Fancy That! I Married a Non-Reader

I don’t know how it happened, but I married a non-reader. This was years ago but at the time, it didn’t occur to me that he was a non-reader. I sometimes wonder how it could have slipped by me because reading has been a part of my life since I was a small child. How in the world could I have married a man who HATES to read? I know that hate is a strong word, but that is the word he uses to describe the act.

For years, I’ve pushed books his way. He loves history and documentaries that have anything to do with sunken ships and the ocean in general. With this in mind, I’ve put books into his hands that might fit the bill, but as soon as he sees a book his eyes glaze over. Don’t get me wrong, he tries, but once he sets the book down, it stays down. I’ve pretty much given up.

I suppose it’s good that one of us is a non-reader, in that, when I get into a reading jag (and that is what I call it), someone has to feed the kids, get them dressed, etc. So perhaps there is balance there, yet it’s just not readily visible. It does peeve me sometimes when he gives me “the eye” over reading “too much.” To him, it’s too much. To me, it’s never enough.

I suspect this is one of the main reasons I started this blog. When you read a particularly good book, you want to talk about it, share it with the world, etc. Here, I know that I am in the company of others like me. No one gives me the eye for gushing about a book. No one questions the time I spend reading. You all get me, and I in turn, get you.

It’s a beautiful thing.

I do wish sometimes I could find that one book to turn him around but I’ve accepted that it’s just not his thing. Apparently, it’s not my son’s thing either ( I haven’t given up on him though), but my daughter makes up for it. Thank goodness she is a reader or I’d be completely out-numbered.

Do you live in a household like this?

72 thoughts on “Fancy That! I Married a Non-Reader”

  1. I absolutely live in a house like that!!! My husband can’t stand to read, and he just doesn’t understand how I can read so much. I think he’s getting it little by little. I can’t say he hates to read, because like you said that is such a strong word. But since I’ve been with him (9 years) he’s read 2 books cover to cover. One was Seize the Night by Dean Koontz because once he started reading it, he couldn’t stop. And one was The Husband by Dean Koontz because I was in the hospital and he sat by my side for days and days. I thought maybe get him more Dean Koontz, but that was 3 years ago and sadly, no more books read yet =( I’ll keep working though!! Great post Ti!

    1. Koontz is a good writer that way. Once you pick up one of his, books they are hard to put down. BUT, my Hub will find a way to put it down.  

  2. I live in a house like that too…my husband hates to read, but he’s trying out our book club…and he seems to like dystopian YA, but he’s not as dedicated a reader as many people because he can put down a book and never feel the urge to go back to it.

    Its only the two of us, but when we have kids…they better all take after me!

    1. It’s funny because with my son, I did the whole “read to him in utero” thing and he still turned out to be a recluctant reader. With my daughter, I meant to do all of that with her but I was so tired from her marathon feedings that I blew it off and SHE’s the reader.

  3. I hear ya sister! My husband does not like to read either. When he was in the vehicle a lot for work he did listen to a couple of audiobooks that he enjoyed though. I thought I was going to get him hooked that way but it didn’t happen. My daughter never liked to read, even after all the reading I did to her when she was little. My son was more like me…enjoying reading since he was quite young. Then once he hit college and found himself having to read hundreds of textbook pages he finds that he doesn’t want to take the time to read anymore. He has enjoyed audiobooks more recently though.

    1. My husband will only do audio books if I am the one playing them AND there is at least 3-4 hours of captive driving. Otherwise, he gets distracted and cannot follow the story. Perhaps it’s an attention thing. Maybe he is just unable to focus for a good chunk of time.   This is all making him sound like a real dolt but I don’t mean to make him sound bad. He just doesn’t belong to my club 🙂

  4. This is my house, too. My husband will go in spurts of reading, but mostly he is a non-reader who just cannot understand why I want to “waste” all of my free time reading. My oldest daughter loves reading like I do, while my middle daughter enjoys it, but is not as obsessed by it as we are. My littlest daughter is too young for us to know what she will really be like as a reader.

    1. Usually The Hub is a good sport about my reading but once in awhile he tells me I am wasting time which really bugs me because I am a multi-tasker from way back! I can cook a meal, help with homework, AND read all at the same time. Fancy that!

  5. I cannot relate as my wife loves to read and I’m always picking out books for her from the library. However, she’s usually not interested in what I’m reading and finds my book-related posts on my blog to be boring.

    My mother also is an avid reader and can be blamed for my love of pulp fiction like Agatha Christie, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth and James Michener, to name just a few. My father, though, isn’t really a reader, and my sister with a job during the day and a 3-year-old at night doesn’t have a lot of time (or energy) to read.

