Recently I entered real life again, after being on vacation for almost two weeks, and having to go back to work after a vacation is seriously the worst. Fortunately, I found three friends to accompany me during these dark times. Meet my friends, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. That ‘s right, the bestselling trilogy by Suzanne Collins about Katniss Everdeen, the lovely but grumpy heroine of this dystopian adventure. By now I finished the first two books and I know that a bad word about this series will never again leave my lips. I’m probably five years late to the Hunger Games Party, but that shouldn’t matter. We all get to love books in our own time.
The Hunger Games are accompanying me during my hardship and I find that I want to spend every possible second of my time with the series. This can happen with some books. Sometimes the reading experience is so good that you want to read every free moment you have, everywhere you go, but at the same time you don’t want the story to ever end. I have recently read a couple of books that made me feel this way and it can be very difficult to explain to other people why you’d rather read your book than hang out with them. To prevent anyone’s feelings from getting hurt, I’ve devised a way to read your book whenever you can, while still being an awesome friend, partner or family member. Without further ado, I present the guide to Sneak Reading.
One of my favourite times to read is while travelling. Free from distractions like your computer or the TV, it becomes so much easier to lose yourself in the world of fiction. Reading while driving or biking is very dangerous, so I would never advocate that, but reading on public transportation is a whole other story. Having a book with you means that you can block out all those crazy strangers who want to chat. You can also more easily ignore all the terrible smells and forget the icky diseases that like to linger in train carts, subway stations and bus stops. You will be transported via pages to different fictional worlds and can arrive at any destination in no time!
Not everyone has the luxury of travelling with public transportation. I rarely ever, because my work is a short five minute bike ride from my house. So I don’t really get to read while commuting, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read while travelling. On occasion I walk places and am reminded of the fact that there is nothing nicer in this world than walking and reading at the same time. It takes some practice, but as a life-long walking reader I have managed to stay safe fairly well. As a little girl I was a big fan of the scene in Beauty and the Beast where Belle walks around her small village, reading and avoiding all kinds of hazards like a bookish ninja. Let me tell you, in real life that is very difficult. No one will try to keep you safe or move out of your way. If you bump into someone on the street while reading they will be very mad, so I suggest practicing at home first.
Build yourself a obstacle course at home and try to walk and read without falling over anything or walking into one. If you have pets, enlist them as well, as practicing with moving targets is always best. Finally read up on tactics by Lev Grossman, famous walking-reader and bestselling author. After these steps you are ready to enter the real world with a book in hand and you can brave the dangers of the cities in and outside of your pages.
After all this travelling you have arrived at your destination. This could be work, school or any other place where you are surrounded by people who want to spend time with you. The reading stops here, you would think, but it doesn’t necessarily have to.
Reading at work is tricky, as it could possibly get you fired. However, when your book is really good, it is a risk worth taking. Just make sure you do not openly antagonize your boss with your reading and start a revolution where your co-workers are the Districts and your boss is President Snow and you are fighting for a reading-revolution. It will never end well. Try hiding your book underneath a pile of work papers, underneath a counter or read a .pdf file of the book on your computer. If your job requires reading fiction on a daily basis, then you have no reason to read this blogpost and I am too jealous of you to even look at you, so please back away. But definitely don’t forget about your lunch-break. You can easily use this half an hour to read in public and there is no one who can tell you to go back to work, because break-time is your-time. If your co-workers call you boring for reading instead of interacting with them, just throw them a scowl. People who make fun of you for reading will never understand.
If you have managed reading while walking and you don’t have to deal with teachers, bosses and co-workers, but you do have chores and house work to do, there is another great way to sneak some more reading into your day while not letting your house go to shambles. Often when I emerge from reading a great book in the span of only a couple of days, I can look a bit disheveled. Reading a good book in only one or two sittings means that you will have no time for anything else and this can turn your appearance – and your house – into something that is similar to the fashion we see in The Walking Dead. For advanced readers, it is possible to prevent this by reading while doing physical labour. I can now manage to read while brushing my teeth, cook and clean up general areas in the house. Although you are only kind of cleaning the house, it will still make you feel a bit productive and you will not look like a crazy person who just crawled out of their basement.
Another great time for reading snippets of your book is during breakfast or dinner. This will only work when you are alone, but I have recently gotten back into enjoying my breakfast with a little literature. At the most I will have ten minutes every morning before I go to work, but this is plenty of time to read a chapter or two. Some danger lies ahead though, because if your book is very exciting it will be much to difficult to tear yourself away and get to work on time. So use with caution!
Finally, the shortest and most advanced sneak is reading while in the company of others without them knowing it. This requires you to have the book at hand at all times. As soon as the other person turns around, gets distracted or leaves the room, you take out that book, read a few sentences and then direct your attention back to the person who will never know that you briefly left the conversation. Ease in to this way of reading by only grabbing your book while the other person visits the bathroom and slowly work up to mumbling answers to questions you do not hear while you are secretly reading your book that is taped on a wall right behind the person you are talking to.
With these tips you can finish that page turning novel in no time. If you have any tips or definite don’ts about reading secretly in public, please share! Only together can we learn to be extremely socially awkward and well-read at the same time.