In Perilous Pursuit of A Reading Life~and a postscript

you might suspect, given my cyber nom de plume, that i read more than what is considered normal, especially in modern society where entertainment tends to be focused on small, glittery electronic gadgets which create all manner of pixelated images and  enhanced decibel sounds. 

well, you would be absolutely correct in your assumption.  given the choice of listening to music, seeing a theatrical production, or watching a television program, i would most often choose reading, preferring to closet myself away with a good book than to have my senses assailed with images from a screen, no matter how wide.  

however, because my life is more often than not consumed with the minutiae of modern existence, i’m occasionally forced to pursue my reading addiction in rather dangerous ways.  i have given up reading whilst driving, succumbing instead to the safer version of audio books, which, while unsatisfying on a purely tactile level, is certainly preferable to the drivel of local radio stations, and assists me in working through the ever mounting bookstack which is my “to be read” list.

still, i often read during meals, unsociable as that may sound, taking my lunch break from work relatively early so as to creep into the lunchroom alone, book in hand, and allow myself a few moments escape from the workaday details of medical malpractice and insurance culpability.  of course, the bath provides an oasis of reading opportunity, and is a sublimely comforting place to lose oneself in a steamy novel.  (sorry, couldn’t resist)   and of course, lying snugly in bed propped up with several plump pillows, i allow stories to lull me to sleep each night, and then coax me awake in the morning.

so, where is the danger in that? you wonder.  well, consider the effect of those moist whorls of lavender scented air wafting from the heated waters of the tub, not to mention the peril of a sleepy, relaxed reader who just might lose her grip on the edges of the cover.  and what about the broth from my favorite minestrone soup, which, quite without provocation, seems to leap from my cup and onto the pristine white pages of the book propped open so gingerly against the salt and pepper shakers.   not to mention the potential danger to my personal safety when one of those oversized tomes collapses from my dozing grip and lands directly upon my nose.

 oh my, this reading life is perilous indeed.

now tell me, do you have any dangerous reading habits?

~postscript: in reading your comments, it appears we’re all willing to risk considerable peril to snatch a few more precious moments of reading time!  Now I’m wondering…where is the most unusual place you’ve ever read??


14 thoughts on “In Perilous Pursuit of A Reading Life~and a postscript

  1. I suppose my most dangerous reading activity is (like you) in the hot bath. I’ve never yet dropped a book (though several have gotten slightly warped pages from the steam) but once I did drop a cordless phone in the tub! It dried out and was okay.

  2. Reading in a hot tub is sure to steam up more than my reading glasses. (BOOKs, Silly!) I have had to stop when library books get to that ‘moist’ point. I’ve dropped my share of books into bubble baths, too…

  3. Yes, all of the above! I steal every moment possible during the day and into the night to read. I try really hard to take care of my books, but I don’t always manage. I’m absolutely addicted to diet soft drinks, especially Cheerwine (popular in the southern U.S.), and as the name implies it is dark red. Being the klutz that I am, many of my books have been dyed a lovely shade of rose. Oh well, at least they were mine, and I didn’t have to take them back to a library and explain. I’m glad I found your blog!

  4. I have given up reading around messy food. Munchies, sure. Liquids and sticky things — I fear I must be careful. I don’t mind getting sticky fingers or even a spill on a mag article but no matter what the book, I can’t bear to have a spill!

  5. LOL, love this post! I’ve purposely given up bath reading (and thus, baths almost altogether in favor of a quick shower) because of the poor drowned books. I’ve become a big fan of the audiobook and the danger in that lies in switching CDs while driving. I suppose my most dangerous reading habit would be in picking up a new book and reading whilst following the boyfriend around through the hardware department. I was thoroughly engrossed in the first few pages of Water for Elephants one day when I discovered he was leading me around in circles just to see how long it would take me to notice (not long). 😀

  6. I read in the bath almost every night, and aside from a few wet corners (for those times when I just couldn’t wait to turn the page until my fingers are dry) all of my books are intact.

    Many have small coffee stains, or sticky finger prints…

    The dangers to myself are while walking, I’ve ran into things, while cooking I’ve burned myself… and I might (occasionally) read while I drive. I hate to admit that one, because even I know it’s ridiculous.

  7. LOL I do plenty of damage to my books. Many of them have been waterlogged or burned or bent. The most hazardous thing to myself is probably the time I snuck in The Handmaid’s Tale to work and read it while I was supposed to be… umm… working. It was certainly hazardous because being caught whilst reading it would endanger my job and thus my well-being. Luckily I have an office, not a cubical, and I can shut the door. Since that one time I haven’t had the courage to bring a book to work.

  8. Uh huh, I’m definitely also a bath reader. Long live the paperback :D. I once even dropped a book into the bath, it was completely submerged for a second or two, and the individual pages had to be dried with a hairdryer.

    I’m often eating or drinking while I’m reading, so I end up having books which are stained with unidentifiable food substances or tea/coffee stains. My cookbooks have some particularly interesting specimens of various food stains.

    I can’t read on the bus or in a car because that gives me motion sickness, but whenever I’m on a train I always read. If I’m not careful, there’s the danger I’ll miss my stop.

    I also like to leave books open on their spines, which I suppose is dangerous because it makes the book wear more quickly, but I think that having a completely closed (even with a bookmark) book is much more final than leaving a book open. One is like a stop, the other’s just a pause.

    My most dangerous habit is reading books while walking down the street and sometimes even while crossing roads.

  9. I once sat down with a book and a badly balanced cup of boiling hot herbal tea. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I managed to tip the tea over and burnt myself appallingly – it took 8 months for the scar to fade! But I just learned to add a dash of cold water to herbal tea before I ever took it anywhere. It wasn’t the book’s fault!

  10. I’m sure people I’ve worked with have thought me unsocial at times as I much prefer to take my lunch break by myself so I can read!
    As far as unusual reading spots – well nothing dangerous but I always take a book to the movie theater. I like to get there early to get a good seat but hate watching the ads (previews I like) so I’m the odd girl reading in the movie theater before the movie begins 🙂

  11. I’m a fairly “tame” reader — I’ve never read a book while “driving” a car but I do read when someone else is driving. I love to read in the bath and in bed…I read at the hockey arena..I’m always carrying something with me to read. I love to find snatches of time and just take those few minutes to lose myself. The only drawback to reading in the bath is becoming so relaxed that the book might slip into the water!!! I think I’ve done that once!

  12. I can’t imagine trying to read while driving! I do listen to audiobooks, however, and especially if there’s a cliff hanger and I have to change CDs right away it can get me into trouble. 🙂 I read in baths as well-I have a muscle condition and really hot baths help a lot, so books keep me entertained! The last time I dropped a book in the bath was when I was eleven and Anne of Green Gables went for a swim. I also dropped one of my Pride and Prejudice copies in a hotel hot tub (it was really crowded, so I didn’t have any elbow space)

    Unusual? Hmmm….when I was in elementary school, I lived in central Texas where tornadoes are really common. We didn’t have a basement, and my bedroom closet was in the center of the house, so whenever there was a siren, we turned my closet into a comfy little room. For a couple weeks after, I’d just lay in there reading for hours! I also used to read walking across my college campus sometimes. And in trees. I’m pretty tame, I guess.

  13. I love everyone’s comments to this post. I unfortunately (or fortunately if you ask my books) am too obssessed with crisp, clean books to dare reading one in the bath. I suppose the only weird thing I do is read and watch tv at the same time. Other than that I’m also fairly tame. I read in bed at night. I read during my commute – oh! I once got on the subway going the wrong way because I was busy reading and didn’t notice for quite awhile!!!

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