Books vs. Burpees

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” -Cicero

If I were stranded on a desert island and could choose a completely illogical thing to take along with me, I’d choose a library, or at least a gigantic stack of books to read. By contrast, I’m pretty certain my husband would choose a CrossFit gym — or else he’d just build one using palm trees and coconuts, but that’s beside the point. My philosophy is that reading is exercise for one’s mind, which is just as important as exercising one’s body. (I’ll quietly add that I think it’s even more important because I’d choose literacy and mental acumen over physical fitness if I had to make a choice between the two, but hopefully that day never comes.)

And therein lies a single bone of contention in our relationship: I want him to read more books! My husband does read books — great books — and enjoys them a lot, but he’s not passionate about reading in the way that I am, or in the way that he’s passionate about going to the gym. I’m all in favour of personality differences because our relationship would be a very boring one if we had exactly the same interests, but it’s good to delve into the other’s passions, too, because it can teach us a lot about each other.


That’s part of the reason why I started going to CrossFit. I wanted to explore the mysterious world that had so captivated my husband. After enough time spent there, I’ve also fallen under the spell of its appeal and, consequently, have a much better understanding of my husband. I point this out to him, saying that I dedicate two hours a week to “his CrossFit stuff,” so he should really be dedicating a solid two hours a week to reading the books I suggest. He agrees, and has been slogging away at Moby Dick (an impressive aspiration, I must admit, and his own choice, my warnings notwithstanding) … for four months. The problem is, I’ve read at least 25 novels since he started Moby Dick, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of stimulating literary discussion going on. On the other hand, he’s probably done at least 25 more workouts at the gym than I have, so it’s all relative.

Once he does finish Moby Dick, though, I have a long list of must-reads to round out his liberal arts education. He’s the first to admit that engineering school seriously lacked in that area. He’ll certainly have his work cut out for him with my reading list, but then I think of all the pushups and weightlifting he’s made me do in the past, and it seems like perfectly fair payback.

P.S. I love you, J 😉

Related Posts on Feisty Red Hair:
Our Slightly Masochistic Weekly Pilgrimage to the Library


5 thoughts on “Books vs. Burpees

  1. The image of a husband who doesn’t like to read tackling Moby Dick for the sake of the marriage is incredibly sweet. (As is the crossfit thing, too, but….Moby Dick!!!) Sounds like you guys are two lucky people to have found each other. Good luck with the reading pile, and the weights!

  2. Haha, actually, I do like to read – I just haven’t yet acquired the taste for some of the more verbose works. I’ve read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and I think it somehow traumatized me due to the paragraphs that went on for literally PAGES. Moby Dick reminds me of that.

    P.S. Baby, you’ve dropped the gauntlet, and I’m SO picking it up. It’s ONNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

    P.P.S. For the record, though I’d happily take a stack of books with me to the desert island, I’d probably opt for something that would get us OFF the island, like, say, a boat, or a helicopter.

    P.P.P.S. Fifty burpees when I get home 🙂

  3. It seems a cruel and unusual punishment to have him read Moby Dick! I amazed that he has stuck with it, and not surprised at all that it’s taking 4 months. There are lots of books out there that could round out his liberal arts education without being such a slog. Even War and Peace is easier to read!

    1. I did not suggest Moby Dick! In fact, I urged him against it, but Jason is a wonderful man who likes to take everything to the extreme. Of course this meant tackling one of the most challenging books in the Western literary canon. Anyways, I’ve been encouraging him to finish so that he can read others that are much easier and just as edifying 🙂 I think he’d love The Sisters Brothers that you recommended!

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