Books, my Significant Other, and me

Books, my Significant Other, and me

Today is a monumental milestone in my relationship with my Significant Other. Suffice it to say that we’ve been together longer than some of my coworkers have been alive. πŸ™‚

As regular readers know, I like to keep the universality of the internet intact. Not everyone has the same sort of relationship, and I think that by not defining what ours is here, I allow other people more freedom to not be defined by theirs.

I do, though, share important things with you that are outside of the details, if I think it will relate to your own life in some way.

What I wanted to do here was look at how books have been part of our lives together. You may see parallels with your own relationships; you may not. I hope, though, that you’ll find it interesting.

  • We actually first met when I was managing a brick and mortar bookstore. I’ve never really thought about it before, but I’m sure that was a recommendation. My SO is a reader, and certainly, I’d feel more confident in meeting somebody if I knew they were connected to books, and especially if I saw how. I have to say, though, that I’m not sure my SO understood the long hours and time commitment that being a retail manager meant…
  • When my SO first saw my bedroom, I’m sure it was a shock. There were literally books stacked on the floor, two or three feet (up to about a meter) high. I was in the habit of jumping to the bed from a path that ended a couple of stacks away. This isn’t exactly book related, but I’ve mentioned before that I have some color vision deficiency, and, I think as a result, superior night vision. I used to just have a red 25-watt lightbulb next to the bed, which was bright enough for me
  • Back at the bookstore, I always remember one unfortunate adventure we had. One of my regular customers told me that one of my employees (an assistant manager) was stealing books. The customer said that the manager would leave at night with stacks of books. That’s something that’s clearly different with brick and mortars: we used to have a goal that “shrinkage” (shoplifting, damage, and employee theft) wouldn’t exceed eight percent. Well, there was very little damage (there was that one time that somebody sprayed a ketchup packet from a fast food place over a few shelves), and we did have shoplifting…but employee theft was a real problem. I liked this employee a lot personally, and we wanted to verify the report. So, my SO and I parked in the parking lot several rows away from the store, and slunk down in the seats at closing time. Yep…we saw the employee leaving with big bags full of books. This was a young person, about to move on to a new stage in life and not likely (I thought) to be a big threat to a future store. I chose not to turn the person into the police, but this employee and I had a somewhat oblique talk about what might happen to someone who was caught committing employee theft in that circumstance. Our inventory seemed to be “mysteriously” bolstered by the possible return of books, and I think the point was made
  • When my SO and I moved in together, I was asked what I was bringing, and I’ve been told I said, “Just a few books.” It turned out to be bookshelves worth…
  • Later, when we eventually bought a house, we bought one with an “extra” bedroom, just to become a floor to ceiling library. I remember the day our kid realized that the books always got a bigger room than the kid. πŸ˜‰ I also remember our kid saying that an ambition as an adult was to have more books than me (that hasn’t happened yet…)
  • I’ve seen the joy many times when I received the gift of a book on a topic I particularly liked that I didn’t have yet…my SO has commented in the past how difficult that was to do (although Amazon wish lists can make that easier, it’s even more fun if I haven’t even heard of it)
  • One time, we were moving from one house to another, with our best friends’ help. I was told that they would never help us move again if I still had all those books πŸ™‚
  • Having KindlesΒ has meant that we can share books in a different and better way. I’d never read the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. My SO liked them, but always passed them on to a sibling. With our Kindles, I ‘ve been able to read them…even at the same time as my SO (in fact, I get kidded about “competitive reading”…that I was trying to read them faster). That means we’ve been able to discuss them and share that experience. I think I’ve had the advantage with my geeky low threshold of amusement, though. πŸ™‚ My SO has not liked the most recent ones as much, but I still enjoy them. Even more impressive to me is that my SO just readΒ The Midwich Cuckoos. That’s science fiction (the basis for Village Of The Damned (1960), among other things). I’d mentioned I thought it was just “good writing”, regardless of genre. Even though it did get very talky and philosophical later on, my SO soldiered through…that’s love for you πŸ˜‰ By the way, I can certainly see parallels between myself and Zellaby, although there are differences as well
  • When it came to me writing books (and this blog), my SO has been incredibly supportive. I only rarely get good-naturedly ribbed about only being seen behind a computer, but always followed by a statement of strong approval for what I do. That’s not because of the income it generates (a small fraction of what we earn), but because of an understanding of what it means to me. I could not possibly write this without my SO: I’m a different person now, better in so many ways, than I was before we met. I can not thank my SO enough for how we have grown together

What about you? How have books affected your relationships? Have they been a bond? A barrier? Did you start a long-term relationship because of a book…or end a short-term one? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in theΒ I Love My Kindle blog.

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7 Responses to “Books, my Significant Other, and me”

  1. Karin Says:

    I had been working in an independent bookstore for 8 years (full and part-time) when I met my husband. I actually had met his boys first, because they came in to read the comics every couple of days. He came in to look at the remainders, which were right by the cash register, so I couldn’t fail to notice him. My husband doesn’t read as much as I do, his reading is more sporadic. We often talk about the books I read, and I try to read the books that interest him. So for me, books brought us together, and we are still together after 28 years. We often talk about that now closed bookstore, with great fondness.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karin!

      Congratulations! A long term relationship like that is built, not just found…although finding it can seem like magic. πŸ™‚ Your husband showing interest in what y ou read, especially when not being such a reader, is a sign of true respect.

  2. Zebras Says:

    My husband has a learning disability, so we are exact opposites in the reading department. He seems to get me and my need to read, I had books everywhere, now I have Kindles everywhere. It might have seemed natural for me to work in a bookstore or library, but I think I would have been so distracted by the books, no work would ever have gotten done!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      The fact that your husband “gets” it is a great testament!

      Being interested in the books is a plus in a bookstore, not a minus. Wanting to share the books with others is part of what makes it so rewarding. The nearly impossible thing for me was tearing the covers off paperbacks to send back to the publisher for store credit…that was hard!

  3. Zebras Says:

    No, really, no books would have been put on the shelves, no one would have been checked out. At B&N when I went p-book shopping, they would try to give me a basket, and I would say no thank you, I only allow myself what I can carry in my two arms. Sort of like a challenge on a reality show. How many books can one person carry? LOL

  4. beccadi Says:

    When my husband and I got married and merged our libraries, we had 70 grocery bags full of duplicates. Granted that we live in a small community, but our house has more books than the local library.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, beccadi!

      That’s impressive! Both in the number of books, and in the similarity in tastes. I don’t think my Significant Other and I had much overlap, except perhaps in things like Shakespeare.

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