When I first met Stan, my soon to be husband, he was reading "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck, "Slowness" by Milan Kundera and David Bohm's "Thought as a System." Of course this was a compelling triad, and as hard for me to condense into a simple analysis as his penny loafers and his combat boots, his flannel shirts and his collared rugbys. I was particularly compelled by "Slowness" because that was my new dating motto and I had just read some Milan Kundera myself. But "Slowness" does not properly characterize Stan's reading profile. Stan is an intense reader, but as I think about it, I can honestly say I don't know if we've ever read the same book! OK, that's not true. We've read all the Harry Potter's and I've started the Golden Compass series that he's read about 10 times. But Stan's main passion for reading lies more in the equation than the word. Physics, science, math and action/adventure novels abound. Right next to me at this desk are: "The Sun, the Genome & the Internet," by Freeman Dyson, "The Computer and the Brain" by John von Neumann and "Circles: fifty round trips through history, technology, science and culture," by James Burke. He's also always reading that Feynman guy (he has 3 humongous volumes that look larger than the freakin' encyclopedia), Einstein and actual physics textbooks. He keeps a Calculus manual in the bathroom and has "Meta Math: the Quest for Omega" by Gregory Chaitin on the coffee table.
I don't know if I could make it all the way through one of these books, no matter how compelling I found the subject matter and he wouldn't even pretend to be interested in reading 99.9% of mine. That used to drive me crazy. I had this vision of us lying in bed and reading to each other. To be fair, he has humored me a couple of times, but I can see him rolling his eyes behind the book. These days, I happily read my piles of memoirs, lite-novels, heavy novels, advice books and spiritual tomes (mostly) without shouting "honey! you've got to stop everything and read this!" And, occasionally he'll tell me his newest thoughts about polarizing different colors of light or number theory and I'll really mean it when I say that's nice, dear. But we have come to accept that we are very different readers, just like he is obsessed with motorcycles and I am not. All I can say is, when the shit really hits the fan and things start to fall apart, I'm glad somebody in our house understands quantum mechanics.