On Reading: Books vs. People (with Giveaway)

I’ve noticed that I’ve become more introverted lately. It takes more effort for me to reach out to others, because I’m very content staying at home — reading or catching up on my DVR. My life is busy, so time alone or with no responsibilities is pretty highly guarded.

Imagine how validated I felt when I read about Jennifer Wilson’s struggles to jump into her new life in Croatia that she chose for her family and detailed in her memoir Running Away to Home: Our Family’s Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters:

Closet shy. Huh. Jim had called it.

It’s not that I was a loner. It’s just that, over time, I’d come to prefer my own quiet company. I used to think this was because I had kids who peppered me with questions all day long and so I carved peace more than anything else. But I guess it was also tied to an emotional laziness I’d developed in my thirties. I’d never been a party girl. Then somewhere along the line, it got easier to curl up with a book than to go out and be social. Books had beginnings and endings clear-cut characters I could understand. In real life, my friends morphed into spouses or parents or committed singletons, and suddenly everyone seemed more sensitive and distant than when we were all in college together.

–Excerpt from the advanced copy of Running Away to Home, page 92

Ah yes. People are complicated. Books aren’t always. They offer an escape and they are definitely easy. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way, but I’m also glad that one of the ways I can escape into books is reading about people like Jennifer Wilson’s brave experiences picking up and leaving America for Croatia for a year. It sometimes inspires me to put down the book and make a real connection or dream a real dream.

If you liked this insight that Jennifer Wilson offers, click through to my full review and giveaway of the book over at 5 Minutes for Mom. Leave a comment over there to win one of 3 copies of the book. If you leave a comment here about this On Reading post, you’ll also gain an extra entry in the contest. The winner will be announced in our Monday 5 Minutes for Books column over at 5 Minutes for Mom on November 7.

The giveaway is closed

So, do you agree with this? Since you’ve gotten older have you become more introverted? Do books have anything to do with that?

Jennifer Donovan reads and writes (reviews mostly). You can find her here managing 5 Minutes for Books and occasionally blogging at Snapshot.


  1. says

    I’m finding the opposite to be true actually. I was a very introverted, bookish child. But I married an outgoing guy, and we now have an extremely outgoing daughter, which has forced me to socialize a lot more than I ever thought I would! :)

  2. says

    I have found over the years that I have become introverted in my social life in the sense that I do not seek it out. However, when I am socializing, I am not introverted. I fully enjoy time to myself – reading, and thinking all in peace refuels me greatly.

  3. says

    Definitely an interesting idea to think about. Hmm. I think I HAVE become more introverted with age. But then I wonder if that’s not also just my season of life at the moment – having three small children to mother. It makes getting out harder and my quiet/alone/responsibility-less time much MUCH more valuable and I do guard it rather ferociously.

    I think books do offer me an easy escape and so I keep going back to them! I have to work harder to get out and fellowship more, that’s for sure.

    Hmm….good questions!

    • says

      I’m not saying that books are the reason. I do think it’s because of age and stage of life. However, books (and technology as a way to “be” with people) do make it much easier.

  4. says

    I wouldn’t say I’ve been getting more “introverted” – since I still love going out to party and have fun – but I would say that I am more of a “homebody” since I’ve gotten older. And yes, yes, I’m only 21, I know that’s not “old”, but since I’ve committed to a serious relationship with my boyfriend, I’ve enjoyed staying at home more than going out every night. And to keep me busy while I’m busy being a homebody, books do encompass my life a lot more. Running Away to Home sounds really good. I’m a huge non-fiction and memoir fan so this book is definitely right up my alley. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Linda Kish says

    When I am out walking my dog, I smile and make small talk with everyone I meet but the thought of having deep conversations with these people or really getting to know them, no thanks. I am very introverted. But because I make small talk, people don’t believe it. I’d much rather be home alone with my dogs and books.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  6. Kayo says

    I’ve always loved books more than people.. Now that my children are grown… I’m loving people more. I do read so much more now that they are gone, but oh how I miss them here!

    Keodell AT Centurytel DOT com

  7. says

    Hmm… I *do* think I’ve been less overly social in everyday life. I thought it was just due to the exhaustion of work/home/kids. I guess I’d have to consider if it might be related to books…

  8. June says

    Reading books can take you places that in reality you may never get to visit some day. They help your imagination run wild. And if you ask me there’s nothing wrong with that. I do allot of socializing though, because I care about people in general.

  9. Beth C says

    I do like to stay home more than I did before! I hadn’t thought much about it but it is definitely true! And I am reading more!


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