How Does Your Job Influence What You Read?
My wife and I were recently talking about our differences in book preferences. We’re both avid readers, but our reading selections couldn’t be more polar opposite.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Why don’t you ever read any of the books I recommend?
Her: Because I don’t want to read those books.
Me: But why? Most of them are really good. They’re classics!
Her: And they’re all depressing. I don’t want to read depressing books.
Her: Yes. Ever.
Me: Not, like, once a year or something?
Her: No. I’m around really sick kids all day. I don’t want to come home and read depressing books.
Me: Oh, good point.
And there’s the rub.
My wife works in the medical profession, specifically pediatrics, so she’s around kids who are sick, and even dying, every single day. Kids. Even babies.
I don’t know how she does it.
So I can understand how, after a long day at work, she doesn’t necessarily want to come home and dive into The Grapes of Wrath or Never Let Me Go or Atonement or Revolutionary Road. That would be real-life depressing followed up by fictional depressing.
Because of that, she reads a lot of light fiction—fun, light-hearted stuff. She’ll be the first to tell you it isn’t serious stuff, and she’s fine with that.
So I wonder: How much do our jobs and our daily lives affect what we read?
I write all day, and I don’t mind reading about writers. But if I was a technical writer, I certainly wouldn’t want to go home and read dry, spy novels.
If you were a lawyer, do you think legal novels would interest you? Or just the opposite?
And, more than the profession itself, I think it’s the emotions you deal with during the day, the emotions your profession or daily activities bring out of you, that can possibly influence your reading choices.
So that’s why I understand my wife’s reading selections. If you work all day in tense, stressful and, sometimes, sad situations, you don’t want to come home and read stories that bring out those same emotions. Or do you?
What do you think? How does your life—job, career, daily activities, and the emotions that come with them—affect your reading?