Yes, there are heinous sins that can be committing when you are a reader. No one is perfect. The reason I know about all seven of the deadly sins of reading is because I’ve committed each of them at one time or another.
So what makes something a reading “sin”? It’s actually quite simple: anything that can take away from my reading experience, the experience of others, or causes structural damage to the book. The point of reading is two fold: first, to gain knowledge and second, to be entertained. If you find that you have committed any of these sins than please, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes.
- Reading someone else’s book before they do
Now this is just plain mean. If someone gets a book, or if you get a book for someone else, it is simply common courtesy to allow him or her the time to enjoy their book before you jump into their comfy seat. Now I know this one can be very hard, especially when you are a fast reader and your friend/family member is a slow of distracted reader and they have the sequel in the series you want to read. Just have patience and do your best to find another book. They will finish eventually.
- Dog-earing pages
When I read through a book I don’t want to see a bunch of turned down corners. This is especially bad if the person who is reading the book is busy or easily distracted because they dog-ear twice as many pages. Now I know some of you may be thinking this is just a personal pet peeve and that it shouldn’t be listed among the major reading sins, but consider the purpose of a book mark. You can buy a fancy one that slides onto the page, get a free one when you go to a bookstore, or even grab a piece of toilet paper to mark your spot (I prefer to fold a sticky note in half when I’m desperate, but to each their own). This is similar to the sin of slothfulness. Just stick something between the pages.
- Skipping to the end of the book
What is the point of reading the rest of the book when you already know how it ends? This is especially applicable if that book happens to be a mystery novel. The only exception to this is when you are struggling to get through the book and you need to know if it’s worth it. This happened to me when reading the last book of the Eragon series. I felt like it was dragging on and on, and wanted to see if it was worth it. (It wasn’t). So just keep reading and remember the joy is in the journey not the end goal.
- Refusing to read a book because it would ruin the movie
This is like saying I don’t want to look at any work by Picasso or Rembrandt because it’ll make your neighbors artwork look bad. What!? First off, you should never deny yourself the opportunity to experience greater art because it will ruin the lesser work. That just sounds plain silly. Talk about masochism.
- Breaking the spine
It just invites everyone else to do the same. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book with a broken spine and felt like I was only contributing to the day when it eventually broke in half. Be polite and don’t do this…
And especially not this…
(The spine was already broken. I felt terrible about having to do this to a book, but it needed to be done for the greater good).
- Rejecting a book before you try it
“How do you know you don’t like it until you try it?” How many parents have tried that on us, right? But seriously, you can’t know until you’re at least given it the good ol’ college try. You don’t have to finish it, just like you (hopefully) didn’t have to finish your green beans if they made you gag at the dinner table. But don’t say it’s bad unless you’ve actually tried it. I have never spoken a bad word about the Twilight books because I’ve never read them. The movies on the other hand…
- Continuing to read a book when you don’t like it
Again, masochism. Don’t torture yourself if the book sucks. Now I know this is a weird thing to include in the Seven Deadly Sins of Reading, but think about it. There are so many good books out there that are begging to be read. If you spend your time reading a terrible book (or just a book you don’t like) than that gives you less time to read the books you will like. When people are forced to read books they can’t stand then they may end up hating books. In which case the sin falls on the enforcer. Books, as I said previously, are meant to be enjoyed. If you aren’t enjoying it than you aren’t doing it right.
So when you decide to pick up a book just remember that there are commandments that need to be followed so that you can enjoy reading to the fullest and not make anyone else miserable. Now go find that book you love, grab a nice cup or tea, hot cocoa, or whatever your preference tells you, and get comfortable. Happy reading.