As a Constant Reader, I have often reflected on the fact that, should the need arise, I might need a Bill of Rights to uphold my freedom to read. Since this topic has been covered already here and here, I have created my own reading manifesto below. I refer to these as my indisputable rights of the constant reader because I will defend these prerogatives with my last breath!
Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Readers are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are:
- The right to alter your literary preferences over time
- The right to read anywhere for any length of time
- The right to try a book and not finish it
- The right to read light (science fiction or romance) when time is tight
- The right to read multiple books at the same time
- The right to re-read a book and celebrate the characters even to the point of turning it into an annual ritual
I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
- The right to read a book series along with your children
- The right to read a book from beginning until end in one sitting
- The right to recount your past through the books you have read
- The right to revisit a book in the form of a movie
- The right to refuse to view a movie because the book version is infinitely better
- The right to refer to your favorite characters in daily conversations
- The right to rave about the latest book that you love, to every person you meet
- The right to read comic books
- The right to compare two series, such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, ad nauseam
- The right to insist on incorporating a bookcase in each room of your residence
I was always going to the bookcase for another sip of the divine specific.
- The right to build lifetime reading habits in your children
- The right to be drawn to the nearest bookstore when you visit a new city
- The right to hunt for rare finds in used bookstores
- The right to make books your favorite gift for any occasion
- The right to be curious about other people’s reading preferences
- The right to read surreptitiously or openly
- The right to create a bucket list solely comprised of libraries and museums to visit
- The right to mentally transport yourself to the setting of a book
Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.
- The right to covet the first edition of your favorite book
- The right to discourage anyone from intruding upon your reading
- The right to use or refuse E-Readers
- The right to own multiple copies of the same book
- The right to be such an avid fan of your favorite author that you plan your schedule based on the release date of their next book
- The right to inject quotes from your favorite books or authors in every email, blog post or social media post
- The right to read and re-read books from your childhood
No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.
You also have the right to amend this Bill of Rights at any time!
Disclaimer: I borrow the term, Constant Reader, from Dorothy Parker, an American poet, via Stephen King. Most writers invoke the term of “Constant Reader” to refer to the individual that is forever committed to reading. Going back further, the term may be attributed to Shakespeare, in the preface to his tragedy:
A NEVER WRITER, TO AN EVER READER:
Eternal reader, you have here a new play, never staled with the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar, and yet passing full of the palm comical; for it is a birth of your brain that never undertook anything comical vainly.
What are your thoughts on the rights I claim in my list? Are there any you would consider missing? Are you a Constant Reader? Join me on GoodReads!