There are certain things that drive me crazy. Republicans, for one. I get very particular when it comes to things coming into contact with my clean clothes. Shopping at Wal-Mart for any reason.

And people telling me “they don’t have time to read.”

An old friend told me that he doesn’t have time to read fiction these days. Leaving aside the fact that this was part of a fairly passive-aggressive conversation (the implications being that his life is much fuller and more important than mine – he is too busy doing other critical and intellectual things to read fiction), I want to object to a society that lets people get away with saying “I don’t have time to read” – whether it’s fiction, prose, newspapers or whatever. The very concept is offensive.

I can accept “I’ve been very busy lately and haven’t had much the energy to read much this past week,” but claiming a lack of time is false and should be unacceptable.

And I suspect that most of us who love books have heard this from someone. It’s a way of putting us frivolous bibliophiles in our place and excusing themselves from turning off the television and picking up something whose purpose is to broadly improve the life of the mind.

So – don’t tell me you don’t have time to read. At least be man enough to admit the truth – you have chosen not to read. But you won’t say that, of course. Because that would confront you with the choices you have made instead – to watch American Idol or see the latest bit of trash by Adam Sandler, instead of picking up a book.

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