I was walking towards the pharmacy, deliciously lost (for the umptieth time) in John Lee’s more-than-awesome reading of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, when I overheard someone say, “You are what you read”. And since my brain’s sense of outrage often shares a direct connection to my tongue and teeth, I totally blurted out, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard today.”
I’m sure the person didn’t hear me. Seriously. The nasty
stay-out-of-my businesslook that she gave me must’ve been provoked by the fact that I had turned around much too quickly, and my sudden stop forced a glare out of her startled eyes.I’ve been thinking about that. No, not about her eyes. I’ve been thinking about her words. Now I think they might be the stupidest (and most dangerous) thing I’ve heard this year. Can you imagine a world where those words were true? Readers of Stephen King would be murderous addicts, readers of Edgar Allan Poe would be murderous psychopaths, readers of Jeff Lindsay would be… just murderous.But I’m choosing to believe that the woman wasn’t being literal. She was most likely just trying to get the teenage boy walking with her to read more books. Right? Well, I really hope so. Because the idea of a world where someone truly believes people become all the books they read is both scary and saddening.What do you think she meant? How do you feel about it? And do tell me what you are reading… I’m certain that the title(s) won’t tell me who you are.
a Sophie Gilmore illustration, in A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader