Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You Have the Right to Remain. . . Reading

When I was called to report for jury duty the other day, I packed a bag as if I was going on a very long journey. I brought crackers, grapes, a granola bar, and a bottle of water. I brought a notebook stuffed with writing prompts, a handful of pens, a pencil, an older issue of Glimmer Train magazine, and a book of short stories. I was ready for anything, even a full day of sitting and waiting.

That was exactly what happened. I waited...and waited. I ate all the crackers and grapes, drank all the water, read the whole issue of Glimmer Train and half the book of stories. I got cranky. I dozed. I walked around. But, as I wandered, I saw something that made me happy: I saw people reading. Actual books.

Yes, some people talked to each other and on cell phones, checked their email, and watched TV BUT most heads were bent over magazines or books. I saw Dennis Lehane's newest book, a hardcover by Jodi Picoult, one by Nelson DeMille. I also saw a number of paperbacks - some new, some old and creased - but I wasn't nosy enough to find out their titles.

So, the next time someone laments the future of printed books or reading in general, I suggest they volunteer for jury duty. They just might like what they see.


  1. Well, dang me, Mad. I start jury duty March 8 and you gave me ideas for what to pack!! And I'll keep an eye out for what people are reading too. That should be fun.

    BTW, did you get on a jury? The two times I've actually gone to the jury room I've gotten on. Kind of hope this time I don't...

  2. Hey, Gay - nope, no jury for me. I got on a panel but the case plead out so they didn't need us.

    Glad I gave you some ideas for what to bring. You know what will happen now, don't you? You'll bring tons of stuff and then get called in right away! :)

  3. Same for me. Except the snack thing. How did I forget snacks? Anyway, I, too, noticed tons of folks reading. And talking about what they were reading. Made me smile!

  4. I had to bring snacks, Cathy. I was afraid if I didn't, my growling stomach would distract everyone from their reading! :)

    I sort of wish I had asked people about their books. I could've went around the room, taken a poll, added a few more books to my to-be-read list (like I need to do that!)