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The Weirdest Things Done In The Name Of Books

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Book lovers are quirky, weird, and reliable when it comes to having a good story about being a devoted reader. A few years back, Book Rioters shared their stories of weird shit they have done in the name of books. It seemed like that collection of stories only encouraged more odd and funny stories to emerge.

So without further ado, here are some of the weird things readers have done in the name of books. These stories are anonymous to protect the not-so-innocent.

The funniest and weirdest things we've done when it comes to books and reading. humor | book nerd humor | funny book stories

If you’ve got a short, funny anecdote about the weirdest thing you’ve done in the name of books, I invite you to hop in and share in the comments. This is a safe space dedicated to collectively acknowledging that books make us do strange—and, of course, awesome—things.

  • Got up in the middle of the night to finish my book.
  • Stood outside a Costco for six hours (starting at 6 am) with a four year old, to meet Hillary Clinton and have her sign a copy of her book, What Happened. I bribed her (the kid, not Hills) with all the candy she could eat and a toy of her choice purchased in Costco after we made it through the line. She ended up being the only kid in the line and (miraculously) a perfect angel.
  • Closed the bookshop where I was working, turned off the lights, and sat in a corner for two hours, lit by the emergency exit light, so I could finish reading Holes, which I had started earlier in the day.
  • Read the final chapters of a book while at a baseball game.
  • Used my ereader to finish a chapter while blow-drying my hair.
  • Waited several hours in line to get books signed by Neil Gaiman, and asked him how he thought the Lalaloopsy dolls compared to the ones in Coraline.
  • After a middle of the night feeding for my infant, I put him back to bed and sat on the floor of the ensuite bathroom to finish reading The Winner’s Curse so that I wouldn’t wake my husband up with the light. Usual parenting advice is “sleep when the baby sleeps,” not “stay up for two and a half hours to finish your book while the baby sleeps.”
  • Went looking for a copy of Sanctuary at The Ripped Bodice while on a visit to L.A., but they didn’t have it in store yet. Ordered a signed copy online from the restaurant across the street to be delivered to my house in Arizona with the note “I’m not a stalker, I swear.”
  • In 6th grade, I got in trouble because I came into school soaked through to the bone despite holding a rain jacket in my hands. When the nurse sternly asked me why I didn’t wear my jacket, I grinned with glee and pulled my perfectly dry book out of it. She was somewhat more understanding, but I did totally get sick.
  • When I was in 4th grade, the teacher wouldn’t let me read at my desk, so I asked to go the bathroom and read my book in there instead.
  • I drove to Eindhoven, in The Netherlands (I live in Belgium), then took the bus to the centre of town, and the train to Den Haag to meet my favourite author for the first time, who was going to speak about his favourite book in a literary event. I spent a whole load of money on a train ticket, and on the ticket to the event, just to see him give—literally—a 15-minute talk. Luckily I was able to speak with him for a few minutes before the event and had my books signed and photo taken, then took the train back to Eindhoven, and the last bus back to my car, and finally drove home. Totally worth it.
  • I have literally disposed of shoes, clothing, and household goods in order to fit more books into the moving van.
  • The books in my carry on are just for the flight. I have to pack separate books in my checked luggage or else I’ll read all of my vacation reads before I even get there.
  • When I was a kid my mother carried a 3″x5″ index card in her purse at all times that contained a running list of all the Nancy Drew titles I owned. This way we could be sure we weren’t buying duplicates.
  • I was working an author event at a bookstore and as we were closing up, when the last people had just exited the door, I heard that another author I loved had been in the audience. I ran out of the bookstore, stopped her car, and leaned in the window and tell her how much I loved her book.
  • I went to Barnes & Noble for a release party for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and came dressed in robes + a wand, as one does. I was standing in line when I saw a little girl crying her brains out further down the line; I figured she was just a kid being a kid. A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder: it was the mom with her child choking back sobs behind her. The woman whispered out of the corner of her mouth, “Listen. I know this is super weird, but my kid thinks you’re Hermione and she’s losing her shit. Will you please sign her book as Hermione? I’m so sorry.” I guess my big wavy hair and witchy get up had this tiny reader fooled. Anyway, I hugged the little girl and faked a British accent for a bit, then signed her book once we got inside. Somewhere out there, there’s a young woman with a book signed “With love, Hermione” by a Mexican American chick from Southern California. Weird? Yes. A feel-good highlight of my life? Also yes.
  • Eight months pregnant with a heart condition, I rolled a tote of every single Catherynne M. Valente novel uphill (with my husband’s help) for her to sign at a book festival.
  • When I was about 14, I was on holiday in Germany with my grandma. We were visiting the Reichstag and I saw a guy who looked exactly like Terry Pratchett, right down to the beard and the signature floppy black hat. I made my grandma come with me and follow him into the restaurant—which was full of men with beards and floppy black hats.
  • I sliced my thumb clean open because the dubious wisdom of reading and slicing cheese at the same time somehow eluded me.
  • I had to conduct my first-ever interview with an author I admired a ton by phone while I was at my day job, so I called him from an empty conference room. I didn’t consider how echo-y it might be in there, and his first words after we exchanged greetings were, “Are you in a parking garage?”
  • I preordered Harry Potter book 7 but didn’t realize until it was too late that the book would arrive on the day I would be leaving for a trip. I feared canceling it because who knew if there would be a run on the books but I wanted to make sure I had it for my trip. So I convinced a friend to go to a Borders Harry Potter party and picked up another copy at midnight. My preordered book totally arrived before I left the house the next morning! (I gave it to my mom).
  • Cried excessively on public transportation while reading.


Relatable or #Relatable? Tell us your stories in the comments!