What If You Weren’t a Reader?

Recently, I’ve been working on moving and in the process, I’ve been touring apartments for potential places to live. When you’re touring apartments, sometimes you catch a glimpse into the lives of the residents. What are their interests? What kinds of people lived here and what kind of life could you expect?

I saw surfboards tacked to walls and cat litter all over the floor. I’ve seen marathon medals and dog beds and views of the California mountains. I’ve seen apartments with beautifully laid out furniture, but the one thing I couldn’t find in any of these apartments were books.

There were no books.

And it was only in hindsight when I realized this. How can someone live without books? I mean, I would imagine there being at least a few coffee table books or some old textbooks from college, but I didn’t even see that. It was almost like people in my new neighborhood just didn’t read books. This being Southern California I’m not completely shocked by this news, but still really? No books at all?

Of course I’m snubbing my nose at these people because books are my life. But I realized that books aren’t the life of everyone else in the world. And then it made me think. What if I wasn’t a reader?

The first thing I would probably notice is a darker and more angry Simone. Studies have recently shown that book readers are more empathetic to people and their lives. If I didn’t read, I wouldn’t be as empathetic as I am now. Maybe I would be more judgmental and maybe people would be less inclined to be around me because of it.

I would probably also still have all of my anxieties about life. Like many readers, books are an escape for me. It’s the same as watching TV or listening to music. I read because it helps me to leave reality for a little bit and imagine a life different than mine. Unlike TV and music, books transport me and make me feel like I’m living another life in another perspective. It makes me see things that might come off fake on TV or poorly conveyed through music. If I didn’t have books, I wouldn’t have that opportunity.

When books are such an integral part of your life, your life shapes around those books. It’s why they say kids should read when they’re young. Young readers make adult readers and more empathetic people. You may read a thousand books in your life, but it only takes one book to make you the reader. It only takes one book to change your life forever.

So if I didn’t have reading in my life, I think I would be different. Maybe a little bit colder. Maybe a little less intelligent. I might even have a different job. I might even have a different husband. I can’t imagine that life because it’s like trying to understand what happens beyond the edges of our universe or what happens to you after you die. It’s unfathomable for me to imagine and if I did, all I can see is this dark souled person who didn’t find a lot of joy in her life.

What about you? How do you imagine yourself if you didn’t have books? What if you weren’t a reader?

12 thoughts on “What If You Weren’t a Reader?

  1. This is a really interesting question… I think I wouldn’t be as open minded and tolerant as I am. I wouldn’t be as innovative in my job or trying to look for new ways and perspectives to do things in my career and my everyday life. My life is better because I read, mentally, socially, all around!

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  2. I sort of talked about this on my blog, recently. I stopped reading when I became depressed, and that made it even harder to get better or to get on with things. This past year has been a little bit better but that’s almost five years down the line. Even now, sometimes I can feel the agitation in me building up and I know that it won’t go away until I sit down with a book, but if I’m in a bad state of mind, it can be hard to do that.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing. I didn’t think about the folks who do love to read, but having trouble with it right now. I know that there are folks who love books but are at a place in their life where they can’t read. I was speaking more to the people who just don’t read at all. What if reading wasn’t in your life at all? That kind of thing. I do hope that your world gets a little bit better soon and I’m happy to chat if you ever need a friend. xo

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      1. Heh, sorry. I thought I had answered your question but now I realise I wasn’t all that clear. If reading wasn’t a thing for me, I’d have been a lot lonelier growing up, and and I’d probably also be more aggressive, more anti-social. Reading really helps with broadening the mind, teaching you things that you probably should be learning from your parents, friends and teachers but won’t always get a whole lot of. Empathy, for instance.

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  3. I cannot even imagine this! Reading has always been a part of my life, starting with my mom reading to me as a child. I suppose if I wasn’t a reader, I’d watch TV more. Or spend more time on social media.

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  4. I think I can explain the lack of books…most real estate agents do not want books around when they’re showing apartments or houses to prospective buyers. For one, they’re considered clutter. Two, the real estate agent wants to stage the home so that the buyer can picture him/herself living in that space…which means removing many of the current residents’ personal items. I bet that’s what’s going on…

    When I bought my first condo, the books were there, but they were all turned spine side in…so you couldn’t see what they were and it gave the condo a more neutral, cleaner feel.

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  5. If I wasn’t a reader, I probably wouldn’t have the vocabulary that I currently do. No way. I don’t think I’d be as open-minded and laid back either. I’d probably be a very uptight person, so thank goodness for books!

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  6. I can’t imagine not being surrounded by books. I have a friend who doesn’t have even one book in her home and says she hasn’t read a book since college and she says all of this with pride.
    [Note: this disturbs me so much that I don’t know that we’ll ever be super close friends]. This gave me a lot to think about.

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