I Just Have To Shake My Head Sometimes…


I haven’t ranted in a while (probably since this and this) but this is has  been a long time coming…

I’ll set the scene…

I’m reading a really great book on the train back from BEA (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell actually). Minding my own business. Clearly really into my book. This guy decides he is going to try to chat me up…by starting off with “How’s the book?” which I clearly was like 2 pages into. I’m like “I don’t know..I just started it” as I am STILL STARING at the book avoiding eye contact to discourage further conversation. And then he continues to try to make small talk with me despite my very short answers and my bitchy facial expressions I know I was shooting him.



You know, I wasn’t DOING ANYTHING. I swear sometimes people think I’m reading a book because I have NOTHING BETTER TO DO. That, by reading a book, I’m actually holding a sign that says “PLEASE TALK TO ME. I’M SO BORED & YOUR SMALL TALK WILL SAVE ME FROM CRUSHING BOREDOM.”

What is it about reading a book that makes people think it is ok to interrupt you and completely disregard what you are doing?


It’s not even just strangers. I have family members who do this too. I’m okay with a “hey..let me know  when you are  finished your page or whatever so I can tell you something” or a quick interruption (Will is really good about this).  But I’m not okay with launching into a full on conversation with me when I’m trying to read without AT LEAST acknowledging the fact you KNOW I’m trying to read but want to tell me something. It’s as if they walk into the room and think I’m doing absolutely nothing.

As a reader,  I’m not TRYING to be anti-social or ignore you but, rather, I’m spending some time doing something I enjoy. As with any activity, when I’m done, I will happily converse with you. It’s just kiiiiinda rude to ignore the fact I’m reading and not take that into consideration before you launch into your hour long story. I’m not reading because I have a severe lack of anything else to do.

So, please, people who don’t read…STOP interrupting people who are reading. They aren’t bored. They aren’t looking for something else to do. Your attempt at conversation is not going to be well received.


Unless mayyyybe you are trying to talk about books because you also read and loved the book I’m reading and then maybe I won’t lose it.


Does this happen to you guys? Is it strangers or family members or both? Tell me your stories and how you deal!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. People ALWAYS interrupt me while I’m reading, especially my family. My mom will talk to me, I’ll sigh and roll my eyes, and she’ll say “Okay, okay.” Not even five minutes later, she’s talking to me again. I AM READING CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY. They don’t get it.

    Great post!

  2. This happened to me a lot at school, and during my angsty teenage years, I actually recall snapping at people to leave me alone (Middle school was rough). To be fair, I was also really bad about doing this when my mom is reading, still am sometimes. But I don’t really read that much in public anymore, so my problem is mainly confined to family members.

  3. THIS THIS THIS!!! Omg I read on my lunch break all the time and everyone always takes that as a cue to: ask what I’m reading, how is it, what’s it about, is it any good, why am I reading, how many books have I read… Blah blah blah. everyone, just shut uuuuuup!

    Recently on twitter I started posting more about my reading habits and I get a lot of people asking me how I have so much time to read. Uh, I MAKE TIME. It’s like everyone thinks that I suddenly don’t have a job or life because I read so much. Or that I’m a sad, bored person.

    I guess that’s just it tho. The image of people reading is that they just have nothing better to do… which is so sad!

  4. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME when I rode the bus to and from university. My strategy was to pop on headphones, which didn’t have to even be hooked up to anything. That way, when people talked to me, I could just ignore them and they’d think it was the music and I couldn’t hear them. It also doubled as a buffer to somewhat block out those annoying people who talk on their cell phones at top volume and discuss not-for-public-conversation-topics, such as their sex lives.

  5. SERIOUSLY. Sometimes, I feel like I need to have a sign on the back of my book that says – please do not disturb unless (1) you’re family/friends and have legitimate reason to chat with me, (2) it’s really a life-or-death/emergency situation or (3) you’re offering me food or drink or cash or books.

    I’ve always got my nose in a book – on car trips, on planes, in waiting lounges, while waiting in line, at home, just EVERYWHERE. My family is really good about not interrupting me unless we’re going to go and do something together, or they need to ask me something important. Macky is great at this too, as he recognizes that if I’m reading something great, I want to be left alone. My friends are a little less thoughtful, but they do respect it when I just glance pointedly back at them and return to reading (which happens when they ask me silly things and interrupt).

    But strangers? Unless they’re asking about my book (and I’m happy to tell them about it), I really hate it when they try to make random small talk. It makes me uncomfortable and unhappy and just is something that I don’t particularly LIKE, haha.

