I admit to idling away hours in bookstores and libraries as often as I can. I eagerly ride the spines of books, seeking the enchanted scent of promise, until a book—at once a portal and a destination—calls my name and invites me in. I inhale the experience, reading with omnivorous hunger, everything hanging on the next word. I’ve always been a serious reader, but until I reached adulthood I didn’t know anyone else who read like that. It qualifies as an occupation for me.
A longtime pet peeve of mine is the way book titles are printed horizontally on book spines, but stored vertically. Having to tilt my head to read book-spine titles sideways on the shelves invariably results in a crick in my neck. This raises some questions that bear consideration: Is there a connection between serious reading and spinal health? Is that sideways spinal alignment a kind of reader’s occupational hazard? I do know that while I’m enjoying leisurely time in bookstores and libraries, I can always discern a serious reader from an accidental browser by the crick in her neck.