Before we go any further, I’d like to point out the title of this post, and the fact that I chose the words ‘pick up’ over ‘read’ because I figure if you’ve decided to read a book it probably would of happened long ago. I’m not here to try and convince you about the magic of discovering a story for yourself, of feeling a connection with an author who lived in another era, of the beauty of poetry. Pppfffttt. No, instead the following ten reasons provide a list of ways that you can use a book, both with the words it contains, and the physical mass itself, in ways you may not have previously considered (or you have, and you wanted to keep these hidden gems for yourself. If so, apologises for letting the cat out of the bag).
- Girls, have you ever gone to see the latest romantic comedy showing and been a little disappointed? Even though you may have liked the characters, and the storyline and the ending, there was something…off, about it? Maybe the main actresses always plays the same characters and you just find her to be a pain in the arse (cough, Sarah Jessica Parker, cough). Or the main guy WOULD be attractive, but there’s something about him that, no…you just can’t find any physical attraction to him. Luckily, these sort of issues don’t occur in chick lit, aka the literary version of a rom com. You can choose what they look like, whether you like them or not, and how best to ignore that annoying habit that they portray. Win
- Use it as a tool to avoid people. For some reason, earphones just don’t have the same power that a nice, big novel does. Ever been on a train and you’ve accidentally made eye contact with that weirdo over in the corner, only to find yourself stuck in a (very one-sided) conversation with them 5 seconds later? Bring in the power of the book. Not only does it make you look smart, instead of rude, but it also means that no matter what’s going on around you, you have a reason to steadfastly stare into your lap for 30 minutes without coming across as a weird recluse yourself
- Use it as a pick-up line. On the flip side, the humble book, when chosen correctly, can be used as a convenient pick-up line. By doing the sultry eye gaze thing over your penguin classic, you have the opportunity to look smart, mysterious and flirtatious all at once. Sexy-librarian glasses are an optional. Note: this move, while successful, has a high rate of making yourself look like a wanker. Just as a heads up
- Books can’t run out of batteries. Ever been, well, anywhere, only to be dismayed when your phone/laptop/e-reader/iPad/iPod (geez, we really rely on technology for entertainment a lot these days, don’t we?) dies of batteries, and you’re left facing the dark abyss of a long night with no entertainment? Advantage to books is that, unless they get wet (which, upon further thought, is a pretty big negative) they’re pretty unstoppable. Take that, Apple
- Be smug. Keep your reading on the down low and impress your friends by knowing the storyline to the latest film (because, let’s face it, 80% of all films these days have been based off a book). By impressed I do of course mean ‘piss off your friends by spoiling the ending/twist/character downfall’. But let’s be honest, while everybody hates that smug arsehole that seems to know so much, we all kinda want to be the smarty-pants. Just once. Books can give you that power people
- Be an ‘individual’. Ever wanted to be alternative and cool (although ironically, by being alternative in Melbourne you are actually doing what everyone else is doing), but just didn’t have the guts to shave off part of your hair or dress like a bum? Have no fear, books can be the answer. There’s nothing like a bit of Nietzsche, or some Hungarian literature, or poetry by Leonard Cohen (when purchased in penguin classic form it’s a double bonus) to make you appear aloof and above the ‘main stream’. I do however have to refer you back to point 3 as a possible means of how it can backfire
- Pass by time. Ever met up with a friend for coffee only for them to be 20 minutes late, again? Had to sit there, either playing on your iPhone (unless it has died of batteries, see point 4), or staring into space, or more accurately, staring at the bemused person at the table next to you? Wish you brought a book? Believe it or not, sceptics out there, reading about, well anything (except 50 Shades of Grey, there are limits) is more enjoyable then angrily waiting for your friend. Fact
- Quoting books. Far more impressive than quoting ANOTHER line from Die-hard (if people ever actually did that in the first place). Somehow, although it is rather cliche, people always appear far more sophisticated pulling out an Oscar Wilde quote than they do from the latest blockbuster. Perhaps because people don’t realise where it’s from and assume you came up with the witty line yourself? An extra bonus is, since you’re literally reading the words on paper, the chances of you embarrassingly stuffing up the line becomes a fair bit slimmer
- Be lazy, and get away with it. There’s this weird connotation that it’s OK to sit around reading a book all day. Try to get away with lazing around on the computer, watching movies or idling in front of the television and you’re considered lazy, incompetent and a bit stupid. Do it with a book and suddenly you’re an ‘intellect’
- Use it as a defensive tool. Worst comes to worse, even if you never actually pick up your book and open it, it makes for an excellent weapon. While wolverine-style hands (equip with keys) work in theory, in practice I have no idea how to punch people. And while my high heels may by lethal, asking a killer to pause while I take off my shoes seems unlikely. However, whenever I’ve had a thick hardcover book (I suggest the last few books in the Harry Potter series), I’ve never felt scared walking home alone late at night. Idiotic, perhaps. But I’ve had a 100% strike rate so far
I hope this list, which may not encouraging you to actually appreciate reading as a hobby, will help protect you late at night, increase your social status, and perhaps, if things turn out well, you may even get a date.