Quiz: Someone is sitting off by themselves staring at a book. What should you do?

You know, I was going to list a lot of possibilities, all the intrusive and annoying things that people have done to me, but really, guys, there’s only one answer:

That person is choosing to spend the current time READING. Leave him/her the fuck ALONE!

No, you don’t need to know what the title of the book is. Or the author. Or whether s/he is enjoying the book. Or whether you would enjoy it. (Fercrissakes, how is someone suppose to know the answer to that one?)

The Reader doesn’t need to hear about how much reading you do. Or that you’ve never finished a book in your life. Or anything else about your life style.

The Reader wants to be allowed to READ the book right then. Maybe she’s taking a night course and is behind and a test is coming. Maybe it’s the most suspenseful novel ever written and she just can’t wait to see how it comes out. Maybe it’s just an ordinary book, but she chooses to read during her lunch hour as a relatively non-offensive way of avoiding your endless chatter about the latest trivial misadventures someone in your life brought upon themselves.


>>Quiz: Someone is sitting off by themselves staring at a book. What should you do?

If you’re Mr. Athena, you make sure to give a running commentary of whatever you happen to be doing at the moment - what’s happening on your TV show, how cute the doggies are, what you think you’re going to have for a snack, etc.

Boy, I’m gonna get in trouble for posting this. Have mercy Mr. Athena! Was JOKING, really! I LIKE it when you talk to me when I read!

Hey, maybe you’re too damned cute for your own good. Maybe put a little work into looking uglier?

Who knows…I’d be complimented …maybe.

Yes. Word, word, word.

I usually do fine when I read in public (on buses, at the library, in the lounge), but at home it gets awful.

SCENE: TRACY is sitting in an easy chair, wrapped in a blanket, halfway through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.

TRACY’S UNCLE: [walks by] What’re you reading?
TRACY: [without looking up] Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
TRACY: [enunciates] Jonathan. Strange. And. Mr. Norrell.
TRACY’S UNCLE: [sees book is ~800 pages long] What’s it about?
TRACY: [pause] [gives TRACY’S UNCLE a Look]
TRACY’S UNCLE: I mean, what’s the main idea?
TRACY: I don’t know. [pointedly] I haven’t finished it yet.
TRACY’S UNCLE: Are you hungry?
TRACY: No. I’m reading.
TRACY’S UNCLE: What do you want for dinner?
TRACY: Whatever the rest of the family’s doing.
TRACY’S UNCLE: We were thinking about going out.
TRACY: [leaps from chair and decapitates TRACY’S UNCLE with her bookmark. Sits down and continues reading] Very clever, Arabella.

Okay…maybe I should have specified I’m not talking about public arenas, where the idea that the main reason for being there is to meet people is not unreasonable. As in, yeah, maybe that cute chick flicking through the book while sitting at a bar is hoping to be approached, so maybe you give it a try.

I run into this problem mainly at work in the lunchroom, with a couple of motormouthed old hens who I’m reasonably certain aren’t looking to talk me into a relationship with them… No, it’s pure nosiness and, possibly, an inability to bear having someone else NOT hanging on their every word. If you won’t pay attention to their stories of how awful a mother/housekeeper/wife their DIL is, well then, what are YOU doing? What are you reading? Why? Tell me about it. On and on and on, until your break time is gone and your plan of getting some reading done is completely foiled. :frowning:

One time I printed up a sheet of paper with the answers to all the usual questions written out, and handed it to one of these biddies as soon as she started in, but it did no good. She thought it was the greatest joke ever and kept on and on and on about it…
In warm weather I escape from the building, but huddling in my car in the depths of a winter snowstorm lacks appeal.

Maybe I’ll make up a fake dustcover and wrap it around what I’m reading. Something like “Three Dozen Ways to Hide the Body: When You Just Can’t Stand Nosy CoWorkers Any Longer.”

Aaargh! Yes!

The scene: NinjaChick is home on winter break. She’s sitting at her desk or perhaps on her bed, typing away on her laptop, working on perhaps an essay, or the Great American Novel she’s composing. Or, she’s reading. She does these things very often. There’s the unmistakable sound of her father’s footsteps up the stairs, a pause, then a knock on the bedroom door. NinjaChick hopes that she can fool him into thinking she’s not there. No such luck. He calls her name.

