  9. My hubs isn’t a reader either. My reading babysits me through hours of sports and reality TV or when he is writing songs. I think he would still prefer that I sit and stare at him and demand “play me another song”. I do share reading with The Kid in the house. She kind bridges the gap. Reads, but loves snuggling up with dad on the couch to watch The Voice or Hell’s Kitchen. He probably could write a very interesting post on living with me. Like on how the house is a mess or I don’t workout or while he is talking I’m sneaking glances at my book.

    • YES! I’m the same, when hockey is on. Or golf. Or football. Or any other sport he watches.

      That’s funny, though, because I’m a songwriter, too. I would love for hubs to be all, “Play me something!” but he’s not. And I don’t mind. I like keeping my piano and songs to myself. 🙂

      And I’m glad I’m not the only one who sneaks glances at my book when I think hubs isn’t watching … I do it on car rides, too. I’m sure it’s annoying.

  10. My hubs isn’t a reader either – unless you count the newspaper and the odd non-fiction book. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be married/dating someone that not only reads as much as I do or reads the same types of books! Sometimes I wish my husband was this person haha, but I’ve accepted that he isn’t and never will be.

    The biggest reason why I’d like for him to be a big reader and have a love for reading like I do, is so that he can *understand* why sometimes I just want to read a book and NOT watch a movie, or go out, or go to bed when he is…while he is very understanding of my book habits and book reading, sometimes he doesn’t *get* it and that can be frustrating! Like he always says to me: “ANOTHER book? Don’t you ever take a break in between books?! Relax, take a day off hun.” LOL. I always respond with – “NO, do you take a break in between watching movies or TV shows?” *SIGH*. 🙂

    • I TOTALLY get that. I think my hubs has come to understand my love of books and just goes about his own thing when I say a book is too insanely good that I MUST keep reading it and can’t watch a TV show or that I have to stay up to finish.

      It’d be nice for hubs to relate, but when hockey season comes around I think he gets it. He looks forward to the games and stays up cheering for his favourite teams, so I think it’s vaguely similar. 🙂

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