One of the interview questions asked in the reading study I talked about last week has been stuck in my mind ever since. The question:

What would it be like if for one reason or another you couldn’t read?

My mind shies away from even wanting to think about it. Yet I keep going back to it, wondering, what would I do? I would be devastated I think. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Sure there are audiobooks but they aren’t quite the same experience. I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. Books are a part of who I am and if I couldn’t read it would be like losing a limb or something.

Granted, I would certainly have more spending money, but there is nothing I’d want to buy instead of books. And the idea of having to fill all that reading time with something else makes my mind go numb. It wouldn’t be television. I’d probably spend a lot of time staring at a blank wall until I could find something that would be as engaging as reading. Maybe I would take art lessons. Or music lessons. But I don’t think either of those could fill the hole in my life that not being able to read would create.

Past experience tells me I would be sad and cranky all the time. Whenever I’ve moved and had to pack up all my books I find I become oversensitive to everything. Stressed beyond all reason. And even mean. Most of the rooms in my house would be nearly empty without the books. I’d have to figure out a new decorating scheme. My garden would probably have fewer weeds. The house might be tidier since I wouldn’t have an excuse not to clean and a lot fewer things that collect dust. I might go out more often to places other than bookstores. But I would be unhappy.

And you? What would it be like if you couldn’t read?