Usually when referring to those who "have" and those who "have not," we are talking about a person's financial and social position. However, for the purposes of this post, I am referring to those who have experienced the transformative power of books and those who, quite simply, have not.
I was bitten very early on by the "reading bug." For as long as I can remember, reading has been a huge part of my life, I read on an almost daily-basis. If I go more than a day or two without reading, I get restless and out of sorts. For me, books have always been a place of refuge from everyday life; I can disappear into the world of stories and leave my life behind. It is as though all my cares, my stresses, my responsibilities just melt away. Nothing else outside the world of the book matters. It is pure bliss and I will happily (and proudly) admit to being addicted to the wonderful world of literature. Most of you reading this blog probably feel very similar. We are the "Haves."
There are people out there who do not read, shocking I know, but it is true. It is not as though they never read or despise reading, they just don't read very much (a few books a year, maybe) and they feel like reading is more of a chore than a pleasure. These people are the "Have Nots."
The "Have Nots" will never understand a book lover's obsessive need to always have a book on the go, just as the "Haves" will never understand how a person can get by on reading only once in a blue moon. Of course, there are a lot of people who fall somewhere in the middle, they love reading and do so on a regular basis. They will happily engage in a conversation about books, and they understand wholeheartedly the power of reading a book. They are like the upper middle-class of the literary world, but not quite the 1%.
As a total bibliophile, I will occasionally find myself at odds with the "Have Nots" when reading is concerned. There have been numerous times in my life when all I want to do is curl up with my book and shut out the rest of the world, including other people. This is as necessary for my well-being as my morning smoothie and getting fresh air everyday. It is not because I don't like you, or because I am anti-social. It is simply because I have a burning, unyielding and passionate need to read. If I do not fulfill this need I become at best, a "Grumpy Gus" and at worst, a raging, crying ball of fury. For some people, this is an unreasonable and strange need that they will seemingly never understand. Sometimes not having this need understood by those around me can be hurtful, as though I am not accepted for who I am (an insatiable book nut who cannot be stopped).
But, you know what? More often than not I feel sympathy for these "Have Nots" rather than contempt. I feel sorry that they have never experienced the joy that comes with loving a book so much that it gives your life new meaning. And so, fellow book lover, next time you are chided for choosing books over play just smile and nod, bury your nose back into the pages and slip into your special book world. You are so lucky that such a world exists for you.
“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book--that string of confused, alien ciphers--shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”