  6. OH MY GOD YES!!! I hate it when this happens. And when they talk to me, I answer quickly and then very deliberately return to my book to hint that I DON’T WANT TO TALK.. and yet they keep talking. Seriously… SERIOUSLY??

    People.. *humph*

  7. This is definitely one of my biggest pet peeves, easily and my family, close friends and boyfriend still have not figured out. I’m glad that I am not the only one who feels this way haha

  8. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. My mom is terrible about it. She’ll be all innocent at first, like, “Are you reading? You look so focused.” And I’ll be all like, “Ha, yeah, I’m at a good part.” And then she’ll be like, “Really, because I was watching this thing the other day and…blah…blah…” Then she will talk for a long amount of time, thus ruining my concentration. At great parts of books. Which is why I prefer to read in my room. My brother likes to steal my books/Kindle when I’m sitting on the couch reading. And my dad likes to walk up behind me sometimes and start poking me. IT IS ANNOYING. The only people who let me be when I’m reading are my oldest brother and his wife. I really like them.

    And then in public. Okay, so I’ll be trying to read during free time at school (you know, when teachers finish what they have to say early and let you sit around doing nothing or when they’re getting ready to start teaching and you have a few minutes) and I will purposely not make eye contact with anyone so that I can finish up whatever chapter I’m on real quick and focus on learning (ha). But there is always that one person who asks what I’m reading, what it’s about, and just will not let me be. And then the free time is over and I have to do other stuff.

    Needless to say, it gets on my nerves, too. A lot. I am the most talkative person EVER. I am totally up for a conversation at any other time, yet people do not get this. *sigh*

    High five, girl! I love this post. 🙂


  9. Ooooooh, how I hate when people interrupt my reading!!! It happend a lot in past, especially I Uni between classes..my friend just think that “Oh, now I wanna tell you what I ate on breakfast 3 days ago” or “Listen, listen, yesterday I watched the next episode of ‘Bachelor’ (despite the fact that I’m not watching this show, and don’t know who are those people they’re talking about…) is more important than the book I’m reading at that moment. O.K., I’m trying my best not to be rude and respond politely, but sometimes…I really have to try my best.
    In public transport it happens rarely, but still happens. But here I’m not always that kind, depends on situation. Short answers with smile on my face and tuh-duh!!! 🙂 but, oh, I forgot, most of the time I’m listening to some music on my player while I’m out and while I’m reading in the public transport in particular. It’s a salvation, believe me. It only happened a few times, that people interrupted me at those conditions, but it was important question..well, important for them mostly:)
    My family is really understanding, all of them adore reading, so if they interrupt, it’s not because they want to have chat. No problem 😉
    Well, I wish that no one will distract you in future, and oh my, I love your blog (I’ve subscribed via e-mail a couple month ago, and it’s superb!). If you’ll decide to publish a book, I’ll be in firsts to buy it, love your writing style.
    Have a great reading and try to avoid the eye contact! :)))

  10. Aww man, I totally sympathize with this. I don’t actually have this problem too often, because I usually read at home, when I’m alone. But for god’s sake yes, reading doesn’t mean I’m bored and you don’t need to save me from it. x_x I just don’t get non-readers, to be honest.

  11. First off, LOVE the GIF’s. Secondly, great post, I think any reader can sympathise with this happening at one time or another. Thirdly, you married well, yay for choosing a noninterrupter! Fourthly, it SUCKS that you couldn’t read your book in peace but I think that has to do with the fact that you’re gorgeous – we all have our crosses to bear. 😉 But still, NOT COOL.

  12. In this case it sounds like the guy wanted to start the chat up with something that he thought would obviously be a winner, but then he obviously also failed to grasp that interrupting you would annoy you because hey, you’re reading. I tend to read the most when everyone else is busy and there’s somewhere quiet to be. So that’s never out, and mostly in the mornings/evenings, weekends or not. I once asked someone in a queue how their book was, but that was the start and end of the conversation, as much as it’s awesome to meet someone else who reads there’s a good chance they just want to do that, read.

  13. Yes! This happened the other day when I went to get my oil changed and it never fails to irritate the crap out of me. I sat down, immediately pulled out my book and the lady two chairs over asks what I’m reading. Fine, whatever, no big deal, I tell her, she is clearly not interested in the book so I open and start reading it. A few minutes later she won’t shut up about the weather. Every time this happens all I can think is if they would have brought a book to read they wouldn’t have felt the need to keep bothering me!

  14. Bibliophile says:

    The first item on my personal Reader’s Bill of Rights is the right to read without being interrupted, so I know how you feel. It’s been a while since this has happened to me, because I no longer live with my parents and I don’t get many chances to read in public since I got my own car, but I remember one time when I was sitting at a table in a friend’s dorm room, reading a novel, and her roommate sneaked up on me and started tickling me. I came within a hair’s breath of giving her a black eye because a) she interrupted me in the middle of a very thrilling passage, and b) being tickled is a form of torture for me. Combining the two made me explode. This was over 20 years ago and I think she’s still afraid of me. The incident taught me that one way to guarantee being left in peace when approached by a nosy parker while reading is to act stroppy from the start. Being polite only encourages them.

  15. My family is horrible with this. Over the years I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t read or concentrate on a book unless I’ve got earbuds in and I’m listening to music to drown out everything around me. So honestly…I WILL ignore them and “pretend to not be able to hear over the music” Making them try to get my attention and then have to repeat themselves makes me feel a bit better for the interruption lol

  16. I think we all know this feeling. My family is veeeeeery good at interrupting me. My boyfriend too, but he is slowly starting to understand that I’m not HERE when I’m reading. It’s strange that people always expect you to listen, but I’m far too busy with my story to listen to non-stop talking :p

  17. My husband does this to me all the time!!! So irritating. Just go away and leave me alone. If only he would read something besides the newspaper. Reading is life’s biggest pleasure. Have some respect people.

  18. I was trying to read The 5th Wave last night and my MIL kept talking to me. I’m trying to stay alive during an alien invasion over here!!

  19. Fresh Prince gif for the WIN!

    Also, this doesn’t happen to me all that much, because I have pretty forbidding bus face. Like, my resting expression isn’t very friendly looking, so people USUALLY don’t bother me. Of course, if they do, it means they are socially awkward to the degree that they don’t recognize social cues and will never stop talking to me. EVER.

    There are rare times where my book really is that boring, but generally I just want to rip their heads off. HOW DARE YOU. I’m obviously busy. If I were you, I probably would have been like “I’m married. You’re wasting your time. Good bye now.”

    Only one family member really does this: my mom. She won’t interrupt, unless she wants me to help with something, when she just hollers across their house, which is annoying. However, she will come into the room where I’m reading, sit down, and stare at me expectantly. She will continue to do this until I cave and talk to her, because it’s SO FREAKING CREEPY. It’s the worst.

  20. YES. Well said! It drives me crazy when people do this. And it happens all the time.

    I am going to print out copies of this article and keep them handy. Next time someone tries to interrupt me, I’ll be like, “Oh, you want something to read, too? HERE, READ THIS.” And proceed to hand them a print-out of this post. Problem solved. 🙂

  21. My family is notorious for this. I totally get it. Haven’t had people on public transit come up to me (yet) so that’s a plus 🙂

  22. I had the exact SAME experience (or almost the same) when I took the train home last week. I was sitting there, minding my own business, enjoying my book (Niceville by Carsten Stroud, by the way) and out of hte blue this guy starts talking to me and he won’t SHUT up, no matter how many awkward looks I give him. And my family is like this ALL THE TIME. God. When they’re watching TV, they get mad when I dare to ask a question, but when I’m reading it’s supposedly allright to bug me.

  23. I don’t mind if people interrupt me, they’re just trying to be nice. If I’m really into the book I’ll just say that I’m at a very suspenseful part, and they’ll leave me alone.

  24. This is all sorts of awesome! People constantly do this to me. I will even say ‘let me finish this chapter’ or ‘I have 5 pages left’ and they think this is an open invitation to tell me ALL THE THINGS. I get it, it sucked to read in high school because you were forced to and all, and you would welcome the interruption. But I am an adult now and if I’m reading it is because I want to, not because I just want to pretend to so you can tell me EVERYTHING going on in your life.

  25. Ah ah ah! Like, seriously, people, do you not see this book I’m holding?

    Whenever someone who is younger than me talks to me while I’m reading a book, I don’t pay attention to them at all unless they ask for it. I end up putting them out of their trouble by mentioning that I’m not listening, and they’re okay with it.

    I do that with my friends too. As for my classmates, if they interrupt me, it’s usually for a short while. But I would really do everything I can to get them to stop talking to me if they’re going to chat for a long time.

    That might be rude, but it’s just really annoying to break your connection with a book, especially when it’s a good book.