    1. I think it’s neat when a husband and wife read different genres. I always think that it promotes more discussion and perhaps influences you to try different books. Since I am not living this personally I can only assume.

  6. Yep! HB only reads magazines (and I suspect he only looks at the pictures :-)). He has read 1 book in the 18 years we’ve been together…and that was only because he was in Costa Rica with bad waves and no tv and he was bored out of his mind.

    Fortuantely, he could care less how much time I spend reading.

    1. When The Hub gets bored he gets bugged if my nose is in a book, and I am not bored. Like I have to be bored with him.

  7. I do understand to a certain extent, Ti. My husband does read some, but I grew up in a house like this. Well, I was the reader and everyone else was not. My mother did not stop me from reading (like she could have), but my Dad did not see reading as much more than a waste of time.

    My husband, bless his heart, has never, never criticized me for reading. He does read some, probably about 10 or 12 books a year. He likes Lee Child, John Sanford, and that type and also he read a lot as a young teen in the fantasy genre. He still likes that, but says it’s kind of hard to keep up with the series. I pick out his books for him and try to get new authors along. He doesn’t have the patience to book shop. His passion is golf and so when we vacation we are both perfectly happy. He golfs, I read and then we do stuff together.

    Our daughter is not really much of a reader either. I tried as she was growing up, but she just didn’t take to it. More like her dad in that regard. She is passionate about movies though and loves them so much. It’s OK. To each his or her own.

    For me, reading is like breathing. I must have it. Good topic, Ti.

    1. It sounds like you and your husband have found a good balance. Golf and reading. That is the problem. My Hub does not have a hobby so he looks to me to give him something to do 😉

  8. My husband is a reader but a very slow reader; I would doubt he reads a dozen books in a year. He likes it and loves to learn by reading but it’s an attention span issue for him. My daughter is my non-reader, as I think I’ve told you, but my two boys both are readers. Yet they all look at me like I’m nuts when I gush about books and show off the latest in my collection!

    1. Haha!! I get the wild-eyed look when I gush about a book I’m reading and The Hub often just does the “uh huh” thing.

  9. My Huz is a nonreader too. He’ll read histories or political books, but that’s it. I came from a family with two reader parents, so it’s strange for me. He doesn’t really understand my obsession with reading, but he’s definitely supportive of it. My older sister and younger brother don’t like to read either. I always try to give them books I think they’ll like, but usually they don’t read them. No kids yet, let’s hope that when they come they’re on my side.

    1. When we go on vacation, I have to build reading time into it. I try to get the family to understand that we don’t ALWAYS have to be out and about, but it doesn’t always work. I sometimes have to read at night, while they are asleep for it to feel like a real vacation to me.   My family was split growing up. Dad was a reader, Mom wasn’t but neither of them ever encouraged me. I just found it on my own. I try to remind myself that perhaps The Hub will find it on his own as well.  

  10. I’m not married yet, but this post totally caught my eye because it’s one of my things I look for! Haha, I have had a few boyfriends who don’t read at all and it’s always something in the back of my head where I’m wondering how in the world it will work out since reading is one of my favorite things. Your point about someone needing to take care of the kiddos while you read was a great one! Maybe I’ll have to think about that more now. If I choose someone who doesn’t read then maybe he can do all the household chores??? 🙂 Also, interesting article about this exact topic on Salon today (called Why Men Don’t Read). I tweeted about it today. I think it’s fascinating because so many men don’t and so many women do.

  11. Funny how you don’t notice these things, isn’t it? When my husband and I met, we gravitated to our commonalities…music, sports, etc. Only later did I realize that he is not a big reader. He doesn’t hate it, but is very busy and does not prioritize it very highly. He’d rather watch a basketball game, or hang around the pool with a glass of wine. It really hasn’t gotten in the way of our relationship. Like you said, at least in those desperate times, there is someone around to feed the kids!

    1. Granted. I didn’t spend as much time reading back then, as I do now but the fact that he doesn’t, completely escaped me. Would it have really made a difference if I had noticed? Probably not. It’s just interesting to ponder.

  12. Same here. Husband is not a reader. I don’t think he minds the books except when they are everywhere. I try to keep them out of the way so he doesn’t trip over them. 🙂

    He does keep wondering when the blog is going to start making money though. lol!

    1. The time we spend blogging could be its own topic. My Hub wants to know when the money is going to roll in as well. Considering that I don’t have ads, I am guessing it’s going to be a long, long time. He’s never been to my blog either or he’d know about the lack of ads. I don’t do it to make money but it would be a nice benefit!

  13. This sounds like my house too! Neither my boyfriend or my son are big readers. My boyfriend loves to read The New York Times and that is about it. My son will read if he has to, for school. I guess that’s partly why I started blogging and also started a book club with my friends. I wanted to find people to talk to books about! Thank goodness for the blogging world so we can all stay sane!

