Someone asked the the other day, seeing me reading an excellent novel set in India, (A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry; McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1995.), if all I read are novels or would I be open to reading something a bit "deeper"?
I had to chuckle to myself. The person asking the question doesn't know me at all, just noticed that I had twice been seen in a public place reading a novel, ergo, some assumptions.
I do indeed read many books with far more "deep" and academic content. Mostly they are theology texts or some "lighter" philosophy books. However I am careful to read them from within the confines of my own home. While I do learn a tremendous amount from these wonderful books, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to discussing them with anyone else, so generally I limit my comments to discussion with my husband, the one who understands me best and is least annoyed by my pestering him with my often ignorant questions.
Most of the people I know well are either seasoned academics who don't have the time or desire to assist me with my ideas and questions, because I am simply not "one of them" and they have busy lives surrounded by people who share their passions for the academic life and mien (both outward and inward). Since I don't have the background education in philosophy and other areas to carry on a truly intelligent and well rounded discussion, nor the ability at this point to hold my own in any sort of disagreement, there is little interest in talking about such things with me. This I completely understand and am sympathetic to. Some of these people have careers teaching academics to students and after school is over they need to spend time talking to their peers instead. It makes sense.
The rest of my friends and family only have limited interest in the things that interest me when it comes to learning more about philosophy and theology and that is just fine. I have limited interest in some of their pursuits as well. This is why relationships work with people outside our everyday field of study, or career, or leisure time pursuits. Each person brings a variety of knowledge into a conversation and within bounds, we have some sort of concern for the other person's passions.
So I sometime find myself trapped between two extremes in life: one the one hand there is my husband and his friends and colleagues who deign to allow me access to their discussions sometimes. Many are able to help me along my own path to understanding, but also require a great deal of time, naturally and expectedly, to have time without my "beginner" questions and ideas. On the other hand I know many people who have no interest at all in any sort of deeper discussion possibilities in these areas of interest to me.
I feel like I am walking a tightrope some days, between the very academic crowd of people in our lives and those who are not interested nor capable in walking with me into these areas. Balancing between the desire for more academic knowledge and being able to live the life I have to live each day is not always easy.
Hence, there are some weeks where I am happy to lose myself in the fantasy world of characters in a well written novel. There are some very good novels out there, although they are not always easy to discover. Research is required, as well as time to search endlessly through library and book store shelves. Every once in awhile you find a wonderful gem.