(Strip Number 5136, Original Publication Date, 24 May 1989)
Panel 1: Michael is clearly meant to be an irrational idiot when he raises the point that Elly's command to read a book would make sense if there were books in the house for him to read because he's standing next to a loaded book case. This makes of him an older version of the stupid child who has a room full of toys who complains that he's bored because he has nothing to play with. (What he probably means is that he himself doesn't own books and is too 'stupid' to risk asking John or Elly to borrow theirs because they'd act as if he was gonna eat them.)
Panel 2: He is also supposed to be a vapid twit when he peruses a bookshelf full of John's textbooks and doesn't realize that there's plenty for him to read. Why he's supposed to find 'kid friendly' and 'super-entertaining' selections like Pharmacology and Anatomy of the Head and Neck riveting is a mystery but I can see the appeal of A History Of The Sexual Practices Of North America.
Panel 3: It would appear that said selection is in the service of a very bad joke. This is because when he tells Elly that he's found something to read, she asks "Novel?"
Panel 4: When he says that it is to him, she stares at the camera in horrified confusion.
Summary: I should think that tomorrow's pointless argument that Elly won't admit to having is based on his trying to explain that if she wanted him to read books, she should buy books that he might like to read or perhaps bend on letting him go to the library instead of squawking about how That's HER Place And He Can Never Go There EVER!!!!