Monday, 8 November 2010

Who says readers don't converse in public?

Remember that post I had a few weeks back, from Chris at Book-a-Rama's post, who spotted the U.S. article about 'people who have their nose stuck in a book are considered anti-social and the stigma attached?'  Well, unexpectedly, I have the perfect answer to that outdated stupid idea:

This morning, yes, this first dark Monday morning after the clocks were moved back one hour,  the sun was just rising as my bus stopped at the major transfer station near our home, and people rushed on to the bus. Morning is not a time I talk very much.  A gentleman took the seat beside me.  He had a book in his hand, Bk 12 of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series.  He noticed me staring at the book (he hadn't opened it yet) so I said, "I'm sorry, I was looking at the book because I read up to book 9 in this series, and I didn't realize Bk 12 was out now."  And for the next ten minutes as our bus raced along the river drive into the heart of Ottawa, we discussed Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Tanya Huff (he's read Enchanted Emporium, which I have sitting on my shelf to be read), Trudi Canavan (very good series he says, I haven't read it yet though I've had it from the library), and I mentioned Robin Hobb and Connie Willis, two of my favourite writers.  My stop came first, and so I said goodbye, and as I jumped off the bus, I thought to myself, "I have no idea who you are, fellow bookworm, but that was a lovely conversation about books."

Now I do have to caution you, my Gentle Readers, that most of the time I don't talk to strangers!  and especially not to strange men!  but sometimes, books break down that wall of silence we all cast around ourselves as we make our way to and from work.  This was a most unlooked for experience, as usually I have my nose in my book and I really am not looking to talk first thing in the morning.    And truly, I was  not looking for any conversation this morning, I just didn't want him to feel awkward with someone staring at the book he was holding.

So thank you, fellow bus-rider and bookreader, for an enjoyable conversation about books.  And as for that stigma about reading books?  What stigma?  I feel so much privilege in being part of a society that welcomes anyone and everyone who delights in the written word. 

It's still dark far too early in the afternoon now!  I want that hour of daylight back!

I know I still have to do my roundup of books read for Carl's RIP 5 challenge.  I did get my 10 books read, including - just finished yesterday - Phil Rickman's To Dream of the Dead, wonderfully atmospheric and moody and perfect for this time of year.  So reviews coming shortly.  We have just finished the annual two-birthdays-family visit-Hallowe'en rush at this time of year, on top of which everyone was sick with the cold virus going around Ottawa, so I am just now catching my breath.  I hope you all had fun with the challenge, I've tried to visit as many of you, my Gentle Readers, as I could lately. 

11 comments:

Chris said...

Oh what a great story, Susan :) I've had many conversations in public with strangers about books...books are like magnets for me :p I just HAVE to know what someone's reading if I see someone with a book, lol. And if it's something I love I'm quick to say something about it if the person even pretends to glance my way. But aside from that I'm VERY shy in public.

Susan said...

Hi Chris: thanks! It was so unexpected, that early in the morning! I know, secretly I look at books everyone is reading around me, too, just to see what people are reading. Since books get us talking to people, I don't see that as a handicap, more as a way for us to get over our shyness, which is a good thing!

Marg said...

I constantly have conversations with people on the train about what I am reading.

In fact, I have a group of friends that I met on the train and I started talking to the first one of them about books, and it has just grown from there.

Chrisbookarama said...

Books are great conversation starters. I'm always sneaking peeks at what people are reading in public.

GeraniumCat said...

What a great start to the day!

Think you'll like the Trudi Canavan, I did. I finished the Rickman while I had a bad back and wondered if you'd got to it yet. I really, really enjoyed it, and it was perfect for the season, but didn't think it was the scariest by any means. I've alwats got them from the library up to now, this was the first I'd bought, and I think I may have to start re-reading from the first, and buy copies :-)

mariel said...

Haha great story. I love random book conversations! I am very nosy about what people are reading - including strangers ;)

DesLily said...

I'm no different, I have to try to see the cover of a book someone is reading! lol.. why is that?! ..and when I do that I find myself hoping it's a book that either I've read or have on my tbr pile... maybe that's because I am hoping not to add yet another book to the pile hahahaha

Kailana said...

I want that hour of daylight back, too! I talk to people in public about books all the time... :)

Literary Feline said...

I do love moments like that! They don't happen often enough, if you ask me.

Susan said...

Marg: I call my bus people I meet regularly my 'bus friends' lol! I often peek at covers - ok I confess I always try to see what people are reading, but I don't talk very often, so it's interesting you have made a whole group out of riding the train and reading! Books are great conversation starters, aren't they?

Chris: see above, I just confessed to the very same thing. I can't resist trying to see what people are reading, just to be nosy. I'm so happy to see people reading too!

Geraniumcat: It was a great start! I really enjoyed the Rickman, very much. It did fit this autumn, doesn't it? and you are so right, not so scary, but very atmospheric, which is just as good sometimes. I keep lending my copies out to people! So far they've come back to me.....

mariel: oh yes, I want to see what everyone is reading! strangers, friends, family, I love to see what has people's attention. I wonder why that article thought people who read dont' talk much, since apparently we all have no problems talking to anyone especially about books! lol

Deslily: I think it's called curiosity. We have to know what someone else is reading - I always think, if I don't know the book, will it be one that will blow me away? that is superb? or if it's one that I read, is it one I enjoyed? yes, curiosity....

Kailana: I've started eating too many carbs in an effort to comfort myself over the lack of daylight! It really is awful to come home at 5:30 in pitch black, isn't it? I always think it's not so bad, and then the time change happens....

Literary Feline: I think it's wonderful when it does happen, when we do make contact over a book. Anywhere, anytime, it's fabulous to meet people who read, isn't it?

Carl V. said...

How wonderful! I think book blogs, and our own personal experiences like this one you describe, put the lie to the old idea that reading is an isolating activity.