I thought a lighthearted piece would probably be timely. Last year, I wrote a piece about Murphy’s Law for Writers so I thought I would take the topic again and look at it from a reader’s viewpoint.
So how could Murphy’s Law apply to readers then? As follows, I think, but send in your suggestions via the comments box. Some of what follows will be for when we resume normal life again but the general principles apply.
Readers and Books
1. You will either have lots you want to read or nothing! There is no middle ground.
2. You will either have plenty of time to read or not enough. Again there is no middle ground.
3. You will never find a bookmark when you want one, despite knowing you do own loads of them!
4. You don’t mind taking in stories in different formats but will sometimes have difficulties working out whether you want to read in print, in ebook format, or listen to a book. Sometimes there can be too much choice!
5. You will either be someone who doesn’t mind folding down a corner of a page to keep your place in a book given you’ve already fallen victim to 3 above OR you will consider anyone who does such a thing to be a monster! Again there is no middle ground.
6. You’ve just settled down to read your favourite book. You can guarantee the phone will go, the post will come, the dog will bark, a delivery will turn up all at the most critical point of the story.
7. You’ve got a long boring day ahead of you doing chores. You plod on and get them done so you can reward yourself with a decent drink and a good read. The moment you sit down to read Point 6 will occur.
8. When it comes to adaptations of favourite books, there will be one that will be an absolute favourite. You will not understand anyone who chooses a different one especially if it comes to Pride and Prejudice and that scene with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy emerging from the lake. I mention that just as an example to illustrate my point of course.
9. For humorous prose, you will come across something that is so funny you will have to read it at least twice before moving on. My moment here? The Great Sermon Handicap by P.G. Wodehouse.
10. There will always be time to re-read favourite books. You’ll have your own ones here.
11. You will never let anyone else borrow your favourite books. You will tell people where they can get them for themselves though.
12. A book will always be too short if you are engrossed with the characters.
13. A book will be far too long if you are not engrossed with the characters.
14. You will not allow a morsel of food or a sip of drink go anywhere near your favourite books.
15. You will be irritable if anyone else goes near your favourite books with anything that even looks as it might spill and ruin your precious… (nod to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings for the expression there!).
16. You will always be torn as to what you read next. It is the lot of the reader.
17. You will always be torn between reading short stories, non-fiction, novels, flash fiction etc. Again this is the lot of the devoted reader knowing there is so much out there for you to read, you will never have enough time to read it all. So you have to choose – and there comes the dilemma.
Now the following is very much for when life gets back to normal again – and one day it will. It will be lovely when Chandler’s Ford Library and the bookshops are open once again. (And that is a sentence I never expected to write. I never anticipated a time when such things would ever be shut, bar public holidays of course).
Readers and Libraries
1. You simply cannot spend too much time in a library. (Library staff may beg to differ when they want to go home though).
2. You will know your way to your favourite shelf and could go to it sleepwalking if you needed to do so. (It is not recommended to try this incidentally. Traffic will get back to normal at some point as well!).
3. The sense of disappointment you experience when the book you want to borrow is already out will be in direct proportion to how long you’ve wanted to read that book.
4. You will have a long list of books you want to borrow. Well there’s no point in just going in there for one or two now is there?
5. You will be on Christmas card terms with the staff of the library you most often visit. Naturally the cards you pick will be book related in some way.
Readers and Book Shops, Events etc
1. How much time you spend in there will be directly proportional to your budget and shelf space available.
2. You look forward to Christmas and birthdays because, while choosing the appropriate book present for someone you care for, there is bound to be that little something which just suits you too. It would be such a shame not to pick it up while you’re there…
3. Book tokens and gift cards you can use in bookshops are the best invention ever. People who send you them are to be treasured.
4. You will know where all the local bookshops are. Indeed, if someone asks you for directions, you will use these as landmarks to navigate by rather than pubs etc.
5. If you even hear a rumour of a book fair, you’re on to it and will be one of the first to turn up to it. (Authors adore you for it!).
6. Author events are something you live for (and they do too of course!). You have to work out before you go just how many books you think you can bring home with you. It will be a weight you can carry issue. You’ll worry about finding space on the bookshelves later.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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