Run Fast! Readers to Avoid


Yesterday I saw an article a friend of mine was reading called “Run Fast! Women to Avoid Dating” by Laura Snyder. It was a great article and inspired me to think about other types of people to avoid and somehow it got me thinking about readers. Yes, I’m a writer, but I’m a reader first: A voracious one.

I devour the classics, literary and commercial fiction or hybrids of  both,  biographies, memoirs, business books, references, how-to manuals etc…I have stacks of book everywhere (I need more bookshelves) and I like interacting with other readers to discuss my favorite pastime. I can spot a fellow reader like an addict can spot another junkie. This is my realm and I know it well. However, I’ve discovered that there are some readers who are best kept at a distance (preferably with garlic and holy water). So that you won’t suffer from them, here are a few I’ve identified—get close to them at your own risk.

The Royal

This is the reader who feels that only her taste is the right taste. That every book should meet her standards (and they are high and very strict) or be trashed, slashed or burned. And she has created a list of proper reading etiquette that she feels every reader should subscribe to. Some of her rules are that a book should be cupped and not handled, no one should use a forefinger to skim a page and a bookmark is the only way to save a page—breaking the spine, dog-earing a page or using a sticky note are obscene. While I have my own ways of handling a book, I don’t have a royal decree that I believe others should follow. This reader does.

The Debater

Think you know the theme of a book? You’re wrong! But that’s no surprise. This next reader believes that all other readers are wrong. He knows every aspect of the novel from the symbolism, the inspiration, the subtext right down to the copyright date and will tell you so. And you will soon discover that you must agree with all his assertions. A difference of opinion is considered heresy.

The Spoiler

This reader can’t keep a secret. She’ll tell you who the murderer is, the secret the heroine is keeping, and the one thing you’ve spent the last 300 pages trying to find out. This reader can never give you a brief summary of a book (like a good natured father who will lecture you on why you should be punished for taking cookies from the cookie jar when all you want is a good spanking to escape the boring torture). No, this type of reader reveals every plot point and twist and will suck the reading pleasure of discovery from future readers.

The Doomsayer

To this reader, fiction, as we know it, is going to hell. Nothing good has been written since (fill in the blank) and it’s only getting worse. She predicts that soon we’ll have nothing but crap to read and our brains will turn to mush and our civilization will disappear. Fahrenheit 451 has nothing on her imaginings. Burning books? No, there will be no books to burn because we’ll all be too desensitized by the present rubbish that is available to us and we won’t know the difference. For the doomsayer, technology like the Kindle, Nooks and Vooks will eradicate the need for storytellers and bookstores, writers, paper, pens and all other tangibles will end up in museums as distant memories.

The Magician

This reader makes books disappear. What do I mean? Loan a book to this reader and you will never see that book again. Poof! It’s gone. If you ask where the book is, he will tell you that he doesn’t have it, or that it’s ‘somewhere’ but he hasn’t had a chance to read it yet. Or he has read it and can’t find it. The magician will always find an excuse, but one thing is certain–your book is gone forever.

So, do you have a reader type you avoid? I will give away a signed copy of my latest release WORDS OF SEDUCTION to a random commenter.


Find out more about Dara on her website: Find out more about her latest release here.

13 Responses to Run Fast! Readers to Avoid

  1. Maithe

    Hi Dara! Oh, the one I avoid at all cost is the “The only books worth reading are nonfiction–the rest are trash” readers. *L* I am sooo tired of being told that I only read trash!! They tell me that I am rotting my brain and that no intelligent person would read such rubbish.

    Really? Umm, last time I checked, I had a 4.0 GPA and was at the top of my class. Hmm, guess their theory was not proven to be true. *L*



  2. Dara Girard

    Thanks ladies for your wonderful comments!

    Congrats to Mariska, your name was pulled to receive an autographed copy of WORDS OF SEDUCTION. Please send me your mailing address (just visit my website and go to the ‘contact’ page).

    I wish you all happy reading!

  3. catslady

    I can honestly say I’m none of those – thank goodness lol. I know some magicians and roysals. People who borrow books and they come back tattered with the spine broken!!!! People that are always borrowing but never reciprocate. I had someone borrow a hardback and came back as a paperback – now there’s a magician.

  4. Pam Keener

    I have a friend who is a Magician. Aw she can’t help it because she moves alot and can’t remember which box the book is in. Will I ever learn my lesson? Probably not since I am an avid reader who loves to share good books. I think it is probably better for the author because now I have to buy another copy if I ever want to read it again.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam Keener in PA

  5. Sue A.

    I’ve learned to avoid the Magician reader who holds on to the books so long that they forget, and decide to move away without leaving a forwarding address.

  6. Carol L.

    I enjoyed the post very much. I try to avoid the Magician. Nothing worse then lending a book and it never comes back.
    Carol L.

  7. Mariska

    My Pick The Magician Reader. i just don’t like when i borrow a book to then they can’t say where’s the book is !

  8. Dara Girard

    Wow, what fabulous comments! Thanks for sharing.

    Annette–A faker! That’s a good one and another reader type I’ll have to look out for.

    Lexee–a smooth customer. That’s great. Book clubs would love you.

    Crystal B–Yes, magicians are a nuisance. I still have a special book I want back…sigh…

    Lindy and Valerie–Ah…I guess as book lovers we all have royal tendencies. Personally, I cringe when people write in books with pens (not textbooks)

  9. Valerie

    Great post, I loved it!! I certainly avoid those readers who borrow my books and never return them….ugh!!! And if anyone dog-eared my books….well….off with their heads!!!!


  10. Lindy

    I have Royal tendencies… ruh roh… 😉 (Dog ears!!! Why would anyone trash a book with dog ears when there are so many cool bookmarks available?) I avoid all the others, though. Doomsayers would have nothing good to say about my taste in books. 😉


  11. Crystal B.

    I would say the magician. I don’t like to loan a book and never get it back.

  12. Lexee

    I don’t know that I avoid any reader. If I had to choose I’d say that I avoid the overzeolous, too much drama type of reader. I’m a calm person (most of the time) and so generally wouldn’t want or know how to deal with that if I disagreed with them.

  13. Annette Snyder

    How about the fake reader? The one who says they’ve read a book and doesn’t even get the plot or characters correct? You purchase the book because the premise sounds great and then find out it’s nothing like the reader told you and doesn’t even interest you.

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