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My Unwritten Rules of Reading

I love to read. Over the years I’ve seen a consistency of certain attitudes and actions concerning the things I read. Here are some of my quirky unwritten rules of reading:

  1. I confess that I must read every footnote or endnote in a book or I feel like I haven’t really read the book.
  2. Don’t buy books (that have been made into movies) with movie poster covers. Buy the literary cover if available.
  3. Reading the inside flap of a novel’s dust jacket is like taking the risk of watching a movie trailer: it may give away too much of the story and ruin it for you. This is also why you absolutely don’t read guest author ‘Introductions’ that preface books until AFTER reading the novel.
  4. Never watch the movie before you read the book.
  5. If I lend you a book I expect it to be returned in the condition it was given. Additionally, if you write in it, we may never be friends again. In fact, I may contract a hitman.
  6. If I don’t return your book as I received it, get ready to receive a new book from me.
  7. For getting a good novel my first move is the library not Amazon. Why pay for something (online) that you’ve already paid for (in taxes) at your local library? Plus, my local library is awesome.
  8. If the cover has permanent badges which say Oprah Book Club or Soon to be a Motion Picture, etc., I look for a different cover.
  9. Don’t ask for any of my Cormac McCarthy 1st edition books. They’re not on the loan list. But feel free to add to the collection.
  10. With rare exceptions, I don’t buy a book unless I’m going to read it within a few months if not weeks.
  11. If I start a book I have to finish it. No matter what. No incomplete reads (unless a reference book).
  12. Use bookmarks. Dogearing a book is like keying your own car.
  13. I don’t read two novels at the same time. Only one kid on the diving board a pop.
  14. I kinda judge a book by its cover.
  15. If you read the end of the book before actually getting there by reading it from the start…GET OUT
  16. If you see me reading a book you’ve read, it’s great that you tell me you loved it (and generally why) but if you reveal plot-wise why that was the case you’re dead to me.



Technically, now #myformerlyunwrittenrulesofreading


Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

2 thoughts on “My Unwritten Rules of Reading”

  1. If I purchase a book (which is rare as I usually use the library) I immediately want to give it away. I’ve never understood the reason to keep a novel that you’ve already read. If we did that in this house we’d be Hoarders Buried Alive.

  2. I agree with Lance. And I usually buy several to give away “Same Kind of Different as Me” and “Love Does”. I’m keeping them in print!

    By the way, when do you find time to read? There are only so many hours in the day!

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