If you are reading this, chances are someone you know loves books and wants you to be aware of what you can expect if you commit one of the deadly sins against dedicated readers.
We would highly recommend that you follow the “Suggested Alternatives” given underneath each point. Remember, an angry reader is a dangerous reader. You have been warned.
Damage a library book.
Any book, really, but library books have a special place in readers’ hearts because they know that they will influence hundreds of other readers over the course of their lifetimes. And the only way to make sure that happens is to keep them in good condition.
Suggested Alternative: Stack books neatly, with the greatest care, in a clean environment, and never eat while reading.
Say “The movie was better.”
There may be an exception to this. I’m sure there is one somewhere. But I can’t currently think of any, and there is usually no way to provoke more horror from a reader than suggesting that a two-hour popcorn muncher could get across the full experience in a way the novel could not.
Suggested Alternative: Say “The movie intrigued me so much that I read the book, and I really enjoyed it.” (If you can honestly gush about how the book had so much more depth and character development than the movie, go ahead. If you can’t…reread the book. You’re missing something.)
Interrupt reading time.
I’ve already written about this at length from a book lover’s perspective. Take note. Be warned. There will be consequences if you disturb a reader fully engaged in another world via those pages.
Suggested Alternative: Stay away. Far, far away. Unless there’s an emergency. (And even then…how bad is the emergency, really? Is there blood or fire?)
Call reading a “waste of time.”
This is a general category for any derogatory comments about reading, caring too much about fictional people, or a near-obsessive impulse to buy new books even when others remain unread. Or comparing reading to other clearly less important pursuits like playing video games, T.V. watching, or cleaning. All of these are punishable by death glares and scathing remarks.
Suggested Alternative: Applaud the readers in your life for taking time to expand their minds, increase their vocabulary, and develop empathy with complex individuals who have the extreme misfortune of not actually existing in real life.
Make a “quick stop” into a bookstore
You just wanted to pick up a gift card for a Christmas present, but your reader has become lost in the shelves. You probably should have figured this out by now, but there is no such thing as a “quick stop” into a bookstore. Bookstores are not errands. They are experiences. So get comfortable…it’s going to be a while.
Suggested Alternative: Bring a survival pack with you on trips where you might intentionally or accidentally encounter a bookstore. This should include water, snacks, notepad to write down interesting titles, Band-Aids for any papercuts incurred while browsing, and a rope to tie to your reader‘s ankle so you can give it a yank if it’s been too long without any sign of life. Possibly also a pillow if you’re camping out to wait for a new release.
Your turn: what’s something that annoys you as a reader?