The idea for this post all started from a gchat I sent Estelle after a #booknerd hashtag was going around. I felt like perhaps it was inappropriate but that I would share it with a dear friend. This is what I said:
Me: I have a #booknerd tweet but I’m pretty sure it would be inappropriate
Estelle: ha ha TELL ME TELL ME
Me: You know you are a #booknerd when you say at night, “Let’s go back to bed” and your husband assumes it’s for sexytimes but you really meant to go read your book in bed.
We then started having this AWESOME conversation about our husbands, – Estelle’s husband is a reader & Will is not a reader — our reading habits and them. Estelle than suggested it would be fun to make a post about marriage and books. We threw some ideas around and decided it would be fun if I talk about my experience having a non-reading husband and she talks about what it is like to have a reader for a husband!
Through the years I always had that “I could never marry a guy who…” list. Some were serious dealbreakers but other things were like “I could never marry a guy who didn’t play the guitar and sing like an angel” or “I could never marry a guy who didn’t appreciate French films.” LOTS OF SUPERFICIAL THINGS ON MY LIST.
Enter Will. There were very few ways that 18 year old Will met my more superficial list of “must haves” when we met. He wasn’t as “cultured” as me (21 year old Jamie was a snob x 10). He liked rap and I liked more of the “indie” rock scene. He wore sweatpants and basketball shorts all of the time and I would never have ever been caught dead in sweatpants outside of my dorm (seriously, if I could have worn a dress playing intramural soccer I would have). He liked sports sports sports and I liked to read, watch foreign films, go to concerts and sit in coffeehouses for hours and talk about life (all things he really didn’t appreciate).
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).
Do I wish he read? YOU BET. I’d love to share that with him. But it’s okay with me that he doesn’t share one of my biggest passions. I always get people that are surprised that I could marry someone who never reads EVER because of how HUGE it is in my life but it just WORKS for us somehow! Even though we dated for 5 years before we were married and he KNEW this about me, I did wonder how he would be able to handle it 24/7. But…it works (though I’d love for him to read once in a while!).
-I can lay right next to him and read when he plays video games and, even though we are in our own zones, we are still THERE next to each other and it feels like we are spending time together with a little rub to the back or kiss on the cheek. He can pretend he is a FIFA champion and I can enjoy whatever adventure I’m on. The only time this is bad is when he gets really excited about his video game because then he moves around a lot and sometimes jumps.
-I read while he watches sports and still be snuggled up next to him and he loves it because I won’t talk while he is watching the game but I can still look up during a big moment in the game and be enthusiastic with him.
– I read while we are at the pool or the beach (also trains & airplanes) and he always falls asleep so I don’t have to feel bad for ignoring him unlike when I’m on vacation with OTHER family members who want to talk always on the beach.
– He loves to drive and I hate being his passenger so I read while he drives and he prefers that because I’m quiet. I prefer it too because his driving gives me anxiety.
– He falls asleep way earlier than me so I spend time with him until he falls asleep and then the BOOK LIGHT IS ON!
– It’s extra special & romantic to me when he buys me a book for my birthday because it means a) he listens to me when I go on and on about books and can identify authors I rave about often b) he had to journey into the bookstore which is the equivalent to how I used to look at the gym — scary, scary territory where one is not in their element.
– You have a bargaining chips! Like, “if I can buy 5 new books. You can buy a new pair of shoes.” It works like a charm.
– You only have to deal with your own book collection and the problem of shelf space. Firstly, ewww I don’t want to share my bookshelves and secondly..sorry bud, it would be your books to go if we ran out of space!
– It lets me have my own THING. It’s very important to have your own THING or hobby in a marriage. So it’s good for us when I go to book events or have book club so we get some time apart and can do our own thing. For him, that means uninterrupted video game time without me being like “could you stop yelling at the tv??”
– He doesn’t read so he never judges what I’m reading — no matter what the cover looks like.
— I don’t have to share my book allowance for the month with anybody.
— I don’t have to worry about him misplacing one of my books or really even TOUCHING my books.
– He doesn’t try to tell you that you have too many books because he knows they are like children.
– He gets excited for you when you get excited about book things even if you know he has zero interest.
– He doesn’t interrupt you when you read unless in the event of an emergency or if he asks nicely.
– He doesn’t care that you are going to be reading with a book light all night and that it might even shine into his eyes if he wakes up in the middle of the night.
– He doesn’t object when you refuse to watch a movie because you haven’t read the book.
– He doesn’t make fun of you too much when you cry because of a book or when you throw it because it pisses you off.
– He will at least know a few of your favorite authors or favorite books.
– He would never use a book as a coaster. That annoys me (even though you guys know I’m a book manhandler)
– He would never put you on a book buying ban unless you wanted to do it.
– When you run out of shelf space he says, “I guess we need to get you another shelf.”
– He will wait in a very long line for you so that you can both get your books signed AND see the author speak (poor Will sat in the sun for almost 2 hours for me at The National Bookfest to ensure I was at the front of the line)
– He will cook so that you can read on the couch before dinner!
– He always reminds you to charge your e-reader before you go to the gym or take it on a trip.
– He carries your books in the bookstore.
5 Reasons Why Being Married to A Book Nerd Really Kinda Stinks For A Non-Bookish Guy (In the Most Loving Way Possible)
– Books are always on the floor and I trip on them.
– I can never get your attention when you are reading a book.
– There are always way too many packages of books at our doorstep…adding to the mountain of books you already have. SERIOUSLY I AM GOING TO HAVE TO SLEEP ON BOOKS SOON!
– We can’t walk past a bookstore without you wanting to walk in it.
– It’s hard to pick out a movie because I constantly hear “Oh that is based on a book. Oh that one too. etc.”
The Best Perk About Your Wife Being A Reader?
I get uninterrupted free time.
What do you think I’d have to do to get you to read a book?
…… (with a smirk on his face which means it probably wasn’t blog appropriate. I just smacked him.)
Ok, so my for real answer would be that you would have to go to a NASCAR race once.
(UGHHHH. I hate NASCAR. SO MUCH. I don’t know if I can sacrifice that many hours of my life to watch cars go in a circle…unless I can sit there and read. He and his dad used to go to NASCAR races when he was little so I know it’s special for him but I HATE IT. Any other sport I could handle..even golf…but not this. )
So guys! I’d love to hear from you! Is your significant other a reader or no? If yes, tell me about your shared bookish habits! If not, tell me how you handle it and the perks YOU have also found to being with a non-bookish person! Can you think of any good characteristic a non-bookish significant others should possess that I may have forgotten?? And if you are single, is it a deal breaker for you if the person isn’t a reader? If you are dating/married…was having a bookish significant other a MUST HAVE?
Go check out Estelle’s post about what her experience being married to a reader!