  14. Mike is a huge reader, thank god. Now that we have kids he reads more than I do (funny how that works) but before kids we were about the same. He’ll get into a series tho and read non-stop til it’s DONE.

    1. This might be a generalization but it seems that male readers seem to enjoy a series more than just a stand-alone book.  

  15. My husband is a reader, although not quite as much of one as I am. He has other interests which take priority more often than not. He once told me that he doesn’t mind my obsession with reading and books at all, in part, because I don’t seem to mind his own obsessions (games and such). Fortunately for me, he is willing to listen to me go on and on about a book I am reading and has even helped me organize my thoughts despite his not having read the books in question.

    When we first met, we were drawn to each other because of our love for writing and books. I can’t imagine it having been any other way.

  16. I’m not really sure whether to classify my husband as a reader or a non-reader. Maybe an occasional reader? He goes on reading jags for weeks at a time where i can’t get his attention for anything. But then 6 months might pass before another jag and he won’t read anything in the meantime.

    1. If he can get that into a book when he does read, then I would call him a reader. It will be interesting to see what Daniel ends up being 🙂

  17. My first husband read a lot for work, and as a result (or so he said), he very rarely read recreationally. I knew he’d grown up in a non-reading family and really didn’t push it with him (although I was bound and determined that our son would take after me!). I figured he’d read if he was interested. And yet, during our protracted break-up, he brought up the fact that I’d never tried to “share” my reading with him. What??

    Husband #2 reads for fun, but at nowhere near the rate I do. However, we do like some of the same authors, and his interests are probably more varied than mine. But what I most appreciate is that he doesn’t object to my having the light on and reading in bed – and I don’t object when he does it, either. That’s a nice way to share reading :-).

    1. The Hub is a heavy sleeper so I am good there. Light can be on, etc. Book lights have come a long way too! They are pretty effective.

  18. My husband was an English major in college before we got married, so I just assumed he loved to read. I think he saw it as work in college, so he didn’t really read anything for leisure for years after college.

    He doesn’t really like anything that I read (he likes dense classics). We just started reading and discussing books together this year, and sometimes it’s a challenge to find things we both want to read.

    His reading is always analytical, and he’s not obsessed like I am.

  19. I love to read! My husband – never, ever reads. Well – except for gossip mags when we are flying somewhere.

    I always wish he would be a reader too – I feel so guilty sitting and reading all the time – I would love it if he would join me occasionally

  20. My boyfriend is a nonreader too. He reads slowly and doesn’t have much patience, so getting through a book takes forever. He does like to listen to me read, though, so we’ve done that a few times. I feel guilty when he comes over and I feel like I’d rather be reading!

    1. Reading would be hard if he came over to see you. It’s easier in a married situation (although I poke fun at it) because I just go to a different room and then he eventually finds something to do. Or, I do laundry at the same time and then he really makes himself scarce.  😉

  21. Pretty much. My husband reads tons of new items, but a book of fiction? I’ve only seen that a few times in the six years we’ve been married. He just doesn’t set any priority on reading. We do have interesting discussions when I talk about things I’m reading, though. And I’m turning my daughter into a book-lover!

    1. I love fiction myself but know that The Hub is more interested in non-fiction so I pick out all sorts of books on topics that I know he likes but it still doesn’t work. As soon as it’s in book form the eyes get heavy, the face goes blank. I guess with all the good documentaries on TV he doesn’t see a need to READ about it.

  22. I also have a non reader husband. We had been going to Aruba every May, and about 6 years ago he brought James Patterson’s Black Friday with him . He read a few chapters, and brought the book back with him the following year, but still did not finish it…LOL Now it is a running joke, when I pick out my stash of vacation books, he says “don’t forget Black Friday” for me.

    He reads 3 newspapers most days and lots of magazines, but no books. He has even tried non fiction, but just can’t seem to focus long enough to finish a book.

    He does not mind my book addiction, and I don’t bug him about watch EVERY sports game on the planet on TV. For us this works.

    1. That’s pretty funny about Black Friday. I love putting together my vacation stack but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to take. Guess your husband doesn’t have that problem 😉

  23. You’re so right! I’ve never watched so many films and documentaries in my life, until I got married. We see several a week! They’re usually good, but I still prefer reading, myself.

  24. My husband is a non-reader as well. We still spend time together, I read next to him on the sofa while he watches tv wearing headphones. It’s weird, but it works.

    1. I have kids so I’ve learned to tune out the noise, so his TV watching doesn’t bother me at all. It’s nice that your husband is willing to wear headphones though.

  25. What a great post! My boyfriend doesn’t hate to read but he certainly doesn’t enjoy it. He basically never does. I’m the reader, he’s the mathematician in the relationship – it all works out!

    1. It’s funny how it all works itself out. We are complete opposites with a lot of things but we get along just fine.

  26. my husband likes to read and does every night. my sister, on the other hand, doesn’t read much at all! we grew up in the same house with our parents reading all the time (and reading to us!) and if she reads a book or two a year it’s big news.

    1. It’s the whole “are you born with it?” conversation. I really believe that some people are just born to be readers. It can be cultivated in some, but how do you explain one sis who loves to read, and the other being so lukewarm to it? I’ve always wondered about that.

  27. My husband reads sometimes, but it’s never a priority with him. I can’t remember if he ever put anything down to read a book, but he does like to read at night before we go to sleep. He never really cares how much I read, though, which I’m grateful for!

    1. I just get so much out of reading. It’s how I unwind. If I didn’t do it, I’d be one uptight mama. I don’t read nearly as much as some other bloggers though. On average, maybe an hour a day and a couple on the weekend. That’s not so bad. Right?

  28. Mine reads news articles on the internet. Constantly. He “read” textbooks during his years of college, and he reads law and policy books during the day at work. He reads product manuals, and life management non-fiction occasionally. But in the 19 years we have been together I have only seen him read ONE fiction book. The Stand by Steven King. I read it too, and we still have it as a monument to his accomplishment. As long as we have the history channel, he won’t be reading any books, and he would not read what I read.

  29. My husband is a reader so my situation is different but he’s not reading as much as he used to and tends to listen to audiobooks. My parents weren’t readers when I was growing up besides the daily paper or an occasional magazine. They didn’t understand my need to read or my weekly trips to the library. I can understand that it would be difficult to have a spouse that wasn’t a reader and didn’t understand your passion for books and reading. You’ve taken a look at the silver lining that he can take care of the kiddos when your reading so that can be a good thing! Great discussion here.

    1. The Hub gets my passion for reading about 90% of the time. The other 10% is quippish comments (did I just make up a word?) and overall snarkiness. He dishes it out and I toss it right back at him. I think he enjoys it 😉

  30. Great post! My husband claims he used to be a reader, but he’s not been one as long as I’ve known him. I know exactly what you mean about the looks, etc… about what and how much I read. We definitely need each other.

  31. Yes … I too have a mixed marriage! My husband doesn’t like to read … and it pains me but I’ve made peace with it. But it doesn’t stop me from trying to find books that will interest him!

  32. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one with a non-reading husband. But it’s still frustrating. I get the evil eye for reading too much sometimes, and if I’m on the couch when he comes home from work, I make sure to get up and fluff the pillows and put my book away. lol

  33. My husband was a reader – reading Patterson, Crichton etc… but he hasn’t read a book in 10-15 years. I blame in internet and TIVO for this change – he LOVES TV!

    Our son is a reader – he doesn’t get to read for pleasure too much these days with school but he reads a lot. He preorders books and will have the reading bug for his life. He is asking for the ipad, which will transform reading.

    1. I love the iPad for its quickness but I think it would hurt my eyes to read a book on it. I look at a computer screen all day for work so for me it would be too much I think.

  34. My husband is not a reader, but luckily he doesn’t complain about how much I read. He sees the value in reading and always makes sure that we are able to get to the library to pick up books. I think he would rather see the kids reading than playing video games or watching TV. He also likes to hear about what I’ve read because he enjoys a good story, but he doesn’t like doing the reading himself.

  35. Maybe you can encourage him to do the “watch the movie, read the book” challenge. Movies might induce the interest in reading.

  36. You totally described my home life. My husband has read some books. He’s read all the Harry Potter and he’s read all of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles but I can’t get him to read anything else. My hubby also likes history and documentaries so I got books related to those subjects he likes and nothing. I got him to read a book on wrestling but I’ve tried other ones since then and nothing. He would much rather watch tv than read and I’d much rather read than watch tv. TV goes to slow for me. I feel like they’re talking in slow motion. Is your hubby a slow reader? Mine is and that’s part of the reason he hates to read although I’ve tried to explain to him that the more he reads, the better he’ll become at it.

    1. The Hub IS a slow reader, like yours. I know that comes into play too. My husband just sees it as work. Period. He finds it boring and can’t see how reading a book is entertainment. I thought for a long time he just hasn’t read the right books but with him, it seems like it’s more than that. Almost like he has a hatred for it. Which of course is sad.

  37. My husband doesn’t like to read either, but he offered to try a book to share my biggest interest with me. He read The Hunger Games in just a few days, and gobbled up the next book even faster. He keeps asking when the next book is coming out. However, he struggles to read other books, so who knows how long it’ll last.


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