Books Magazine

Bookish Pet Peeve #11: The Interrupter

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

Imagine with me, if you will:

Crashing waves. Sandy beach. Shaded umbrella. Light breeze. Margarita. Entrancing novel. Maybe a dozing husband or wife by your side.

Is that your happy place? It’s one of mine.

But let’s add another element to that peaceful, serene setting.

“Hey there, what’cha readin’?”

That’s your cousin Barb. Your mom invited her to come with the family on vacation this year. She’s not a reader.

“It’s called 11/22/63 by Stephen King,” you respond with your head down.

“Oooh, he’s the scary writer, ain’t he? What’cha want to read something like that for? My Mikey, God bless his soul, he once said he read a horror fiction book by that Stephen King…was it called Kudos? Somethin’ ‘bout an angry dog?”

“Cujo, yeah.”

“Little Paulie got a new dog—cutest little thing. What’cha call it…a doodlegolden? Poops all over the carpet, like a little firehose is coming out of its rear end.”

“Huh. That’s nice.”

“So what are you and your sweet little hubby doin’ for dinner tonight?”

And on and on it goes. You get the picture.

What is it about readers—when we’ve found that perfect quiet place to read, we somehow manage to attract the chattiest, most annoying non-reader ever.

Books should be the equivalent of headphones. They should say “Don’t talk to me, I’m reading.” On top of that, reading on beach should give you double protection—that says, “Hey, I work all year long and I’m on vacation relaxing, reading a book. If I wanted to chat with you, I would be chatting with you. Leave me alone.”

But, for whatever reason, too many people don’t get the hint. I’m reading a book, Cousin Barb. I’m not up for small talk.

So this is PSA for all non-readers. If you see a reader who appears deeply engaged in a book, leave said reader alone. Let us be. Thank you.

Previous Bookish Pet Peeves

#11: The Coffee Shop Writer

#10: Book Trailers

#9: Snobby Authors

#8: Preachy Authors

#7: Buying Books I Don’t Read

#6: Speed Reading

#5: The Book Borrower

#4: The One Upper

#3: The Book Snob

#2: The Nosey Over-The-Shoulder Reader

#1: Bookstore Cellphone Blabbermouth

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