Top Ten Things Not to Do While Reading a Book

Top Ten



The inspiration for this list came to me while traveling. I was watching several people reading books and doing other things. It struck me that there are several things that one should not do while reading a book. I hope you enjoy this list.

10 If you are reading a book, do not drive a car. If you do, at best you may lose your place when you drop the book to avoid an accident. At worst, you may lose the book when you end upside down in a culvert. (Didn’t see that curve while you were wrapped up in the murder scene huh, Esau?)

9 If you are reading a book, do not walk in heavy pedestrian traffic. If you do, at best you’ll avoid getting knocked down. At worse, you will run into Tiny the WWF champ as he is leaving his tactile psychosis support group. (Hard to believe someone has such a problem with being touched. I don’t think offering Tiny the book will offset his reaction, Efrain. Maybe running is a better choice.)

8 If you are reading a book, do not sip hot coffee without taking your eyes off the book. If you do, at best you’ll only spill a drop. At worst, you might miss your mouth and feel the joy of 180-degree liquid on your chest. ( Lucky for you your lap was under the table, Eloi.)

7 If you are reading a book, do not step onto an elevator. If you do, at best there is room for you. At worst, the elevator is packed with members of the NFL bargaining unit members, and they just lost a bargaining point to the owners. (Kind of shocking they wouldn’t make room for a dweeb with a book, Ealdun. Lucky for you your foot didn’t get stuck in the door.)

6 If you are reading a book, do not eat pasta marinara. If you do, at best your book is on Kindle, and the screen is cleanable. At worst, you are reading the first edition of War and Peace which you borrowed from the Library of Congress. (Looks like destroying a national treasure carries a significant penalty, Eban. Maybe A fishing trip to Canada is in order.)

5 If you are reading a book, do not operate machinery. If you do, at best the mechanism doesn’t have spinning blades. At worst, your machine is designed to chop a twelve-ton block of steel into one-inch pieces. (You might want to put that book down, Ebo. It looks like the feeding phase inadvertently has your shirt tangled with the twelve-ton block of steel.)

4 If you are reading a book, do not continue your free fall while skydiving. If you do, at best the exciting part will end in time for the ripcord pull. At worst, you are at the part in the book where the detective is about to expose the identity of the murderer. (Only two more pages and you’ll know, Edoardo. Too bad the ground is there in one.)

3 If you are reading a book, do not take the black five diamond downhill ski course. If you do, at best a ski patrol member will be close. At worst, your fall and roll was the beginning of the giant snowball that crashed into the lodge through the huge dining room floor to ceiling window. (Lucky you survived, Eero. Now the hotel management would like to know if you want to put the $50,000 window on your room tab.)

2 If you are reading a book, do not shoot the curl of a gigantic wave off the coast of Hawaii. If you do, at best your wipeout will be well offshore. At worst, you will ride the wave entirely distracted until you land on the shore. (Just how hard did you hit the sand, Egon? We sure hope you can get out of that ten-foot deep crater. Give Egan a hand for that unorthodox landing, folks)

1 If you are reading a book, do not continue to compete in the world airplane aerobatics competition. If you do, at best you might miss a loop. At worst, you may lose your orientation and think up is down and down is up. (Time to put the book down, Ekon. If you are quick, you just may pull out of this dive before dropping below the horizon. It is very hard below that horizon.)


  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    I confess to being guilty of #8. Yep, I’ve spilled coffee more than once. I’m a slow learner, I guess. Have a great day. πŸ˜€

    1. LOL. I can indentify with that one myself. Thanks, Gwen. πŸ˜€

  2. harmonykent · ·

    Being a reading addict myself, I find this list hilarious! Well done, John πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Harmony. I left one off. “Do not eat buttered popcorn while reading a borrowed book.” πŸ˜€

  3. Who would have thought reading was such a dangerous hobby?

    1. I know right? LOL

  4. Great list, John!

    1. Thank you, Jill

  5. Finally, dear John! These 10 things are saint truth! Brilliant! Number 8 is my fault. Once I borrowed a book from the French Cultural center. It was an old edition. And I left it in my bag together with a bottle of blueberry yogurt…for several days! Imagine my surprise when I discovered the bag full of yogurt,,,all my student books and the BOOK! as well. I washed it but it did not help much. Pages were coloured with purple…for ever. Thanks God the center had vacations and nobody noticed the problem.

    1. I think INTERPOL is looking for you, Maria.
      :-D. Great story.

      1. Oh,,,,gosh! I have not thought of that, John!

      2. Wear a disguise

      3. Thanks for this piece of advice! I really must invent something.

  6. Some times, you have to finish the chapter, John. I haven’t read while driving, but I’ve left late because I needed to read tow or three more pages.

    Tiny sure is a complex individual, isn’t he?

    1. Yes, Tiny is quite complex. Thanks, Dan

  7. Interesting list, John. I’ll need to print this one!

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, John

  8. I was drinking coffee reading #6 and laughed so hard the coffee left my mouth. Not pretty, but very funny. Thanks for a great Top Ten, John.

    1. Glad to have you laugh. (Coffee aside)

  9. I loved #3. It reminded me of a cartoon of a man’s head sticking out of a giant snowball. Yeh, just stick that $50,000 window bill on the room tab right after the big alcohol consumption amount added post-hospital treatment. Hilarious list, John. πŸ˜€ — Suzanne

    1. Ha haha. Super comment, Suzanne. πŸ˜€

  10. When you wrote #8, you must have been thinking of me! πŸ˜€

      1. πŸ™‚

  11. Reading is pure joy all by itself, as you probably know, John. Can’t say I’m guilty of any of this listing, but I, too, have noticed others who are. I guess I’d just prefer to curl up with my book and tune out the world!

    1. I’m with you, Debbie. Thanks.

  12. So funny. Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you, Bryan

  13. Most of these aren’t much of a risk for me, but that pasta marinara did raise some memories. Here’s one I expected to see, and didn’t: “If you are reading a book, don’t ignore your pets’ pleas for attention. At best, you’ll end up with tooth-marked pages. At worst, you and your puncture wound will end up in the ER.”

    1. Good one, Linda. Our boxers refuse to be ignored. They drag us out the door.

  14. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    All good advice to make sure you are seated while reading…lol Maybe books need to come with a warning on them;)

    1. Ha haha. Good idea, Denise.

  15. Ha ha! Great!! There is nothing I hate worse than getting food remnants on the pages of my book. πŸ™‚

    1. Do not eat Cheetos and read a borrowed book.

  16. Great list, John! I just try not to fall asleep at night while I am reading and drop my book. Some of my books do have food strains – coffee or chocolate.

    1. I hate when my Kindle hits me between the eyes.

  17. It’s completely ridiculous how many times I’ve seen people doing #10.

  18. Lol and do not have a flu. Bcz with those crying eyes & huge nose – just impossible to read πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. LOL. I like the image of the hugh nose.

  19. I used to read. Miss it a lot. Many so true. Giggle.

    1. Hate to think of not reading.

      1. I should qualify that with more info…reading beyond the required work grind. πŸ™‚

      2. I understand. There is only so much eye time one can stand.

  20. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Here is another great top ten list from John Howell. It’s the top ten things not to do while reading a book. Check it out in this post from his Fiction Favorites blog.

    1. Thank you, Don.

      1. You’re welcome

  21. LOVE the image and slogan that goes with this John. That’s me!

    I’m guilty of #8, but with tea. So many tea stained pages…thankfully my Kindle hasn’t been zapped into a steaming, sizzling, hunk of uselessness by the tea I’ve spilled on it while sipping and reading.

    1. I can identify. Thanks, Deborah.

      1. Could be a song title, “Tea stains on my Kindle.” πŸ˜€

  22. That’s a hilarious post, John! I’ve never gone skydiving, but I can foresee a lot of problems if it’s done while reading a book. πŸ˜ƒ

    1. Thank you, Rhani.

  23. Fabulous, John, it is just like this when you are in the middle of a really good book. You can, of course, listen to audio books in the car [wink].

    1. Yes but then that item drops off the list. Now we have the top nine.

  24. Can I also add that if you’re reading a book while boarding public transport, to be sure that the seat you’re going to sit on is vacant! I’ve seen that happen, John…but not to me. Phew!

    1. Good one Hugh. Sitting on someone might be a problem. πŸ˜€

  25. Love this! Didn’t expect to be reading these when I clicked on the link XD so creative!

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle.

  26. Well, heck, by that thar list, I don’t have a durn thing to wury bout! πŸ™‚ β™₯

  27. Hi John! I pictured all of these in my headβ€”hilarious! I’ve spilled all kinds of beverages on myself while reading.πŸ˜‚

    1. The mouth is hard to hit sometimes. Thanks, Vashti.

      1. Sure. πŸ˜‰ Ha, ha!

  28. Ha!! I love #8 lol Actually, it should be applied to any beverage lol

    1. You are right, Joe. Thank you for stopping by.

%d bloggers like this: