I have a confession to make. I’m a bookwalker. Okay, so I know that’s not a real word. What I’m talking about is walking and reading at the same time. It’s not the safest way to read a book, I’ll admit, but it’s an invaluable practice to a time-crunched reader such as myself. I’m not the quickest reader and I don’t have a lot of down time for sitting around and reading, but I’ve always got a book in my backpack (or on the Kindle) and have found that bookwalking is a great way to sneak in a few pages when I’d otherwise be unable to. You might not think you would be able to get in much reading this way, but you’d be surprised how much these little sessions of mobile literacy add up.
I suppose people do read on their phones while walking, but that’s usually very unliterary things like texting, using apps, checking social media, and other mundane things. Well, if people can get lost in such frivolous things while walking, we readers certainly have a right to get lost in our books, don’t we? Seriously, I think someone needs to come up with a bumper sticker:
Books: The original mobile tablet device.
The most common reaction I get from people I pass by on my bookwalking adventures is, “watch out, you might run into somebody” or something like that. If their mouths don’t say it, their eyes usually do. I can certainly relate to that scene from Beauty and the Beast:
Maybe bookwalking is antisocial, dangerous, and a bit odd, but as I said, for some of us, it’s an extremely helpful practice for keeping up with our reading progress. And while I realize that most people who read this are probably not avid bookwalkers like me, in that time honored internet tradition of giving out advice you weren’t asking for and will probably never use, I thought I’d offer a few tips for anyone who’d like to follow in my footsteps.
Do’s and Don’ts of Bookwalking
Watch out when walking under trees after rainfall. Drops of water on paper never seem to dry quite right. They always leave those little crinkly marks that make you look like a crybaby. And you don’t want future readers of your book thinking that you got all gushy faced during that climactic battle scene now do you? You can also run into this issue if you’re reading after having just finished an intense workout. As with all these, I speak from experience here! If you’re really desperate, I suppose you could read during a light sprinkle using a transparent book protector, but even I’m not that dedicated.
- Stairs are not a great idea when it comes to bookwalking. Going up isn’t so bad, but going down is definitely a bookwalking faux pas. Not saying I haven’t done it, but you risk taking a tumble and losing your place in the book!
- Don’t forget to look both ways when crossing the street. I know, it’s common sense, but sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you’re reading that you forget about objects like cars and buses and other things that are much bigger than you and your book. And you don’t want some nasty accident ruining your day and keeping you from finishing that chapter now do you? I didn’t think so.
- Which brings me to other general hazards of bookwalking. When you’re not crossing the street things like parking meters, benches, telephone poles, and trees can really mess up that shiny new book cover of yours. Watch out for them. They’re sneakier than they look.
- And finally, though I do knock my cell phone fixated friends for their techno distracted reading habits, I must admit that Kindles are somewhat superior for bookwalking. They don’t suffer from the water issues as much and they’re much easier to read on windy days. Also, since they can be used one handed, they let you have one free for adjusting your book bag or backpack or sticking your hand out and waving off oncoming traffic while crossing the street when you just have to finish that gripping passage (this last point is not actually recommended).
So, fellow readers, what about you? Do you occasionally go for a book walk? If not, then what are you waiting for? Be chained to that desk or sofa no more! Arise, take up your book and walk. Enjoy a few literary adventures out in the great open air. You take your dog for walks, why not your books? Trust me, it’s not as dangerous as it looks and your monthly page count will certainly thank you for it.