Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reader's Bill of Rights - Later Amendments

Last night as I was dropping off to sleep, I realized that the Reader's Bill of Rights needs at least one additional amendment.  I'm pretty sure I can come up with a few others as well.

And yes, I know that the Bill of Rights themselves are amendments.  That's why these start at eleven.

Amendment 11:  The right to read more than one book in a given time frame.

I usually have three to ten books I'm reading at any one time.  Some are non-fiction, some are short story collections, and most are novels of some type or another (usually different genres).

Right now, I'm reading (eleven books):

Wool, by Hugh Howey
The Castle, by Franz Kafka  (yes, I do read classics, quite often)
Mockingbird: a Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields  (biography) 
Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster (memoir/humor)
Indians of the Pacific Northwest, by Wine Deloria, Jr. (non-fiction)
Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
Wisdom of Psychopaths, by Kevin Dutton (non-fiction)
The Bone Chamber, by Robin Burcell 
Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs (memoir, maybe, who knows?)
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
Collected Stories, by William Faulkner  

Need I say that the last three, and Confederacy of Dunces, are not light reading. Engrossing, entertaining, enlightening, but not light.  I can only get so far in any given one of those without a break.  For the last two, I'll usually read a full short story.  Confederacy of Dunces and Naked Lunch, I'm not usually so lucky.  Confederacy of Dunces isn't that hard to read, but I'm having a problem with the characters being so stilted or two-dimensional.  Who would have thought reading Kafka would be easier than ... well, anyone. [I'm quite enjoying The Castle, btw.]

And as for Naked Lunch, you try to read it and see how far you can get in a single sitting.

As for non-fiction, biography, and memoir, I struggle a bit because I'm such a "story" oriented person.  Jen Lancaster is a great writer, but to me, Such a Pretty Fat comes across as a series of anecdotes tied to her trying to lose weight.  Mockingbird has a good story line, but there's so much detail thrown in that I have to stop after awhile or forget what I've read.  Same with non-fiction.  I can only consume it in small bits anymore if I want to retain it.  Face it, at my age my brain is just too full of other stuff.  

Amendment 12:  The right to own more books that you can possible read in your lifetime.

I don't know how many times I've gone to my book shelves and searched for something only to not find exactly what I desired.  I keep many, many books on hand.  Just in case.

Amendment 13:  The right to own a Kindle and still be considered a bibliophile.

See Amendment #12.  I never thought I would own a Kindle because I so love the smell and feel and weight of books, even when they hit me in the head when I fall asleep reading.  But I live in a condo.  I have one whole wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves, jammed full.  I was getting to the point that I was expecting a visit from Book Hoarders -- there should be a show called Book Hoarders; I know many.  I still have books piled up on my nightstand and coffee table, but now with my Kindle, I have room on my dining room table, kitchen counters, and dressers for things besides books.   [I do still have one counter in the kitchen for cookbooks.  The Kindle pretty much sucks when it comes to recipes.]

Amendment 14:  The right to fall asleep while reading.

A caveat applies.  You should be careful where you fall asleep while reading.  Snoring in the library isn't cool.  And sleeping in a crowded airport isn't safe, at least not any longer, especially if you're carrying a laptop or expensive purse.

Amendment 15:  The right to buy the same book more than once.

The Kindle helps with that because Amazon will tell you that you've already purchased said book.

Amendment 16:  The right to give-away/sell books.

Especially to make room for more books.  Or to share a favorite with a friend.

Amendment 17:  The right to get so lost in a book that you forget where you are, what you were doing, or why you care about the where you are and what you were doing.

I know I'm enjoying a story when a movie plays in my head, when I forget that my eyes are scanning a page because I'm seeing what's happening.  And that is why most of us read, isn't it.  To travel to other times and places, meet or be other people.  To get away from some untenable situation, even for just a few minutes.

With that said, go read a book.  Or five.


  1. I love your eclectic list! My books are my friends. Some I know better than others :)
    Love the blog!

    1. Jeannie, thank you so much, but to be honest, I get bored really easily, so I jump around a lot. I think it the story is good, it's easy to read multiple things, as long as they're not all detective novels or romance novels. You know what I mean?

      And yes, I definitely know what you mean about knowing some better than others. I have a few books that I've read multiple times. And they sort of live with me, in me. Sadly, or maybe scarily, one of them is a Stephen King novel. Yikes!!

      Finally, thank you for the lovely comment about my blog.

  2. The amendments are great… my only comment is on Amendment 14: The right to fall asleep while reading

    If you read in bed and wear reading glasses, make sure you have a supply of “Costco” Readers… I have been woken up because I rolled over on my glasses and they were really bent out shape!

  3. I should have thought of that, but with my Kindle I just increase the font to "old person size". :-) The other issue with falling asleep reading is that (and I did mention it in one of the amendments) that it hurts when the book hits you in the head, especially if it's a hard backed Stephen King novel. Yikes!

    Thanks for the comment... and when are you going to write a post about reading??