Sunday, 17 January 2010

On the Other Side...




... It is always greener, or so they say.

Are you ever green with book envy? Do you sometimes think that people are reading better books than you? Not in a sense of the book being high-brow but that it sounds more exciting that what you yourself are reading? With freedom of choice over books I am usually very happy with what I'm reading and this month I've read some great books but every so often I see a book on somebody's blog where I think "Oh, I wish I had the time just now to read that" or "I covet that book" or "so-and-so is going to read Fingersmith and I wish I could have the first experience of that book over again".

I've been jealous of my boyfriend's reading material (um, maybe because I bought them all...) lately and some days I wish we could swap; I'll read on the commute alternating with playing with my iPhone and he can read the disparate texts and blog about them. Perhaps those thoughts mainly occurred earlier in the month whilst I was in a book slump and sought a comfort read and/or a gripping one but now I'm very happy to read my own choices, thank you very much; sometimes though the thought still lingers and I wish he'd hurry up with a book so I can read it too.

My boyfriend is an avid reader, not a voracious one, but he does love to read. A busy new job with long hours hasn't allowed him to read as much as he would like recently as he is either too busy on business calls to read whilst commuting or too tired to read in bed at night but he still reads when he can. In 2009 he read around fifty books, not that he counted. He reread all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, read a lot of the Marvel Civil War graphic novels he is collecting and then the Penguin Sherlock Holmes boxset. Over Christmas he read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll on his iPhone and now he is about to venture into both the Fables series of graphic novels by Bill Willingham and the Mary Russell mysteries (featuring Sherlock Holmes) by Laurie R. King; these are both series of books that I would love to read and will more than likely pick them up after he does. Our reading tastes overlap here and there and he would like to read my Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde and John Wyndham books, all of which I know he will enjoy (he's a big fan of Gaiman's Sandman, so much so that he carried hugely heavy leather-bound volumes of the graphic novels to be signed, at a Neil reading). This year he also has new books by favourite authors to look forward to: Terry Pratchett, George R. R. Martin, Trudi Canavan (writer of "wizards in woods" type of books - a phrase coined by Jackie that I love!)

Does it sound as if I'm planning away my boyfriend's reading? I seem to be living vicariously through his choices by making them myself! No, seriously, I simply pick out books that I have read myself or have read about that he would like rather than impose books onto him although if I can read them myself then more's the better!

Do you have a loved one whose reading excites you or that you influence?


23 comments:

Nymeth said...

My boyfriend thinks of me as his personal book filter, I've been told :P I read a lot of books and then pick the best of the best to pass on to him. So I'm often jealous that he'll get to read some of my very favourite books for the first time: Nation, Tender Morsels, Fingersmith, etc.

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

I recommend books to friends and sometimes I am jealous of their first time reading experience. Sometimes I feel sad when I finish a book, I know the reread will never be the same. A first time reading experience is very special.

My husband isn't a reader. but he supports my book buying addiction.

Vivienne said...

I love that your boyfriend is an avid reader. In my house, I seem totally in the minority. Neither hubby or the kids are big book readers and I so wish they were. It must be lovely to sit and talk about books with them or read them together. Ho hum!

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

My husband never fills me with book envy! He reads a terrible selection of books! He tends to only read science fiction. I have tried (with some success) to get him to read some good science fiction, but it is more effort than it is worth, so most of the time I leave him to his endless series of similar books. It is great that you are able to share fantastic books with your boyfriend - I'm suffering from book envy just thinking about it!

Tony said...

My wife's book interests and mine rarely overlap, and every time I have tried recommending anything it has been a complete disaster.

Separate bookshelves is sometimes a good idea ;)

Steph said...

It should come as no surprise that my reading buddy is totally Tony - he's always really receptive to any suggestions I have (and he is very tolerant of all the listmaking I do for him, which he promptly ignores, but at least he lets me make them! ;) ) and I always admire how daring he is with his books. That is, he's never intimidated by anything and will just dive right in. I'm also so impressed by how he can pretty much stick with any book and never flags in his endurance even if it takes him 3 months to read something. He gives me the confidence to take my time and not worry about rushing through books or getting frightened off by a book being too smart or too daunting, which is really wonderful!

savidgereads said...

I am thinking of changing The Converted One's nickname back to The Non Reader as its all gone downhill. Having said that one of thier Christmas presents was 'The Lost City of Z' which is proving a success and I actually want to pinch myself and read!

Its the one thing I wish I could change in The Converted One but hey ho, I have all of you to get jealous of the books you are reading ha!

Eva said...

What fun! :) I'd totally be jealous of The Beekeeper's Apprentice if I were you. hehe

StuckInABook said...

I definitely don't envy my Dad's reading, as it tends to be enormous books about science or political biography. My brother also not really, though he does read Jane Austen, he's more into long fantasy series (he's just lent me The Eye of the World, the first one in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan... I will read it, but it's about four times longer than the average book I read...) Of my family, the only one who reads anything similar to me is Mum, but I don't really envy her reading as it's quite often stuff I've read already and told her that she'll enjoy!

mee said...

I recommended some books for my husband. One weird story is that I suggested him The Alchemist, because I kinda guessed that he was going to like it, even though I haven't read it myself. Then he ended up loving it so much that he was afraid to finish it. He was going SO SLOWLY that it took him about a year to finish. My gosh! I'm glad that he liked it that much, but really, I told him, there are heaps of books out there!! He won't listen...

Karen said...

My partner and I read completely different types of books but I love that we share a common love of reading in general. I think we both secretly wish we could influence each other's reading choices but I'm not sure it is ever going to happen! I probably would end up hating that any way because we would be fighting over the one copy of a particular book!

Aarti said...

I love exchanging reading ideas with other people, though I am not often JEALOUS of what other people are reading. Instead, I feel a frantic need to read what they're reading immediately, even if I'm in the midst of a really good book.

makedoandread said...

I have a loved one whose reading influences me far more than mine does him. I think I probably read more books than he gets a chance to, simply because he's so busy, but he has an incredible range of interests, and I've discovered some truly wonderful books because of him.

verity said...

I plan Ken's reading mainly cos I'm the one who goes to the library - I pick books that I know he'll enjoy, but most of the time I don't have any inclination to read them.

Kals said...

My Dad, though he doesn't know it, is the one I always hope to emulate while reading. We have similar tastes too: the love for books dealing with politics, history, biographies etc. He borrows my books more than I borrow his, but that's because nowadays he doesn't have much time to read.

He has a knack of choosing brilliant books too! He picked Jesus Lived In India which he said was fascinating and a must-read for me. I'm yet to read it but I'm looking forward to it :)

Paperback Reader said...

Ana, I think a lot of bloggers consider you their personal book filter too :P. My boyfriend always reads Pratchett before I do (well, except for Making Money, which I bought as a surprise and cheekily and sneakily read before giving it to him) because strictly they belong to him and he was a fan before I was.

Jennifer, a first time reading experience is indeed a special thing.

I'm pleased that your husband supports your book buying addiction!

Vivienne, that's what it's like in my family home; none of my immediate family are big readers. I do appreciate being able to discuss books with my boyfriend, even if we don't share them all.

Jackie, I do have an enviable situation although I think that it is better that your husband at least reads and understands your love for it.

Tony, we have separate bookshelves and mine more than outnumber his! Which is why it's a relief that some of our reading overlaps as then it doesn't infringe on my space ;).

Steph, I admire your mutually supportive reading relationship. Adopting each others' good reading habits is a great perk. At the moment we are having a slight disagreement about me reading late into the night as having my bedside light on disturbs his sleep!

Simon, your relationship thrives though despite The Converted One being a Non Reader so that is quite the feat! Not so much a deal-breaker but a small frustration - at least you have a lifetime together of discovering books that they may or may not like!

Oh, Eva, I am! I've been wanting to read it for a while, hence why I bought it for him for Christmas! Well, partly... I have faith that he will enjoy it and then I can also read it and the follow-ups.

Paperback Reader said...

Simon T, my boyfriend is a fan of Robert Jordan and the ilk; I tried reading Feist but failed; well, not quite, I did finish The Magician and enjoyed it but because of its length it took me far longer to read than the books I read myself and I didn't continue with the remainder of the series, of which there are many.

mee, The Alchemist is quite a slight book! Thought-provoking though in its allegory and it sounds as if your husband really read its messages. At least it was a successful recommendation.

Karen, I'm glad too that our reading only overlaps occasionally as he reads more slowly than I do! A shared love of reading is what's important to me too and an understanding of my love of books and support of my reading time.

Aarti, what you describe is what I mean too - that desire to read what they are reading. I don't mean jealous in a sinful way but in a book-obsessive one!

makedo, that sounds lovely! My boyfriend has a wide variety of interests so there are a lot of reference books on our shelves. I have and will dip in and out of his cookery books (we share those as I have several too) but can't see me reading his photography or archery ones!

Verity, Gareth's and my reading overlaps more than yours and Ken's although I think that's probably a good thing for you as you have so many books to read, not least of all VMCs!

Kals, that's a lovely reading relationship that you share with your dad (even if he is unaware); I can see that your love of books and your reading interests have been greatly influenced by him.

winstonsdad said...

my wife tends to read true life but isn't a avid reader my father is a avid reader hasve grown up with him always with a book in his hand so suppose my reading comes from him st=,stu

Paperback Reader said...

Stu, I find it interesting how we can trace our own love for reading back to our parents or other family members. My boyfriend's family are all huge readers, which is great for me as they "get" it.

Rebecca Reid said...

My husband reads on his handheld device. When I ask him what he's reading, he says "why do you want to know?" He knows it bugs me, not knowing. :)

I wish he'd share, but I suspect he's reading books about how to be a business manager. Or science fiction. Not sure beyond that.

Paperback Reader said...

Rebecca, that would infuriate me! I'm forever asking my boyfriend "whatcha doing?"

I bought him new books for his birthday :). The second Mary Russell book and a new book on HD photography that he really wanted.

Doigy said...

In answer to your original question, my wife and I read totaly different things but this does not stop me from being intersted in what she reads. In the first instance it helps me be sure that any future books I buy her for presents are suited to her. I sometimes think she reads the heavier stuff in our house for which I admire her. in turn, she knows I like noir fiction and she thinks this has a badn influence on me although I say in retort that reading good boks makes me happy!

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Carsten, good to hear from you (on my blog, I mean)! Being interested in the other half's reading is crucial for me; I love talking about our books anyway but it helps, as you say, for future gifts and I do care. Last night he was reading a book on photography that I bought him and every so often he would show me a photograph and comment about it.