What Are You Reading?

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'Yuck.” It was a text that fell like a thud on my phone. I just revealed, rather self-deprecatingly, to a friend that I hadn't finished a book in roughly a year. Maybe longer (who can remember anymore?) His response: Yuck. I felt great.

It's not that I don't try to read. Every couple of months, I get super ambitious, start five books all at once, feel really proud seeing them all stacked up on the side of the bed I'm not currently sleeping on, and then the inevitable happens. Work piles up, Netflix adds Death Comes to Pemberley, I suddenly decide a social life is something I'm interested in—and poof— the books stay unread. (Though, in my defense, I will say I read the Times and my various magazine subscriptions with the rigor of an AP English student trying to get into Stanford.)

'It's not like it's a character flaw or anything.” my friend said. Oh, thank God. I was so worried. “I just don't usually start a book I don't intend to finish.” Which proves something I've believed for a long time: There are book readers and there are non-book readers. I'm starting to worry that I'm in the latter category.

The funny thing is, I'm in a book club. Full of teachers! I figured the structured social setting, along with the fact that teachers always read the book, would encourage better literature habits. Want to take a wild guess if I've finished any of the three books we've read as a group?

Before I give up entirely, I've got one more hypothesis—that maybe I'm reading the wrong books. Which is where you come in. What's one book you've read that you could not put down for the life of you, the book that kept you up past your better judgement? The book that TRUMPED NETFLIX? Turn me into a reader, readers. I beg of you.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.