Reason: You can’t read that book in one afternoon, there’s like 300 pages with endnotes.
Reader: No, honestly, it’ll only take a few hours.
Reason: See, that didn’t take a few hours.
Reader: It’s only three o’clock in the morning. What’s next?
Reader: What about that new Jacques Roubaud?
Reason: You do realise a book addiction can only lead to ruin? It’s the most time-consuming antisocial addiction imaginable. It’s worse than heroin since you can’t share a book like you can a needle.
Reader: What do you mean "you" can't? And two people can’t delight in the same book?
Reason: No. People read what they like, they don’t like you foisting your reads on them.
Reader: That might be true, but if there aren’t any speedy readers in the world, how do all the books get read?
Reason: You need to prioritise which books to read and which to not. Read.
Reader: But if I don’t read Madame Bovary based on the fact millions of people, for the last century-and-a-half, have read it, I’m missing out on some mighty fine literature, no?
Reader: And I frequently read unknown books to make look smarter and more educateded.
Reason: On your own again.
Reader: Yep. Me and me, we make a good team.
Reader: Look, the alternative is wasting my time watching some dribble on the ewetoobs, or clicking like a madman on the interwebs, or writing a story that goes nowhere. Reading focusizes me.
Reason: How about friends?
Reader: I’m working on that. I’ve moved to Glasgow, I need time. And no, I haven’t joined book groups or anything.
Reason: Too busy reading?
Reader: I hate you.
Reason: And I you.
Reader: Get out.
Reason: . . .
Reader: Good. Now where’s that Jacques Roubaud?