  26. My husband is terrible for this. He will start to talk to me while I’m completely engrossed in my book and then gets upset because I’m ignoring him or not responding. Excuse me sir, I’m not allowed to even watch you play a video game, so piss off. I’m reading, don’t expect me to hear you when I’m zoned out.

  27. This happens to me so often, also sometimes when I am doing other things like gaming. Usually people think that because you are reading, you are doing nothing. My mother’s boyfriend usually asks me if the book is exciting, like every book should be exciting (not sure if exciting is the proper translation for the word he uses in Dutch).

    My boyfriend also talks to me sometimes while I am reading, but I don’t mind it as much when he interrupts my reading, although sometimes it get’s annoying and sometimes I start talking when he is reading and he usually get’s annoyed.

    Also my sister has a habit of talking to me even while she has no clue where I am or what I am doing. Usually I am reading and she keeps trying to get a conversation started or I walk to the bathroom and when i get back she is still talking even though I said I was going to the bathroom. It’s realy weird that people try to talk to you while doing something else. In the train the main problem I have is that other people are talking while I am reading and I can’t concentrate or the book. It only happened to me once that someone talked to me while I was reading and that was because he was interested in the visual novel I was reading. I also talked to another reader once who was sitting next to me and we talked about books.

    Okay so I got a bit off-topic, but yes it happens to me often that people try to start a conversation with me while reading and it’s annoying.

  28. omg i want to marry this post and make little ranty babies and post them everywhere.

    I hate hate hate making small talk on planes etc… which is part of the reason I bring a book. I have learned that if I put my headphones in my ears… even if i’m not listening it usually deters people from trying to chat me up.

    Great post!

  29. My family members are learned by now that when I have a book, unless it’s an emergency, then I am to be left alone. lol But as far as the rest of the public, yes, they act as if I don’t actually have a book in my hand and I was just staring off into space waiting for someone to talk to me. I don’t get it. These non-readers can be really inconsiderate. lol

  30. OMG. So much yes to this! That gif at the bottom just says it all. (Sorry, I know this is a pretty boring comment, but I just wanted to say that I can relate!)

  31. This happens to me more often with family than with strangers. I do think people believe reading is antisocial *eyeroll* but I don’t know if it bothers me anymore.

  32. YES! This happens to me so much! Especially since I am in high school. With a sad majority of my peers, reading is a last-resort and looked at as the worst pastime ever. Sometimes I’m sitting in the cafeteria trying to read my book and someone will send me pitiful looks, like they want to come and get me out of my anti-social funk, because its unfathomable that I actually am reading for fun. I totally agree, it is one of the most annoying things. I did a post about this and other stuff recently: http://www.throughthelookingglassblog.com/2013/06/reading-ew.html

    Thanks for the great post! Its wonderful to see that this is a problem a lot of readers have.

  33. Oh. My dear lord. YES. Back before I got AS into reading, my dad did this all the time while we were watching TV. He’d just some up and start talking and my mom and I were like, “HELLOOOO we’re watching our show!”
    BUT. It’s like 10 times worse with books……… It gets my blood BOILING when people interrupt me while I’m reading. Exactly — It’s one thing if it’s a quick question, but please don’t start a conversation and a stranger no less… I don’t even LIKE small talk and I LOVE books, so why are you interrupting me while I’m doing something that I love and I don’t even know you.
    The worst question ever: “What’s the book about?” Do you really want to know? If it’s small talk, you really don’t have to…. Because I’m one of those people who can’t summarize a book. I will tell someone the ENTIRE plot to try to explain what the book is about because there is so much involved in a single book! Then I have to stop and think…. And I know they don’t care anyway…. And then I ramble… And then things are uncomfortable. I just… No. Don’t like it.

    Okay, sorry. End rant! But yes. I’m right there with you! haha

  34. Ugh, my husband does this ALL. THE. TIME! I end up yelling at him, and then he gets mad at me. Maybe one day he’ll learn!

    Or, I’ll actually put my book down and listen to him. Then he finishes talking, so I wait a second and then pick my book back up. That’s when he decides it’s time to say something else. Grrrrrrrrrrr!

  35. I’ve never had a complete stranger interrupt me while reading, but I have this problem ALL THE TIME at home with my family. And most of the time, it’s my family that thinks I’m being the rude one by getting annoyed when they interrupt my reading… which just makes no sense to me whatsoever. I shouldn’t have to isolate myself where no one can find me in order to get some non-interrupted reading time! But it’s like if I’m anywhere where there are people, there will be constant attempts at conversation. *sigh* So yeah, I totally agree. It’s SO annoying.

  36. YES! It’s like they see a book and immediately think “oh that poor girl is torturing herself by reading, I shall save her!”. Which is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever typed.

  37. I wish I could high-five you through the computer right now, but since I can’t, simply imagine me pumping my fist and yelling “EXACTLY!” at the top of my lungs.

    It’s absurd the number of times this sort of thing has happened to me. As you said, I don’t mind if it’s simply someone trying to get my attention and is then willing to wait until I reach the end of a particular page or chapter, but I can’t stand when people take my reading as an invitation to start talking to me, normally about something wholly unrelated to what I’m doing. I don’t want to be rude or hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes you just want to immerse yourself in a story!

  38. OMG, YES!!! I will never forget, I took this class for my master’s degree a few years ago, and every week because of my work schedule, I would show up a little early. So I’d pull out my latest book and read for a while. And EVERY SINGLE WEEK, this same woman would interrupt my reading with random small talk. It annoyed me to no end. Just because you don’t have anything to do with your free time doesn’t mean you should interrupt how I’m spending mine! Ugh.

  39. OMG YES! Whenever my mom interrupts me, I just keep on reading. She knows better. And the worst strangers who do this tend to be people sitting next to me on planes. I don’t read so that I don’t have to talk to people, or because I’m bored, I read because I WANT to read! STOP. INTERRUPTING. ME!

  40. YES! Gahh this happens to me at work all the time..what are you reading questions and bothering me when I am trying to enjoy my book= rude! It’s like they think somehow reading a book is anti-social!

  41. At my last job, I would be reading WITH EARBUDS IN and people would just start talking at me. One lady (I liked her a lot) would be having a full conversation mostly with herself, but thinking I was listening! I’d finally be like “huh?” I finally gave up reading when I was in the building for lunch, and only tried to if I was by myself in a restaurant. Bc if people weren’t striking up a conversation even when my signals HAD to be saying “LEAVE ME ALONE I AM READING” they were all “what’s that book about? is it good? should I read it?” UGH. PREACH, Jamie.

  42. Biggest high five of all time! I totally agree. My family doesn’t realize how immersed I am in a novel, and sometimes they interrupt me when I’m at the very last pages. I mean WHAT?! COME ON!

  43. Gah!! This is the most annoying reader problem in the world. WHY people, why?? If you don’t have something to do that’s not my problem. AS YOU CAN SEE, WITH THE EYES IN YOUR HEAD, I am READING! 🙂

  44. I walk around with headphones on ALL THE TIME. A lot of the time, I’m not even listening to anything. But I like to have them so I can pretend I have on loud music while I’m reading so I just ignore people who try to talk to me and pretend I can’t hear them. It’s a little passive aggressive BUT I DON’T CARE.

    I actually had a coworker doing this to me the other day at lunch, and when he realized he was doing it he quickly apologized for being a dipshit and quit talking to me. I really appreciated that.

  45. HAHAHAHA yes this happens to me and I get all MEAN which I hate so I actually WEAR my earbuds (yes, wear them, like inside my clothes) so that I have them in my ears pretty much all day whether or not they’re actually playing anything. Earbuds – get the heck away from me dude!!

    Also, easy access to just quickly turning on the music and/or audiobook because I’M WEARING MY EARBUDS. Every day. I may look like a freak, but WHO CARES. I wear my earbuds. I promise this happens to me, what you’ve mentioned, but it happens less probably than it does to most people. (I even made sure to buy colored earbuds so I can have cute ones. Like right this second, mine are red. But I have purple ones too.)

    I realize this comment sounds utterly ridiculous. But it’s freaking true and people don’t bother me as much as they used to. Having earbuds in constantly is like also throwing the hand up at everyone and just walking on by.


  46. I think airplanes are the worst for this! It’s like some people cannot control themselves; they just have to talk to someone and will talk to you despite how rude interrupting someone’s activity is.
    I’ve never had this problem with my family (who are all readers) or when I was in school, but MAN public transportation is BAD!
    I feel very sad for people who cannot entertain themselves and just HAVE to talk to whoever is nearby.

    That being said, I am guilty of asking people what they are reading, because I am just so curious. But after ascertaining if I should read that book or not, I quickly go back to my own.

  47. Arrrrrrrgh yes. Non-readers do this to me all. the. time. When I stayed at my partner’s dad’s, I’d be quietly reading in the front room, happy for some alone time. He’d see I was alone and reading and launch into a load of chatter. I WANT TO BE ALONE. SHOO!

