Do’s and Don’ts of Reading in Public

Most consider reading to be an intensely personal activity. Usually, it’s best to keep the emotional theatre that a novel can induce to the confines of one’s living quarters. But even purebred introverts go stir crazy sometimes. When the time comes to brace the great outdoors, the last thing you want is for people to doubt your prowess as a reader. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to bear in mind when reading in public.   


DO: Cross your legs


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Any intellectual worth their salt knows that posture is half the battle. For communicating maximum enlightenment, you can’t go wrong with the leg cross. It’s confident. It’s patient. It’s comfortable. It’s critical. Cross those legs. See Zadie and Chimamanda above.  


DON’T: Go to the library

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Just because that’s where all the books are doesn’t mean it’s where you should read. This isn’t about earnest pursuit of knowledge. It’s about catching eyes. Reading at the library is like buying a suit from Men’s Warehouse. It’s the first thing you think of and the last thing you actually wanna do.


DO: Dress to impress


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Good readers usually know how to dress, but if you frump too hard you’ll look like a first-timer. Aim for somewhere between first date and the morning after. Studies have shown again and again that people find reading incredibly attractive, so do your best to rep the team.  


DON’T: Lick your fingers to turn the page 

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Who decided this was socially acceptable? This was weird from the moment Mrs. Creol got her slobber all over Charlotte’s Web in the 1st grade. It’s unhygienic to say the least. Not to mention, it doesn’t actually make turning the page any easier.  


DO: Open it in the middle

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It doesn’t matter where you actually are in the thing. A half-read book shows you at least have a lot of resilience. If you’re further behind than the strategic placement of your bookmark suggests, you can always claim to be re-reading an earlier passage. Or just dog-ear where you actually are and the general public will be none-the-wiser.  


DON’T: Get distracted if someone tries to engage you 

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If some seemingly innocent passerby inquires about your reading, don’t be fooled for a second. It is a direct attack. Do not panic when this happens, lest you appear defensive. The veiled threat can take a variety of forms. “What do you think so far” = “You’re in over your head”. “Have you read any thing else by them” = “You picked the wrong book”. “You’re gonna love it” = “Don’t be scared, dumb dumb”. Do not respond to these instigations with anything more than a smile and nod. Be vigilant. Be aware. Stand your ground.   

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