Sunday Salon ~ An Open Letter of Apology

70757~Cafe-Mocha-PostersExcuse me, but were you the lady behind whom I was sitting in the bus on Thursday morning?  If so, I would really like to apologise.  I know the way in which I was peering over your shoulder and craning my neck around was an appalling example of bad manners, but I was just desperate to see what book it was that you were reading.

Actually, you were so engrossed in it that you probably didn’t notice me.  In fact you were so engrossed that you very nearly missed your stop.  I do have to say that that puzzled me.  I have read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and to be honest it wasn’t exactly the most riveting book I’ve ever picked up.  But we could have talked about that, couldn’t we?  If I’d had the courage to come and sit next to you and strike up a conversation one reader to another.  Except so deep in the African forests were you that you probably wouldn’t have appreciated my bringing you back to the dusty byways of Warwickshire one little bit.

Anyway, should we happen to find ourselves on the same bus again some day, I promise to try and behave in a more seemly manner.  Perhaps you could bring your knitting to occupy you or something to listen to on your I-pod?  Then I wouldn’t have the temptation to peer put in front of me.  Because, to be honest, peering over the shoulders of people who are reading is like an addiction to me and without serious therapy I don’t think I’m going to be able to break it.  Perhaps there are clinics that specialize in curing such problems?  If you should happen to be aware of any then I would consider it a real kindness if you could let me know.  Some day someone is going to take exception to the way I behave and bop me on the nose, which would embarrass not only both of us but also everyone around us.

Again, I really am sorry and hope that you will accept my apology.

Yours very sincerely

Addicted Reader.

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Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 9:28 am  Comments (20)  

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I do this too. Can’t help myself.

  2. Harriet, thank goodness I’m not alone! Perhaps we can go for treatment together.

  3. Oh, I would have done this too! I always want to know what others are reading. Although I’m equally perplexed as to how she could have been THAT absorbed by Heart of Darkness. I read it three times, all of them assigned reading, and I never managed to enjoy it.

  4. I do the same thing! Maybe there can be clinics on every continent? 😀 I thinks it’s interesting that so many of us are so interested in reading that we want to know what everyone around us is reading, too! I actually have to say that I did find Heart of Darkness good – so I understand the reader being involved.

  5. Meghan, I read it because I felt I had to as well, which might explain why it became a chore. Susan, you must have been luckier than us and read it out of choice. Asigned reading can have a lot to answer for.

  6. I am way too shy to do that. I’ve tried sometimes, but I always feel so awkward!

  7. That is so funny! Whenever I get on a plane and see someone reading something interesting, it is all I can do not to butt in and start a book discussion!

  8. I especially love when the book a commuter is reading does not match some preconceived notions I may have of them based upon appearance. A middle aged man in business attire reading a pulp romance for instance. Clever post.

    Happy reading!

  9. Frances, Rhapsody and Amanda, thanks for coming over. Talking of unexpected congruence between reader and book reminds me that I must post about my mother, who well into her eighties would accost anyone she saw reading a ‘Harry Potter’ book and engage them in animated conversation. Somehow it was never quite what people expected!

  10. I not only look at what others are reading, I drag them out of their reverie and ask questions about their books! Now that is intrusive. I just can’t seem to help myself.

  11. Debnance I don’t know about intrusive, but isn’t it sometimes dangerous? Has anyone ever objected forcefully?

  12. I do this all the time, too! We’re such book snoops.

  13. I’m smiling, because just this afternoon I was waiting for my mother at the shopping center and there were two gentleman sitting on a bench nearby reading books. I so wanted to know what they were reading, but didn’t want to appear as if I were flirting with them! Alas, now I’ll never know.

  14. Ah, someone else does this, too! I thought I was the only one.

  15. Haha! I’m a sucker for checking out what others have read. Once, in the La Guardian airport in NY, a lady brought out her new Kindle. I just *had* to quiz her about it. Luckily she was nice enough to let me hold it and gave me all of the details about how it was given to her.

  16. Ah! Sometimes, if I can’t surreptitiously discover the title of a book someone is reading, I will actually ask them. I can see the “who’s this crazy lady” look in their eyes.

  17. This seems to be a common affliction among us bookworms. I just can’t help peeking at what others are reading, although I rarely work up the courage to start a conversation. Great post!

  18. Hee! I do the exact same thing, and I’ve even been known to strike up a conversation, which is amazing given how shy I generally am. (Of course, I’m careful never to interrupt a heavily engrossed reader.)

    And Heart of Darkness was a most hated piece of assigned reading in high school, but I rather liked it when assigned to reread it in college. (But The Secret Agent by Conrad is better, IMO.)

  19. I got quite a crick in my neck trying to read over someone’s shoulder the other day and do you know what THAT lady did? She turned so that I could not read the title at all! RUDE! 🙂

  20. Claire, is that just a nice way of saying we’re all as nosy as hell?

    Becca, they should have felt privileged to have you flirt with them. I have to say that my mother would have had no such qualms. That must be where I get it from.

    JoAnn, as you can see, you don’t need to worry, you’re not on your own!

    Christina, I wish I could find someone with a Kindle. They’re not available over here and I’m dying to have a play with one.

    Gavin, you would hope that one reader would understand the needs of another, wouldn’t you? Clearly not.

    Laura, affliction is the right word, I think. Maybe we should all go into re-hab together.

    Teresa, I think I have a general problem with Conrad. I tried Nostromo as well to no good effect. Perhaps I should give The Secret Agent a try.

    Ti, that is appalling. One reader should understand the needs of another better than that. She should have her library ticket torn up in front of her face!


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