Me: What?
Him: [opens door] Whatcha up to?
Me: Uh…reading
Him: Whatcha reading?
Me: A book.
Him: What book?
Me: One that’s very engaging and interesting. Now please piss off.

Actually, I don’t generally say that. I usually say the first part and go back to reading. He’ll stand tehre for a moment and then wander away, seemingly confused.

Yes! That’s the crux of it! The people who ask these questions are by and large NOT readers themselves. They simply can’t seem to wrap their minds around the idea that someone would choose, voluntarily, to read. And not just read, but entire BOOKS.

So, obviously, interrupting you from this horrible pasttime is a favor.
The Gold Rule is mis-action yet again. :frowning:

Little Weasley Guy: “So, how’s that book?”

Me: “Fascinating. The author is proposing that the major blame for the escalation of World War I from a Continental conflict to a ‘world war’ should be laid at the feet of England as it was their mis-reading of German intentions that caused their entrance.”

Little Weasley Guy: “That does sound interesting, but this meeting is about how we need to have someone train a Superuser for Japan to support the new sites in Thailand and Australia. Congratulation, the flight leaves in the morning.”

Sometimes it is not appropriate to be seen reading…

Amen! I like to read during my lunch break, but I’ve been interrupted on too many occasions. Some of my coworkers just ask a few questions about the book and then leave me alone. Others, unfortunately, decide they must sit with me and have a conversation right at that moment. One former coworker (emphasis on “former,” thank Og) would park herself next to me every lunch hour and start bitching about how much she hated her job, even though she could clearly see I was reading. Another used to preach that my choice of literature was luring Satan to our office.

The worst, though, was when one of my supervisors started up a conversation while I was reading. If I didn’t put my book down I never would have heard the end of it, so I had to listen to her prattle about her dog for 30 minutes. She also criticized me for wasting money on books – she thought it was stupid to buy something you’d only read once. The idea of rereading books would have made her head explode.

Did I mention we’re in the publishing business? ::sigh::

Puts me in mind of the Quentin Crisp story (which I read about in a book) where he talks about a landlady of his who would come in to his room and comment on whatever he was doing…as in:

Sees him putting bread in a toaster:

“Ah…making toast…”

Sees him put water on to boil:

“Ah…making tea…”

Sees him staring at a book:


“I’m sorry, what was that?”, said enough times, will get the point across.

Ooh, you win,ladybug!

I was going to chime in with similar cow-orker stories, but you work in publishing!? :smack:

The betenoirster. The betenoirster, Makin’ copies…

Oooh, what were you reading THEN?

Oh LORD I hate this. By the time you get rid of them, as someone has already mentioned, your lunch hour is over. Is there any way to take your break at a different time from the biddies?

And yes, as SBS says, it’s invariably non readers that do this. Readers might make a comment or two “Oh, the new J. Smith novel, any good”? and then wisely shuts the hell up.

One more reason to be glad I’m a hermit…

Bill Hicks had a joke that I think will be appreciated here:

My usual reply to the insufferable question “Whachya readin’?” is “Words, words, words.” That way, if they get it, there’s a hope that any conversation that will ensue will be worth the interruption.

I almost posted a similar thread a few months - heck, more than half a year now that I think about it. I felt like a beer (that’s how I know it was more than half a year) and I felt like reading, so I took my book to a bar, bought a pitcher and sat down in a corner by myself. I was stunned at how many people stopped to chat. I don’t mean to be rude, but hey, I was READING!

Not where I work.
I don’t think they grasp the concept of someone being literate.
What throws them even further is that I read science fiction. Ya’ know with those dark elves and such that you can never read the names of cause they are so long.
I had one girl look over my shoulder and ask why my book had a map in it, then she looked at the text and said “what in the heck is that word?”
I explaind it was a name of a character and pointed to an even longer more confusing word and said that is the name of the city he came from.
It was the Dark elf trilogy by Salvatore.
This girls eyes popped out of her head when I brought in the Icewind Dale trilogy all in one book. Big and thick.