A life without books

Could you imagine how different your life would be without books?

One day at work last week, a colleague had a quick squizz at my blog (for work purposes, of course). When she saw the header photograph of my bookshelf (just one shelf), she made the offhand comment that she didn’t have a single book in her home. Then she added that she didn’t think she’d read a book since high school.

I think I looked something like this:

Shocked monkey

Hopefully not exactly like this!

Her comment made me wonder – what would my life be like if I didn’t read?

It’s hard to imagine, because reading is such an integral part of who I am. For the first ten years of my life, I was an only child in a family that lived ten minutes outside the closest country town. But I was never lonely, because I had the Famous Five, the Secret Seven and – I’ll admit it – the Babysitters’ Club to keep me company.

Now, as a ‘grown up’, I read for a multitude of reasons. To unwind, to reflect, to be challenged, to be entertained, or to be transported to another time, place or world.

I read almost 30 books last year alone. If we estimate that it takes around 12 hours to read a book (note: total stab in the dark), that means I spent 360 hours last year reading.

What would I have done with that time if I didn’t have my head stuck in a book? I might’ve kept the house more tidy, exercised more, or – most probably – watched more TV. But I’m glad I’ll never have to find out, because I love my reading time. There are few things I enjoy more than curling up in bed with a cup of tea and a good book.

What about you? Is reading a big part of your life? If you could no longer read, what kind of hole would that leave? How would you fill that time instead?



Filed under Reading

17 responses to “A life without books

  1. alberta ross

    I started reading about 61 years ago – I frequently had more than 1 on the go at any one time – I read swiftly and belong to libaries, have thousand of my own and go to 2 book groups o-One day in Oct ’99 I slipped while out with my mothers dogs and ended up in hospital got a month when I came out I discovered i had lost my reading – I could read but my brain would not let me spend more than a few moments looking at the words (or hearing cos I tried audio) before shutting off. It lasted 3 years and they were the lonliest of my life and I was sent straight into a depression akin to actual loss through death. The books came slowly with the help of book groups twice since then they have vanished again when under extreame stress but only for a few months – IT IS NOT NICE being without them!

  2. I love to read, and read at least as many books a year as you do. My reading history and habits are exactly like yours. I can’t imagine not reading! I guess if I couldn’t read I might keep my house tidier (not likely!) or exercise more, but most probably I would end up writing more to make up for not reading.

  3. Robyn Martin

    I read heaps of books during my childhood, Secret Seven, Famous Five, Anne of Green Gables and in my teens Victoria Holt historical romances. Then for a while my ballet career took over and consumed every ounce of energy I had. I felt that there was a void in my life but did not know what it was until I discovered Lord of the Rings. I could not imagine a world without books although my reading time is restricted to bedtime and depending on how tired I am, some nights it’s a one page wonder. I make up for it when I am on holidays and indulge in reading as much as I can.

  4. Vicki Tremper

    I know. I’m always shocked to learn that friends don’t read, but it seems like many of my non-writing friends don’t read. And just about all of my writing friends read. I can’t imagine my life without books, because I know I can’t go a day without reading.

  5. Reading has become fully 50% of my life, the other half being taken up by writing. If I didn’t read I would probably watch a lot more movies and write a lot less, because the two fuel each other. I’d be a lot less happy, too. Man, it’s depressing to even contemplate.
    – Sophia.

    • Hehehe, I completely agree, Sonia. My work friend (the non-reader) read your comment and had a giggle at ‘it’s too depressing to even contemplate’. I’m going to try to lend her one of my favourite books soon so she can understand what all the fuss is about. 😉

  6. JessB

    What the? How do you NOT read? I just don’t understand that. I used to work in a bookstore, and I would always say (and still do) that there is a book for everyone, you just have to find it. Reading broadens your mind, and enriches yourself and your interaction with others.

    I read all the time, and usually have at least two books on the go. I travel on public transport, so I have lots of reading time there, but I often read while watching television (in the ads), while eating breakfast (I live on my own, so I get to socialise with book people) and occasionally dinner too.

    I do have lots of friends, and do lots of things with them – I don’t want to come across as a hermit. But reading is so important to my life.

  7. It totally baffles me when people say they don’t read. How can you not read? It’s like television but better, because it lasts longer!

  8. I can’t believe this person didn’t have one book in their house. That just blows my mind. I don’t have enough bookshelves for all of mine. And I love my reading time too.

  9. I can’t even imagine not owning a single book. We’re thinking the television might have to go soon – so we can fit in another bookshelf!

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