Confession: for the longest time I thought Frank in You’ve Got Mail was telling Kathleen that she was “a lone read”. When brainstorming this Monday Muse topic, I quickly learned that he was talking about a lone REED! Hahaha Whelp, either way, I’m still going to make a bookish reference and claim here as 1. it’s a bookish movie it came from, and 2. there are overarching themes of being alone in both metaphors.
I’ve been intrigued by the popular Silent Book Club (unfortunately, the closest one to me is 2 hours away), as it is a community of readers that find solace in solitude amongst fellow bookworms while also socializing and learning! What a concept. However, this makes me wonder about what I see on most Bookstagram profiles and shared photos that we tend to read alone. I have grappled with the notion of doing things on my own and being comfortable with that type of independence, especially in public. While I am at home, there are moments later in the day that I wonder, have I talked to anyone at all today? Whatever the answer to that question is at that time, I’m content because my introverted self is more than ok.
Sometimes I believe there is a tendency to feel that we are an anomaly and outsider when it comes to this enjoyment of independent reading. It reminds me of when I talk with my students about how they feel they don’t fill the stereotype at school, when in actuality, if everyone who feels that way came together, they would then be the majority. But that is just not what we see or what is advertised in various forms of marketing and/or social media. Even when I went to see Everything, Everything by myself on a Friday night, I was shrinking down in my seat so no know could see me. I feel that Silent Book Club is making strides to normalizing reading in public or reading alone in public. I have gone a couple of times to my local wine bar and ordered a glass and an appetizer to snack on while I read my current book selection. In the back of mind, I sometimes wonder what others may be thinking. When I was a personal trainer, most of my clients were fearful of working out with free weights for looking like they didn’t know what they were doing. My thought process is, make it look like you know what you’re doing, and no one will be the wiser. I take this bit with me when I travel by myself as well. No one knows my story, I’ll probably NEVER see these people again, so why should I care what they think or draw more attention to myself?
In a way, we are all a lone reed (read) in some regard. Something that could be not as popular or the normative as compared to what people may aspire. In a way, I feel that by reading this, I’m preaching to the choir! However, it is like in You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen was waiting for NY152 (aka Joe Fox) at the café and a gentleman asks to take a chair from her table – he was not judging her sitting by herself, late at night, he just wanted a chair!
Embrace that you are a lone read(er)!