This week, we bring you “101 Books’ Greatest Hits.” Today’s post was originally published on March 30, 2011. Revisit my experience reading a Judy Blume book–uncomfortable, indeed. 101 Books returns live on Monday.
When you’re a 35-year-old guy, you don’t just walk into a Starbucks carrying a Judy Blume book, do you?
Well, I don’t. That’s just weird. And awkward. And downright creepy.
As I mentioned in my post about finding time to read, I do a lot of my reading at lunch. So whatever book I am reading becomes my tag-along for a week or two, or whatever length of time I take to read it.
Now, that’s usually not much of a problem at all, unless I’m carrying around a book with a 12-year-old girl’s painted toenails on the front cover.
Here's a guy that just might read Judy Blume books in public. (Meddy Garnet/Flickr)
So I had to come up with a reading strategy for this book. Here were my options:
The Creepy Guy in Public: An old guy walks into a Panera Bread towing a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. He sits down at a table, next to a soccer mom and her young daughter. The daughter, after noticing said book, comments to her mom: “Look, mommy, I have the same book that strange man is reading.” The mother quickly grabs her daughter’s arm and moves to the other side of the restaurant, far away from this weird man who reads books for young girls.
The Creepy Guy in Private: What’s creepier than an old guy reading a Judy Blume book in public? How about an old guy reading a Judy Blume book in his “man cave,” by himself, at night, in his pajamas, under a faint lamplight? Need I say more?
The Audio Book: Every Saturday, the old guy (that’s me) takes a long morning run through the neighborhood. This Saturday, he’s got an 11-miler. While jogging, he could listen to the incriminating book while all the neighbors think he’s jamming to the tunes of Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon. Genius.
The Digital Reader: Yes, the old guy has admitted his disdain toward digital readers. But, in this instance, maybe they would serve a wonderful purpose. He could download the incriminating book and read it at lunch, at home–wherever. And no one would ever know! He’d have to keep them at an arm’s length, though. Who wants strangers seeing an old guy reading about menstruation cycles? That’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.
The moral of the story: Old guys shouldn’t read Judy Blume books unless they have 12-year-old daughters or are reading through some ridiculous 101 book project.
That said, I went with the “Creepy Guy in Private” strategy. Yeah, it was obviously the worst one, but I had already ordered the book via Amazon, and I didn’t want to cough up more dollars for an audio or Kindle version. I made sure to leave all the lights in the house on and made sure my wife was nearby in case I passed out from reading certain detailed and uncomfortable passages.
At least this 35-year-old guy now feels enlightened, although a little creepy.
Have you ever read a book that made you feel a little, let’s say, uncomfortable? Do share.