SparkNotes Blog

If There Were Sports for Book Lovers

Sports aren’t my forte. I will confess that I know nothing of golf. What is a bogey? What is its dark purpose? When it comes to athletics, I may cheer when I think it is appropriate, but beyond that I’m physically useless. That’s why I think we should have sports for the common man. Sports for those devoid of brawn. Sports for people who can’t kick a ball but have been known to devour a book with an intensity unmatched by all.

Now, you might be looking at these and saying, “But Elodie, these sound like terrible spectator sports,” and to that I say, “The Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament was THE WORST spectator sport, and we all just went along with that. So check and mate.”

The sport: lending someone a book and actually getting it back.
If you let people borrow your hallowed tomes and actually wind up getting them back, I want you to tell me your secret. Is it blood magic? What are the incantations? Points are awarded for each book you successfully reclaim. Points are deducted for every book you surrender to the unknowable future of “Well, I’m sure they’ll give it back eventually.”

The sport: finding a reading position that is actually comfortable.
I’m sure there’s such a thing as a workable reading position, but I don’t know what it is. It probably involves contortions the human body isn’t actually capable of.

The sport: deciding which book to buy when you have limited money.
You can always tell who’s roving the book store with a limited budget, because they have an armful of books and an expression of pure panic like they’ve just been told there’s not enough room in the lifeboats and the ship is going down and someone’s getting left behind.

The sport: attempting to eat and read at the same time.
This is possibly the most physically demanding of them all. Players are tasked with reading a real page-turner of a novel while simultaneously attempting to maneuver various foodstufffs, like burritos, Cheetos, and complicated sandwiches.

The sport: reading a book without looking at the Wikipedia summaries.
This should in no way suggest that I am the kind of person who does this myself, except that’s a lie. I do it all the time. I’m a child of the Information Age, and I have no willpower. Recently I saw a trailer for that Girl on the Train movie–it looks to be a psychological thriller with a big twist ending–and before my friend could even lean over and whisper, “We should see that,” I had already Googled the entire plot on my phone. Full disclosure: I have also read the Wikipedia summaries for all of A Song of Ice and Fire. I know, I hate me too. I’m sorry, but I’m just a person!

The sport: reading your book in a rapidly darkening room.
This I could see being a great group activity. The last person to tear themselves away from their book long enough to actually turn the light on is the winner.

The sport: reading a cringeworthy scene without stopping.
When something awkward is happening in a story, I always need to take a moment to collect myself. Like when Harry asked Cho Chang to the Yule Ball? I didn’t just plow resolutely onward like someone who fears neither pain nor death; I closed the book, set it aside, clawed at my own face, whispered, “OH, GOD,” took a break for three days, and then resumed.

The sport: reading at the beach and NOT getting sand in the pages.
No one has ever done this successfully. I certainly haven’t. What do you take me for, some kind of god?