Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Husband is a Tapeworm

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the March 19, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

It is almost a foregone conclusion that most librarians are prolific readers and often surround themselves with others of a similar persuasion. From my experience, a love of reading is often passed down through the generations, so readers often come from families of bookworms. Additionally, many librarians seem to choose partners that share their passion for the written word.

I have bucked these trends. While my mother, sister, and I are passionate readers, my dad does not even pretend to understand how reading could be an activity from which anyone could derive pleasure. Similarly, my husband, Andy, is not a reader.

Andy rarely enjoyed reading as a child and school often felt like a chore to him, if not an outright punishment. He is incredibly bright and sees things with immediate clarity. His mind just moves faster than the action written on the page. In short, reading often bores him.

Inactivity also drives Andy nuts. If we were to rewrite the punishments endured in Dante's Circles of Hell tailored to my husband’s dislikes, sitting down to read for an extended period of time would be the penalty in Andy’s 8th Circle of Hell. The punishment for ending up in the 9th Circle would be sitting in eternal traffic. Therefore, it is easy to understand my shock when Andy asked me to find a few audiobooks for him to listen to in the car now that he drives to work more often than he used to.

I have always had a long commute, so I am used to “reading”  by listening to audio books borrowed from the library and have my favorite genres and narrators. I began racking my brain for the best titles to get Andy started. I knew that if I chose the wrong books, he may abandon the idea.

I always wished that I could share the books that that bring me so much joy with my husband. This was my chance, so I chose some safe bets. Andy loves sports, so “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown was a no brainer. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand combines athletics, war stories, and action/adventure- perfect. Fiction was harder. I finally settled on “The Art Forger” by Barbara A. Shapiro. A dear friend had recommended the book to me, and I couldn’t get over how well researched it was and liked the local connection. The Art Forger rounded out my picks.

While I am not certain that audio books have entirely replaced sports’ radio for commuting entertainment, my husband is tearing through them. He gave both “The Boys in the Boat” and “Unbroken” two enthusiastic thumbs up. He is on the final chapters of “The Art Forger” and he is clearly enjoying it, if not as much as the non fiction titles. I am excitedly preparing the next batch, filled with nonfiction by Bill Bryson and Erik Larson.

The humorist David Sedaris once observed, “If a person who constantly reads is labeled a bookworm, then I was quickly becoming what might be called a tapeworm,” in response to listening to books on tape. I think it is safe to say that my husband has officially become a tapeworm, and I could not be more pleased.