Book Superstitions for the Anxious Mind

Superstitions are not scientifically rational, but for an anxious heart that always suffers when it cannot control outcomes, superstitions are routinely obsessive beliefs I hold on to to survive the loop of life. Wait, don’t judge me yet – these are only reading superstitions that have kept me going through the years. They started when I began reading as a child – in India, books are sacred objects and your feet accidentally touching one brings upon the wrath of the gods, it is said. Throughout my childhood, I created more such book superstitions for myself – some are delightful (if you’re not my family, my partner or my colleagues!), some are tolerable and others are downright ridiculous.

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If you walk past a bookstore, you must enter it…

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Well, if you want your book-karmic cycle wiped clean, you must not ever walk past a bookstore without entering it. Go in for a few minutes, caress the spines, speak to the best-selling list and embrace all irrationality.

Always buy books in multiples of 3

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If you’re inside the bookstore, how can you leave without buying any books? Do you want attract bad juju? Please be informed that the number three is a lucky number – only one book is not good for you. Choose another, and then, another. And if you’ve chosen four books, you just have to choose two more to bring the universe back to balance. Books shall be bought only in multiples of three, to allay your anxiety.

A 13 Books TBR is not good for your reading karma

Let’s face it, I don’t get to my TBRs because it is always in a pile of thirteen books. This is inherently bad luck. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that book lovers who do not respect this rule will find that their TBRs will eternally keep growing, and they won’t seem to finish a single book.

Things on the GoodReads ‘Currently Reading’ Shelf Shall be DNF-ed

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This is the GoodReads equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle – books that are named on the ‘Currently Reading’ Shelf shall invariably be DNF-ed. The book so named shall be cursed and you shall never be able to complete it. Track your reading, but do not tempt fate.

Spine-breakers shall be avenged

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Every time you ruin a book from a friend or the library, a book of your own shall lose its spine. Didn’t you know? Thou shalt love thy neighbour’s books, as thy own books, were you not taught?

Always carry a second book to social gatherings

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Book karma is correct when it says that if you carry one book to a party and finish it, you shall have to speak to the muggles that surround you. To ward off this evil, always carry another book.

Do you have any reading superstitions? Or is it just me? Do let me know in the comments?

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Deya: Deya travels a LOT. In between countries, cities and the pages of books she reads. She has a master's degree in human rights law and works on gender-based violence, conflict and public health. Deya grew up in Calcutta, India, where her bookshelves stretched and multiplied every year, much to the chagrin of her mother. Currently, she lives in Bangalore, India, with her partner who has taken umbrage at the fact that, a long time ago, she DNF-ed The Bourne Identity (please don't judge her - she had her reasons!). When she's not shaking her fists and explaining feminism (for the gazillion-th time) to a colleague at work, she can be found listening to podcasts, binge-watching Doctor Who, making lists or baking - basically, avoiding all human contact. Blog: The Fiction Shelf Twitter: @LadyLawzarus