The Reader’s Survival Guide

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Skyler Boudreau
for Reader Views

While I disagree with most generalizations, I would like to open this blog post with one of the rare few I agree with: most avid readers don’t like going anywhere without a book. I am certainly not an exception.

There is a certain hole a reader can fall into when deciding which book to bring with them on a trip. Should it be that new one they just bought from their favorite bookstore, despite knowing they have a bookcase worth of unread books at home? Or should they bring the one they’re in the middle of reading? These questions open the door for even further questions and your answers could prove to provide some potential problems for you down the line.

For example, let’s say that you choose to bring along the book you are currently reading. You only have about a hundred pages left. You’re a relatively fast reader. What happens if you finish it and have nothing left to read? That would be disastrous. There are three main solutions to this issue. One option is to bring along a different, lengthier book instead of your current read. The second option, and probably the most commonly chosen solution, is to bring a second book, “just in case.”

The third and final option is my favorite: assemble a Reader’s Survival Bag. This is an easy-to-grab bag that a reader can bring with them on trip of any kind, whether it be anything from a doctor’s appointment to a long train ride. A reader will find the Reader’s Survival Bag an asset in any situation that requires a period of waiting.

What you include in your Reader’s Survival Bag is up to you, but most versions of it include at least one of the following items.

  1. An unnecessary number of books – The average book is three hundred to four hundred pages long. There’s no way you’ll finish three of them during that fifteen minute subway ride to work, but you want to have them just in case. Who knows? Maybe the subway will break down and you’ll have an hour or two to kill. That’s still not really enough time to finish three books, but at least you have them if you need them.
  2. At least two books that you already finished and keep forgetting to remove from your Reader’s Survival Bag – It happens to all of us. Why don’t we just remove the finished books as we add new ones to the bag? It’s not like it takes any more effort than the latter. Oh well. You never did it before, and you’re probably not going to start now.
  3. So much random stuff – You definitely don’t need seven bookmarks, the twenty-nine old receipts from bookstores, or even that one box of crayons you don’t remember putting in there. You have it all anyway though and you’ll probably add more to your collection as time passes. I guess you can say it adds character to your Reader’s Survival Bag.

This is by no means a completed list. There are any number of things you can include in your own version. The Reader’s Survival Bag is a nifty way to keep your bookworm comfortable for any and all periods of time. What does yours look like?

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