You don’t need me to tell you that reading is the greatest hobby in the universe. We’re all agreed on that, right? Great. But here’s the thing: it’s also the single most dangerous activity in the world. Skydiving? Baby steps. White water rafting? Don’t make me laugh. There is just one hobby that has more pitfalls and perils than any other out there — and that hobby is reading.
Book stores pretty much need to start selling hard hats and high-viz jackets, because there are a ton of things that can go wrong when you’re reading. You might find out how the book ends. You might fall in love with a character who dies and breaks your heart so badly you can’t leave your room for weeks. You might have your nose so stuck in your book that you don’t look where you’re going, and then you trip over and a bookcase lands on you. You never know.
So it’s time to start paying attention, and taking this wild and wonderful hobby as seriously as it deserves. There are five seriously dangerous mistakes you might be making that are ruining your reading experience. Luckily for you, I’m here to point them out to you, so you can live to read another day.
1. Googling The Book You're Currently Reading
Are you insane? The Internet is full of spoilers! It can be so tempting to Google-stalk the author, or look up that amazing scene you just read so you can see what everyone else thought about it. Don’t do it. Don’t even tweet about it. Don’t click on that hashtag. Don’t even turn on your phone, OK? The Internet is a dangerous place, and someone out there knows exactly how your book is going to end.
2. Telling Somebody What You're Reading
If any of your friends ask you what you’re reading — lie. Under no circumstance are you to tell them what you are actually reading, because you just know they’re going to jump in with an excitable “Have you gotten to the part where…” and then before you’ve had a chance to punch them in the face, they’ve told you that Dumbledore dies.
3. Not Bookmarking Responsibly
Is reading some kind of joke to you? Always bookmark responsibly. If you lose your place and you have to skim through to find it again, you might stumble across a massive plot twist a few chapters ahead. Go ahead and fold down those page corners if you must (I know, I know, this is a crime, but we’re talking about book safety here, people). Better yet, buy an adorable bookmark shaped like a pizza.
4. Not Bringing Enough Books On Vacation
If you don’t have an e-reader, your vacation preparation should always involve at least five days of solid book planning. I’m talking writing up a schedule, calculating your reading speed, adding up words per page, factoring in slower speeds after a few rum punches on the beach … take it seriously. Trust me, you do not want to find yourself on vacation with nothing left to read. You might have to talk to other humans.
5. Finishing Every Book You Start
I’ve heard countless bibliophiles proudly utter the immortal words, “I never give up on a book”. I get it, I do. Heck, I used to be one of you. But guys, I need you to listen to me now: You are making a big mistake. Reading is a joy; don’t make it a chore! Would you force yourself to finish a plate of food you were hating? No, you’d go in search of a delicious pizza instead. So don’t slave through that 800-page monster that you’re not enjoying. Swallow your pride — and pick a new book.
Image: Francisco Osorio/Flickr; Wifflegif (5)