    My partner does it to some extent. I’ll be finishing my page and getting to the end of the first paragraph on the next one and he’ll march in to go to bed and make a stupid noise or say something. It’s not full on chatter but he’ll start moving around which squeaks the floorboards, bangs things, and generally distracts me so I take 5 times as long to do what I could have done if he’d just stood there for a brief moment.. And when I say “hang on” he gets annoyed!! Gah. Can’t win. He’s not even a non-reader. In fact, he’s dyslexic so when he is reading he hates to be interrupted. Funny that.

    Generally he’s okay though, if I’m not in the same room. If I am, he forgets what I’m doing and tells me all sorts of random facts. So I keep to my chair in the bedroom. xD

  48. haha i can fully relate!
    happens with friends and family (hardly ever strangers)
    oddly, i don’t mind when it’s my family because i can just tlee them that i’d really want to read and not talk…with friends it seems a bit more complicated to me…

  49. This happens to me all the time in the break room at work. I brought a book because I like to read, not because I’m scared none of the other staff will talk to me. Drives me crazy. I swear, the minute I get to a good bit (or god forbid, a hot kissing scene) my manager appears and starts telling me all the stuff he needs me to do for the rest of the day. Which would bug me anyway, because I am on my break and that’s my time and he can just wait to tell me this stuff until my break is over, but I am HOLDING A BOOK. MY GLASSES ARE OFF AND I AM CLEARLY IN READING MODE.

    Wow, that annoys me more than I realised. Rant over and I completely sympathise with you.

  50. You know what’s even better is, “Oh, is it like Twilight or something?”

    YES. EVERY book with a female main character written by a woman is EXACTLY LIKE TWILIGHT YOU SEXIST JERK.

  51. Ack! Yesssssss that happens all the time! It especially happens during my lunch break at work. People (see: co-workers) seem to think that, instead of reading, I’d rather sit in there with them for an hour and talk about work. Hello?!!! I’m trying to ESCAPE from work for a little bit. I’m trying to pretend I’m somewhere else for an hour. Leave me alone and let me read.

  52. Yes! This definitely happens and I totally understand what you’re saying. Both family and not for me.
    People do it to me all the time. I have to go and hide to read books. It’s pretty sad.
    Especially when I’m at the hospital or something or in some kind of waiting room…
    It’s like…can’t you see I’m reading?! 🙂 But totally love this post.

  53. HA! That’s so true. I live with my husband and my brother, and that equals zero time to be left alone. I love them, I do, but it seems as soon as I sit down to either read or write one or the other calls out, “Hey Tash!” Me: “…….” Thanks for ruining my groove!

  54. I sit in Starbucks to read a lot of the time, and for the most part, people leave me alone (THANK GOODNESS), but once in a while someone will sit in the chair next to me and decide that the best thing to do while they sip their coffee is talk to me. Even when I have my feet curled underneath me and my head bent toward my book.

    Thankfully, my family is a family of readers, so I don’t typically get interrupted by them.

  55. Thankfully this doesn’t happen to me very often, but it did happen to me when I was on the train to NCTE in Chicago a couple years ago. I had a dinner with a publisher and author the next day and I was trying to finish the book the author wrote so I could have a good conversation with her. This guy sat next to me (lesson learned–ALWAYS put stuff on the seat next you…) and started chatting to me even though he said he wasn’t going to bother me since I was reading. It turns out he was already drunk and possibly on drugs (his eyes were blown out). He left for a while, I thought I was safe, continued to read, and then he came back even drunker than before and PASSED OUT and fell out of the seat. Anyway, it was a pretty horrible experience, he wouldn’t leave me alone, and once he passed out a few people around me helped me escape to a different seat.

  56. Like I told you last night,this post TOTALLY resonated with me. It really happens a lot when I’m at school. I have a book in my hand and I’m waiting for my next class or eating in the cafeteria and people still try to strike up a conversation.I plaster a smile on my face and make polite conversation when really I’m thinking “Go away.Can’t you see I’m reading?” I use deliberately short answers in the hope that they will catch on and leave me alone.

  57. I completely agree! Earlier this year, I was at school one day and instead of hanging out with my friends at lunch I decided to read a book. SO many people came up to me asking what was wrong – it was nice of them to be concerned, but really. Just because I’m reading doesn’t mean I’m in a crummy mood. Lunch is only like 30 minutes long, so that day was pretty frustrating!

