The Weather

Five Stages of Grief for My Identity as Someone Who Reads Books

1. First of all, it’s not like I just don’t read anymore. I’m reading a book right now about FDR and Churchill, thank you very much. I downloaded it about two weeks ago, and I’m almost six percent through, so I wouldn’t exactly call that nothing. Especially since the language is so dense—if this was David Sedaris or something, I’d probably be, like, forty percent in. And by the way, the fact that blogs and Rachel Maddow’s podcast don’t count as books is kind of annoying.

2. I’m a busy person. I don’t have time to just laze around drinking Shiraz and flipping through the classics. I’m doing work. And working out. And buying groceries. And doing my laundry. And painting my nails. Oh, so now I’m vain? Now I’m lazy? Now I’m someone who doesn’t deserve to kick her heels up at the end of the day and look at pictures of dogs on the internet? Get bent.

3. You know what? I can still be a reader if I just cut down on a little TV time. That won’t be so hard. What am I really gaining by rewatching the entire eleven seasons of Frasier? If from here on out, I just devote thirty minutes a day to reading a good, old-fashioned novel, I’ll be back on the wagon in no time. That will be more than the average American reads, I’m sure. It’s going to be fine. I’m going to be fine. I’m still smart.

4. What happened to me? I graduated from a liberal arts college with a degree in English. Did I think I just filled my quota? That once I entered into the real world, I could just skate by on what I’ve already read for the remainder of my miserable existence? I used to care about language and narrative. Now I’m just a sack of stupid skin filled with stupid organs. Might as well watch another episode of Frasier.

5. I’m fine. It’s all fine. I’m still an interesting person. I have a record player, so that’s interesting. I might even have a classical record or two—I can’t remember. I’d have to look. I read the New York Times today. That’s good of me. And I’ll circle back to books soon. I’m probably going through a phase. If not, I’ll just die a mildly well-read person who also knows a little about a lot of other things. That’s fine.

Kathleen Jordan is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York. She has never driven a taxi because she feels there's a glass ceiling in that field. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathleenjordan.