Monday, August 22, 2011

T.V. Viewing, Made A Reader Out Of Me!

Apologies to Sir Paul for tweaking a chorus from his song "Ballroom Dancing"

Actually, it helped make a reader out of my wife.

They say what makes a truly successful relationship, or in this case a marriage, is the ability to not to nitpick about certain things that the other doesn't do. Take reading for example. I'm a voracious reader. Always have been and always will be. My wife, on the other hand, is a voracious non-reader. Seriously. The only items I've ever seen her read in the past 24 years of togetherness has been the cook book, the occasional crocheting magazine, the teen & tween magazines and very recently, the newspaper.

Books on the other hand, are like the equivalent of a Democrat advocating small government and less taxes. In other words, a pipe dream fantasy of mine that will not come true with any degree of consistency.

But there is hope (hence the title of the post) and actual glimpses of that hope do pop up from time to time. When they do, I do my damnedest to help in any way that I humanly can. But the glimpses that do pop, are always without exception, facilitated by something my lovely wife has seen on television. So this post is going to be about the half dozen or so books that my wife has read in the past 20 years that have originated from something that she watched on television.

1} All Creatures Great And Small, All Things Bright And Beautiful, All Things Wise And Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot. I was the original culprit for this four pack of books, as I had gotten hooked on the BBC series back in the late 80's when it was being shown on PBS (which I had first learned about via an audio book of selected shorts). I introduced my wife to the series and she enjoyed it immensely. When the opportunity arose to buy a special paperback collection of his books, my wife bought them and has over the past two decades read them from cover to cover.

2} The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows, 1946 to the present (1994). This bad boy was the only normal book that she bought in the 90's. This particular book covers every t.v. show that was created for the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), the cable networks and even the Dumont network. She still reads it from time to time when she needs an answer to a particular t.v. question.

3} The Sports Encyclopedia of Baseball, various editions. This is actually my book, which is one of about six editions that I possess. If you want a book that has a summary of every season, plus stats from 1901 to the present (the present being whenever the book is updated, which is about every two or three years), this book is for you. This book is not for timid. My wife started goofing with this book because about five years ago, she started following the Boston Red Sox. She's not what you call a diehard, but she's currently about three levels up from where I'm currently at (casual observer), so she used this book to create little stats things (plus scrapbooks) for herself as it pertains to the Red Sox. As an offshoot, she now reads the paper (usually the sports section) with a greater degree of frequency.

4} Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe. This one was a source of endless amusement for me and was actually the genesis of not only this post but a status update as well. My wife is a fan of the television series "Ghost Whisperers" (I am not a fan of network t.v. of any kind) so she set off last week to the public library in search of a book based on this show. She didn't have any luck, but she was directed to the Young Adult section of the library where she found this particular book. And from the periodic updates she gives me, she is really enjoying the book and has said that she will finish it this week.

I have made it crystal clear on this blog what my opinion of YA is. However, I have not stated this opinion to my wife, as the fact that she is actually reading a book of fiction far outweighs my feelings about YA, so you know damn well I'm gonna be supportive in whatever genre she chooses to partake in.

One interesting thing has sprouted from this current emphasis on reading. As a rule, I do not share any of my writing with any of my family, simply because they wouldn't get what I write and I sure as hell don't want to explain to them why I write what I write. But after seeing my wife really enjoy this book, it gave me enough of a confidence boost to where I asked her if she would be interested in reading my published short stories.

She said she would be interested in reading them. I am, as a matter of record, happy as a pig in a festering pit of garbage. I am, also as a matter of record, scared shitless that she would be interested in reading them.

So my friends, t.v. doesn't necessarily rot your brain from the inside out all the time. Sometimes, it actually makes you use just enough of those brain cells to make you trip down to the library to find a book to read on a topic you enjoy watching.


  1. I sense a hopeful note in this post. It makes me a little hopeful too. I can't say it's happend to me, but if it's happened to even one person then we are a step ahead!

  2. My wife actually convinced her book club do read People Magazine one month because it was the only thing she would read consistently.

  3. Hey - whatever gets people reading is OK in my book. :)

  4. I remember the show All Creatures Great and Small! That also lead me to borrow some of the books from the library, in the 80's. I remember finding them hilarious. I wouldn't mind a chance to re-read those someday.

  5. Charles: I am hopeful because this was always the one area that my wife never really expressed an interest in pursing. So whenever she gets the itch to read, I'm gonna be as supportive as I can humanly become, and then some.

    Bearman: That sounds pretty cool. I would think that most book clubs aren't really up on pop culture as they claim to be, so it must've been a refreshing change of pace.

    Lynn: Absolutley. If watching t.v. inspires my wife (or anyone else for that matter) to read, I'm all for it.

    S.R.: I enjoyed his books immensely. I first found out him via an audio book of his selected shorts, then his t.v. series, then the books that the t.v. series was based on. I'm pretty sure that they're still in print, and I remember reading a very good biography of him that came out in the mid to late 90's.

  6. Good luck G! Mr. RK insists on reading everything I write...and as a result my dad and brother have used him as a guinea pig for their own fiction for years as well. So far he hasn't complained ;)

  7. R: Thanks.

    Strangely enough, the only guinea pigs that I have for my stuff are my blog readers, one or two chosen friends, and once in a blue moon, a cousin of mine whose a lawyer and a writer.

    It's nice to have a spouse and a few immediate family members who are supportive enough in your endeavors to take such a interest in a key component of your writing.

  8. Neat. I'm so glad she's going to read your writing, G!

  9. Talon: I'm glad too. But to be honest with everyone, I'm more than a little nervous about it, because this is the first time that I've had someone from my immediate family read my writing.

    I've had friends and other family members read my stuff, but not my immediate family.

  10. Oh good luck with that, but its great your wife wants to read your writing! I can understand your nerves though, I won't let my family near my blog. :D

  11. Joe: Thanks.

    I don't think I'll have anything to worry about with them reading my blog because, for better or worse, the rest of my family (save my 10 1/2 year old daughter) does not read.

    The last time my daughter read anything of my blog was about two years ago, when I had sit down to read some of the comments that were made when I did a post wishing her a happy b'day.

  12. My wife doesn't read my blog either. I plan never to make her feel obligated to know her husband of 56 years is anything other than the bloke she lives with...particularly a frustrated writer. My best

  13. Count: Makes sense. I never try to push my wife to read my blog either, but I do let her read what I write whenever she happens to show just the tiniest bit of interest in what's on the screen at a given moment.


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