    Great post!

  58. OMG this so happened to me this morning! I was at the doctor’s office in the waiting room and I pulled my book out and read about 2 sentences when this man who was originally walking around sat 2 seats over (it was just us in the waiting room) and started rambling on and on and on about his inner ear infection, city violence, his thoughts on the death penalty… He would not stop! He would take about a 10 second break in between topics where I would go back to my book but then he’d start right back up! UGH! I was so mad. It’s rare when I get quiet uninterrupted reading time at home so I was looking forward to a few minutes to read. >.<

  59. This happens all the time on the bus to school. I’m just trying to read and listen to my music before school so that I can relax a bit and then all of a sudden, the people around me ALL want to talk. And it’s that whole ‘glare at them but they keep. on. talking.’ thing all over again. So frustrating.

  60. In that guys defense.. he may have been hitting on you = )

    But yes, this drives me crazy My Husband does this a lot and has a knack at doing it at pivotal moments! Drives me crazy!

  61. I know what that’s like. And it is pretty irritating to realize MANY people don’t think, sometimes even subconsciously, that reading is a legitimate THING. I think that’s why I used to be embarrassed when I was a kid because everybody asked why I would read. And now I answer WHY NOT?

  62. This happens to me ALL the time! If my mum finds me reading then she usually gives me chores, which annoys the hell out of me, because I think she sees it as me doing nothing! My old roommate used to do it, but I forgive her, as she is not a reader herself and she always said sorry.

  63. I am so glad I saved this post to read for today because this JUST HAPPENED to me. My roommates know I read every night before bed. It’s my thing and it’s the only way I can fall asleep. So there I am, just starting a book, and one of my roommates would NOT STOP TALKING TO ME. I would read a few sentences and then she’d ask me a question and I’d quickly answer and go back to reading and then she’d start talking again. I was clearly sending out STOP signals, but she was not getting it. By the time I was exhausted, I had only read about five pages because of her. I don’t know why people don’t get it! Yeah, if you enjoyed the book or something, feel free to interrupt and tell me. But if someone is reading, interrupting is practically like interrupting an actual conversation. Don’t do it!

  64. This DEFINITELY happens to me and I HATE it. Always when I’m out in public too. My family can be pretty good about leaving me alone when I’m reading (though every once in awhile I’ll have to shoot a death glare) but for some reason when I read in public strangers always ask about the book and try to talk to me and I’m just like NOT HERE FOR THIS. LEAVE ME ALONE. It’s especially annoying because I normally bring a book specifically so I WON’T have to talk to people, but instead people view it as a conversation starter. Ugh. 😛

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

  65. I can totally empathize with you on this. So often it is my own family who will interrupt me while I am reading. I am the only “real” reader in the family and they must think I am bored because it seems when I am reading is when they really want to talk or need something! Thanks for the sounding board!

  66. Get out of my head, seriously. This happens to me nearly every day in the lunchroom at work. I’ve taken to listening to music so I really get the point across, but some people STILL try to talk to me! It’s crazy! If I saw someone reading a book I would leave them alone! I’ve had so many book moments ruined by careless non readers. They just don’t get it… *sigh*

  67. Catherine says:

    I TOTALLY know what you mean! I mean, can’t they see we’re occupied? I especially hate it when I’m at a climactic moment and people just WON’T TAKE A HINT! So annoying!

  68. I work at a movie theater and when I work the box office, I often read during downtime between shows. Some people have the AUDACITY to come up to me and say that I look bored. No. NO. I am NOT bored, I’m actually doing exactly what I want to be. You, on the other hand, are preventing me from doing that. It’s usually not-so-intelligent and hasn’t-picked-up-a-book-since-the-last-one-assigned-in-middle-school looking kids who think their pretty hot stuff and where tank tops and flat billed hats. Obviously my favorite kind of person and the one I want to save me from this “boring” book….. obviously…. I could go on for hours about it…

  69. Emily @ Too Many Books says:

    Wow, it’s like you read my mind on this subject! Fantastic post. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  70. I’ve never had a stranger interrupt me, but my mother is terrible for it. It’s gotten to the point where I can barely read ten pages if I’m around her. My boyfriend’s a bit better about it: I can read better around him because he doesn’t try to hold full conversations with me. But he tends to forget that I can get so engrossed in books that sometimes I just don’t hear him, and then he thinks I’m purposely ignoring him. I’ve told him to poke me!

