Pop Culture

Caution! Reading is Dangerous

Dana Rosette Pangan

Staff Writer

Dana Rosette Pangan is a supervisor by day and a fangirl all the time. She holds a degree in Laboratory Technology but finds that she has more chemistry with language and writing. When she's not making embarrassingly lame puns, she can be found avoiding social situations and searching for something that can hold her attention for more than 30 minutes. She is from the Philippines and is probably doing something weird right now.

Listen to me because this is very important. It may even save your life one day.

I know you always come across articles telling you about the many benefits of reading. Even here at Book Riot, we constantly remind you of how awesome reading is. However, there is a side effect of reading that we don’t always talk about but I feel like we should.

Reading is dangerous. Hell, it may even be downright fatal. And here are only some of the risks of being a reader:

You may miss your stops.

I feel like you cannot call yourself a true reader until you’ve missed your stop because you were too engrossed in your book. But that’s just me—I who had to walk several blocks when I missed my station because I was too busy spending Tuesdays with Morrie (worth it!). “But that’s not dangerous!” I hear you say, and I immediately make an appointment with my therapist because I don’t think auditory hallucinations are normal. But to answer your question, it is, my friend, it is. Just ask anyone who has ever been late to work, to school, or to a lunch date with their mother.

You may fall into a manhole or run into things.

I’m assuming that you have, in your lifetime, at least tried to read while walking. Maybe you couldn’t wait until you could sit down to read your book. Maybe you just saw Belle from Beauty and the Beast doing it and thought it was cool. Whichever it is, doing this stunt exposes you to the most shameful danger of reading: falling into a manhole or running into things. If you fall into a manhole, at least you can stay there forever and live an entirely new life, maybe train a few mutant turtles in martial arts or something. But if you run into, say, a pole while reading, it’s infinitely more embarrassing because you’ll have to deal with everyone who saw you get fistbumped in the face by a freakin’ pole.

What you use as a bookmark may kill you.

A big part of the reading population does not care what they use to mark their place in a book. Some use regular bookmarks, while others use whatever object they grab first—a ticket stub, a receipt, another book, a cat… If you’re one of the latter, then reading is a tiny bit deadlier for you than for others. The thing with the “using whatever object you grab first” method is that you don’t know what it is you’ll grab first. It’s possible you’re gonna grab something harmless, like a pen or a plate or a chicken liver, but what if you grab something like, I don’t know, a python? (You guys all keep pythons at home, right? Right?!) I can only hope that the poor beast will like that zombie were-dinosaur space erotica you’ve been reading.

You may procrastinate dealing with a life-and-death situation because you need to read just one more chapter.

We’ve all been there before: postponing a task because I can’t stop reading right in the middle of a cliffhanger, dammit! But what if the task is top priority (yep, even more important than reading a book)? What if it absolutely cannot be delayed, like saving a drowning person or defeating Lord Voldemort? Maybe the Dark Lord can understand if you’re gonna have to postpone your duel just so you can find out if the dwarves are really going to become troll chow, but I doubt a drowning person will appreciate it if you tell them, “Just two more pages! Please don’t die!”

So there you have it—four of the numerous risks reading provides. Can you think of anything more?