Yesterday someone I know told me with pride that he hasn’t read a book since he was a freshman in high school. We’re talking about a grown man, an adult. I couldn’t think of a response to this. Reading is such a keystone to my life that it’s hard for me to imagine that there are people for whom books mean nothing.

I know there are lots of people who don’t like reading, but it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around what a life without books would be like. There was two-year period in my life when I didn’t read and it felt like a piece of my soul had been cut out of me. I felt starved. Malnourished. It was only when I started reading again that I felt like I had found myself.

I’ve always been a reader, so I knew what I had lost. Maybe being a non-reader is like being born color-blind. They’ve never known what it’s like to see certain colors so they don’t know what they’re missing.

But then I wonder, who am I to judge what other people do for fun? There are lots of people who really enjoy video games and they are shocked when they find out I don’t play video games—it’s not that I’m prejudiced against video games, it’s just that I’ve never liked them as much as I like reading.

Anyway, I’m never really sure what to say when I meet someone who doesn’t read. Maybe some day I’ll have an answer.

About E.S.O. Martin

E.S.O. Martin is a writer, a California native, and a graduate of SF State's Creative Writing MFA program.
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