  71. Oh my god the GIFs, haha. I hate it when people interrupt me as well. I’ve shouted at my best friends before because they would interrupt in the middle of a book and I literally would just whip around and shout “WHAT?” I think everyone here totally agrees with you.

  72. UGH yes. Once I was on break during rehearsal (about 10 minutes) and I found a semi-private spot in the hall to read real quick. Another musician came straight up to me and interrupted me… TO TELL ME WHAT A GREAT READER HE IS. “I just love reading, I always have my nose in a book, are you like where you just have be reading all the time, I read while I cook, I read in the bathroom…” and on and on. Oh really? You’re such a big reader, huh? Then you would know us readers HATE being interrupted like this! Grrr!

    Great post 🙂

  73. OMG, YES! Whyyyyy do people do this?? It is SO annoying! I mean, sometimes I’m experiencing heartbreak or falling in love or running away from burning buildings and people feel the need to interrupt me and it BREAKS MY FLOW. UGH.

  74. I used to ride the train home every day from work and it was only when I was reading a script that people would talk to me – every time. They would usually ask if I was an actress. One man even went so far as to ask what I’d acted in and where I studied acting even after I initially answered that no I am not an actress, I’m just reading.

    It also amazes me the number of people in their 20’s who still consider reading “uncool.”

  75. OMG this happens to me all the time! I literally had to tell my boss to let other co-workers know (nicely) that reading on my lunch breaks is my “me-time” not my “yes-please-continue-to-talk-to-me-when-im-clearly-not-putting-my-book-down-to-converse-with-you-time”. Cause let me tell you something – I was NOT going to be nice about it if I had to be the one to say something about it.

  76. Great post! I truly, truly value my reading time and it makes no difference whether I’m at the dentist, on the subway, or at the cafe. I can feel the rage bubbling up when so someone decides to interrupt me to talk. I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop while devouring a great book and in comes this moron who sits directly across from me in a near empty store and starts talking to me about his latest conquests. What went through my head? Do you remember in the Exorcist when Father Karras asked the devil a question and the devil just gave him an evil, blank stare before loosing a torrent of puke in his face? Well, that’s how I felt right then and there. I’m a nice, caring and love the human race kind of guy,
    but when I’m reading, STAY AWAY FROM ME I DO NOT CARE ABOUT SMALL TALK!! ARRRGGGGHHHH!! ROOAAARRRRRR!!! Ok, thanks guys, I feel alot better now;)

  77. OMG YES! People do this to me all the time and it drives me crazy. The only person that understands that I don’t want to be bothered when I’m reading is my dad. Everyone else in my family seems to take seeing me read a book as an indication that I’m bored and need a distraction. Forget about reading at work. Pfft only way I get to do that is by listening to audio books. Which I enjoy but it isn’t the same.

  78. This happens to me every single day! IT DRIVES ME BANANAS!!!

  79. I’m never nice about it. “I’m really not interested in talking to you. Shut up and go away.” Do I hurt feelings? Probably, but I don’t really care about that. If I don’t want to talk to you, I’m not going to pretend I do because social niceties. I admit, though, that I am pretty anti social most of the time. I like people only when they’re not inconveniencing me with nonsense.

  80. This drives me insane! I don’t mind if people nicely interrupt me, because they’ve noticed what I’m reading and have read the book to, but sometimes people stop me from reading because they think I’m being anti-social and it really annoys me.


  1. […] ranted about how people  like to interrupt her when she’s trying to read, as if holding a book in front of your face is a signal that she needs to be talked to (omg I can […]

  2. […] I Just Have to Shake My Head Sometimes @ The Perpetual Page-Turner Jamie clearly channels my inner rage in this post about those poor, misguided souls who think it’s okay to start a 30-minute conversation with someone when they’re clearly READING. […]

  3. […] We were pretty much opposites but somehow when I was able to strip away all my superficial “must haves” I was able to see that he possessed all of the really important things. We’ve grown to share interests and appreciate the ones we don’t share. It’s okay with me that we don’t sit in bed to read together or that he doesn’t want to throw a dance party every time a book shows up in the mailbox because he never complains for real when my books are overtaking our apartment, he remembers my favorite authors and he really respects my reading time and what it means to me. (It helps that he is smart enough to not be one of theeeese people). […]

  4. […] ranted about this problem here. Kelly ranted about it here. I’m sure other bloggers have ranted about it as well, but those […]

  5. […] ranted about how people  like to interrupt her when she’s trying to read, as if holding a book in front of your face is a signal that she needs to be talked to (omg I can […]