The Deadliest (Reading) Positions: A Ranking

Sharanya Sharma

Staff Writer

Growing up, Sharanya Sharma was frequently caught leaving home and tumbling into places like Hogwarts, Prydain, and Frell. These days, she spends most of her time running around after (adorable) children in Washington, DC, trying to teach them things like math and social studies and reading. Especially reading. All of her spare time (and change) is spent in bookstores, inhaling books and coffee. She's had a life-long love affair with middle-grade and YA lit, and hopes to write her own novel(s) in those genres some day. Blog: Inkstinedreads Twitter: @srsharms

Listen, reading is dangerous. And (believe it or not) I don’t just mean intellectually. But then, if you’re here reading this, I likely don’t have to tell you that. Still, it’s probably good to remind ourselves every once in a blue moon that having your nose stuck in a book does not always mean you’re going to be able to walk through the bustling village square with everything, even hair, intact like a certain favorite Disney princess of mine. So, without further waffling from yours truly: A guide to the deadliest reading positions I could think of! Don’t try these at home, kids. Seriously. Don’t.


5) Upside down in a chair. That head rush can be cool for maybe ten seconds, but if you are reading a 400+ page whopper that (obviously) cannot be put down for a second, not even to right yourself into a less risky position, well. That’s a LOT of blood going to one place my friend. And trust me, you’re not going to feel happy in the long run. Especially when you slip off your chair and concuss yourself. Or realize that capillary in your face could explode. Danger level: Uh Oh.


4) In moving vehicles. Car sickness aside, being in a moving vehicle in general requires a certain level of attention. To make sure your friend/significant other/etc. isn’t making the wrong turn at the wrong time, at the very least. To duck and cover if terrible things are about to happen (and I sincerely hope they don’t). And then add a layer of motion sickness, and…uh oh, buddy. Not only are you playing with losing your way or worse, you’re going to spend the rest of the trip wishing frogs weren’t jumping up and down in your stomach, and that you had enough impulse control not to “just read the next chapter.” Is it worth it? …Maybe. Danger Level: Yikes!


3) Reading by a stove. Sure, it sounds classy. A glass of red wine, something unique and flavorful sizzling on the stove, and you, lost in a book. A classy book. The smell of curry and spices melting with the burning page as you — wait, burning page?! Yup–expectations versus reality, my friends. If you’re anything like me, chances are you are so lost in the book you have no idea where you’re putting it down to rest as you turn the page. Hint: The edge of the stove is NOT THE PLACE. Danger Level: Flirting with Death


2) Walking down the stairs. Confession: I have a thing about heights. And stairs. Couple that with not having a clue where you’re putting your foot next because you’re otherwise occupied…OH NO. In my mind, you are pretty much placing your  marker on the page, then looking Death in the eye and saying, “Just one more page. Really. Then we can go.” Because the second you put your foot in the wrong spot… Danger Level: AAAAHHH!!


1) In the driver’s seat. Unlike a certain beloved actor we know who portrays a certain blond-haired, elitist, cane/wand-wielding villain we love, nobody, I repeat, NOBODY should try this. The idea of actually putting a book on the steering wheel while you drive is a fantastic recipe for Terrible Horrible No Good Things to happen. Bless you, Jason Isaacs, for being the brave daredevil that you are. But…I love books. And ideally, I’d like to be around to read more of them. So NOPE. Time to find a Designated Reader to sit in your passenger seat. Or, hello, ever heard of Audiobooks? Danger Level: GOODBYE, WORLD.


So there you have it! Some of the deadliest positions that I know of…and I’m sure there are tons more out there! But then…isn’t there always that book that makes (almost) every single one of them worth it?

What are some of the deadliest positions you’ve experienced? And what book made them worth it?