by Beth Erin
As my love of stories has grown, my role in the book world has obviously evolved (from avid reader to reviewer/book blogger/influencer to bookish magazine editor). I’m not sure this makes me an expert on anything, but it certainly has given me a generous dose of reading experience. Yet, there are also subtle ways the story footprint has quietly seeped deeper and gently spread wider in my little world.
Until an experience brings my attention to its increasing size and strength, I'm left unaware. Before I share about the most recent situation that triggered this wave of emotion and introspection, I’ve compiled the following etiquette guidelines with help from my book sisters for a bit of fun and perhaps to challenge our more rebellious villagers. Shockingly, there are times when reading is generally frowned upon.
Do NOT read when…driving, mowing, biking, skateboarding,
cooking a new recipe,
your children are asking for permission to do something crazy and/or dangerous,
your husband is 'in the mood',
engaged in an important phone call,
you are in church (except DO read your Bible and any applicable song/hymn lyrics),
attending weddings and funerals,
using power tools, heavy tools, and sharp objects!
swimming (unless you have a waterproof ereader tethered to your person... in which case I am jelly and want one)
operating heavy machinery or unfamiliar exercise equipment
at the dinner table (unless you are eating alone then go for it, the characters will keep you company!)
attending parties, social gatherings, and organizational meetings (unless you are super stealth)
attending a baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer game or golfing, (ya might miss the "fore" while engrossed in your book unless you select your seating carefully, travel with a lookout… pop flies happen, y'all… or is that a foul ball? idk)
Do NOT read if you…don't want to improve yourself (reading makes you more empathetic and smarter),
don't want to learn new things,
want to make conversation with strangers,
don't want to stretch your imagination,
are wearing your birthday suit (this is especially important for readers who read on a device with apps: beware of accidentally bumping Facebook live or some such travesty, there are things which cannot be unseen)
would rather rot your brains out with a television,
would prefer to watch the grass grow, or paint dry, or other equally exciting happenings,
feel empowered to fight crime, slay dragons, or engage in other high-risk behaviors which you are completely unprepared for because of your extensive collection of action/suspense/fantasy books.
doing dishes, cooking,
showering (curtain) or bathing (proceed at your own risk),
recognize unrealistic expectations (I’m totally serious about this one. For example, don't read romance if it has a negative impact on your thought life, read Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge and Stephen Arterburn)
The Christy Awards Gala
If y’all haven’t watched The Christy Awards Gala yet, allow me to highly recommend it and remind you of the Facebook live playback link. As Ruthy mentioned in the Weekend Edition, she is one of this year's finalists so I'm sure she will share more within the next week or two. I also had the honor of attending this year's event in person and the evening completely blessed my reader heart.
From a shallow first love for their stories, beyond the early new love of common faith and friendship, to a deep, abiding love for my people who happen to be authors, an individual, familiar, bosom friends, spirit deep and God gifted love. Love filled that theater and I felt like more than "just a reader" in a crowd of professionals. There was a sense of belonging, of a second home, an extended family... their sorrows are my sorrows, their joys, my joy.
The fact that this profound gift was given on the same day our dear friend Bonnie Roof stood face to face with our Lord did not escape my notice so whether God was simply generous with a fresh touch of His grace or Bonnie put in a good word for me (she always had a kind and encouraging praise to share), I'm grateful for God's perfect timing, His patience, and His presence.
Comment below for a virtual hug and a chance to win a signed copy of Ruthy's Refuge of the Heart or The First Gift (with their traditionally published cover design). One winner for each title will be announced in the Weekend Edition.
Do you read in any of our NOT situations above? Who here attended the Christy's? who watched live? who watched the playback?
I feel obligated to leave this here, just in case...
Beth Erin is an Associate Editor of Hope by the Book magazine and a Christian Fiction Readers Retreat associate. She is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, and blogger. Beth strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media. She also contributes to the Hoarding Books & Diversity Between the Pages blogs. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories.