Today I have the honour to welcome Michelle Scott for a guest post.
A Reader’s Bill of Rights
One of the reasons I like my dentist so much is that he and his staff love to read as much as I do. But the other day, when he asked what I was reading, I got embarrassed. I was reading a YA book about angsty teenage love, and I was ashamed to admit it (at least, before I was hooked up to the laughing gas.)
When I told my friend about this, she was horrified. “Why lie?” she asked me. “After all, he’s probably reading the same kind of stuff.” (It turns out that he was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.)
My friend is right. People should not be embarrassed about what they are reading. Which is why I’ve drafted a Readers’ Bill of Rights
1. You have the right to read. You have the right to put down the dust rag or mop or dirty laundry and read. You do not have to call your mother or weed your garden or pay your bills (at least, not right now). You can turn on the TV for your kids for 30 minutes while you read. You can turn off your cell phone. You have that right.
2. You have the right to read what you want. If you want to read the Fifty Shades trilogy, do so with your head held high. If you are a 50 year-old-man who loves to read Twilight because deep inside you wish you were still as young and viral as Jacob, then by all means…indulge yourself.
3. You have a right to not be judged by your book’s cover. After all, you didn’t design it. If someone raises an eyebrow at you because the cover of your romance shows a sexy cowboy with his shirt off, simply nod and smile and say, “I know, right?” because we both know that whoever is looking down their nose at you wishes that she was dating that cowboy or, if it is a man, that he was that cowboy.
4. You have the right to fill your Kindle with as many books as you want. So what if you (like me) have 500 books stored because you can’t keep yourself from clicking on the deal of the day. It’s no one’s business but yours. You know you’ll read those books someday. The amount you spend on books should be between you and your bank account. No one else should tell you that you overspend on books.
5. You have the right to be emotionally affected by what you are reading. Go ahead and laugh right out loud at the funny parts. Don’t worry that the person sitting next to you in the waiting room thinks you’re crazy. They’re crazy for reading nothing but the stock quotes in the Wall Street Journal. If a character you love dies, for heaven’s sake, cry!! Trust me, this is the highest compliment to an author. If someone reads my books and laughs or cries out loud (or even gets angry, for that matter), I consider it a standing ovation.
6. You have the right to read wherever you want. Use your iPhone to read while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store. Keep a book in your glove compartment so that you can have an emergency read in case your car breaks down or you find yourself somewhere without a book.
7. You have the right to listen to books on tape. Listening to books on tape is reading! Let me say it again: Listening to books on tape is reading!! Do not be ashamed. Be proud that you can multi-task.
8. You have the right to love books. Books are therapy. Books are falling in love. Books are that place you go to when your kids are in a bad mood, and your car is making that funny noise again, and the pizza you ordered was delivered cold and stuck to the lid of the cardboard box. Books are life.
Readers, be kind to yourselves, and remember, you have the right to read.
Michelle Scott received her MFA from Wayne State University. Her stories have appeared in such places as Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, All Possible Worlds and Realms. Her fantasy novel, The Dragons of Hazlett was nominated for a 2009 EPPIE Award. Michelle’s YA novels include the vampire romance, Blood Sisters, and the fantasy Uncommon Magic. Her latest fantasy novel, An Anthem for the Battle Lands, was recently released from Mundania Press, LLC. Michelle lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three children.
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