What are you reading?

We all ask each other a lot of questions: “Where did you go for vacation?” “How did you sleep?” Or, my favorite, as I eye the last bites of chocolate cake on a friend’s dessert plate, “Are you going to finish that?” (A question memorably featured in the 1982 movie Diner.) But there’s one question I think we should ask of one another a lot more often, and that’s “What are you reading?” It’s a simple question but a powerful one, and it can change lives, creating a shared universe for people who are otherwise separated by culture and age and by time and space. […]

When we ask one another “What are you reading?” sometimes we discover the ways that we are similar; sometimes the ways that we are different. Sometimes we discover things we never knew we shared; other times we open ourselves up to exploring new worlds and ideas. “What are you reading?” isn’t a simple question when asked with genuine curiosity; it’s really a way of asking, “Who are you now and who are you becoming?

~ Will Schwalbe, Books for a Living

And after being prompted by several friends to share what I am reading, here’s my current list:

  1. Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe
  2. A Slight Exaggeration: Essays by Adam Zagajewski
  3. Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  4. If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems by Vera Pavlova

And yours?

Photo: (via nini-poppins)


  1. So, what are you reading?😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, that’s a great way to get to know people. I’m reading:
    1. An unpublished book on Indian philosophy, written by my sister who passed away eight years ago. It’s amazing, touching, a discovery! I’m sorry I wasn’t interested in this stuff when she was alive, we could have had so many interesting discussions. Now I have to have these conversations in my head.
    2. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham. I never read Grisham when all my friends were reading him in college, and I’m surprised at how well written and gripping it is, though of course one can’t call it literature.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A frequent query among my friends. Having a discussion over a book or getting a list of recommendations fills me with utter delight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The answer is very revealing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. i do ask my daughters and one of my friends this question on a regular basis – it tells us so much about each other

    Liked by 2 people

  6. roseanne333 says:

    Love this post! One of my very closest friends and I have been doing this for a long time. Leads me down paths I may not have chosen.
    Happy long weekend, David.😎

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes…
    Smiling thinking how for years I had a blank sleeve to cover the books I’m reading.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. just finished Magpie Murders (Agatha christie like whodunnit with a modern twist — good light read); The righteous mind (why people get divided by politics and religion – good premise, a bit of a slog); some ken follett book (only because book group is making me read it … not loving the style). Happy Rainy Labor Day Weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nan Morrissette says:

    What’s the primary thing you look for and look at when you go to someone’s house for the first time? What books do you see? Are they dusty? Are they brand new ir worn? Are themes apparent? It’s the best possible place to begin a conversation or, for that matter, a relationship.
    Great quote, David!
    Nan Morrissette

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Nan. Thanks. Your thought reminds me of this great must read essay:

      I despair of flats with no books in them at all…..But cleaning in a bookless house is slightly soul-destroying. These are the work all day, work all night, make enough money for a deposit and holiday you can show off on Instagram, no-funsters. And they are dogged in their pursuit – to work as hard as possible, to buy maybe a bigger flat to put no books in.

      ~ Michele Kirsch: My life as a cleaner in London
      As a cleaner, Kirsch brings insights from her writing career to her current job – and reveals some home truths.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Nan Morrissette says:

        Yep. I used to know those people. However, I never used to BE those people.

        In the early 1970’s I had a lovely, small bookstore, Spectrum Books, in downtown Portland, Maine. (Right across the street from the Portland Museum of Art.) It was a place of great vibes, and many followers from the arts and academic communities, which were all around me. Portland was a welcoming place for a small bookstore back in the days before Borders and B&N etc. Certainly before Amazon. I always think of that shop as the best part of my education, I still have friends I met there as customers.

        Portland has, even now, some excellent indie bookstores; Blue Hill (the next peninsula down from Acadia National Park, has one of the best. If you ever come to Portland, Maine for a visit, let me know – I can share some great places,with you… to eat, to drink wine, to hear live music, to see, to sail, and to read.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think most of us wouldn’t mind being polled about what we’re reading. Books are those friends from childhood on, in all our lives, whom we don’t mind sharing at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s a great question. It’s a way of sharing knowledge and entertainment, and invites conversation and discussion. I’m never offended if someone asks me what I’m reading and am happy to share it, unless it happens to be erotica (haha, just kidding). I just read Guernica by David Boling. Amazing insight into what happened to that Basque town during the Franco days.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is so nice to know what people read… I add some of books to my reading list. Especially I am looking for Adam Zagajewski (translated version for my own language)… I heard this name again in your blog I think. Right now, what I am reading is, standing three books, 1 ) Eduardo Galeano / Women( Mujeres), 2) Georgi Gospodinov / The Physics of Sorrow, 3) George Orwell / 1984 (again reading)

    Thank you, Love, n,a

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Summer reading fluffy read… We were liars, triology: this summer I turned pretty, its not summer without you and we will always have summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Out Stealing Horses, thanks to you David. Really great read. Then on to The Other Side of the Bridge which I think is another from your reading list. So thank you David for the suggestions and the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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