How to Read More than Anyone Else (or appear to)

Tell your circle of close friends that you were barred from the library for reading too much, too soon, too quickly. Tell them that you’re embarrassed. Ask them to keep that a secret.

When you need to pretend to have read a specific book, do your best to keep it vague. Use a lot of adjectives, until you’ve impressed your audience with how deeply you’ve thought about the book. “ ‘Normal People’? I wouldn’t say normal at all, not one bit, I would say acerbic, blistering, chilling, devastating, explosive, faultless, gutting, honey-toned, insistent,” and so on.

If you meet a writer, say that you have a podcast about books. They will automatically proceed to tell you all about their latest book, during which it’s normal for you to remain completely silent. Remember what they say and repeat it to the next person you meet, even if that person is a medical professional at your next appointment. This way, your ophthalmologist will believe you’re a big reader.

Certainly wear glasses, or more than one pair. Bully the ophthalmologist into giving you a prescription, or two.

Buy books all of the time from a wide range of sources. Buy used books and preorder books to insure that you have a constant supply of books from the past and the future.

Keep books in prominent places throughout your home and stable. One by the toilet, a couple in the toaster, a bunch crammed into your pony’s saddlebags.

Carry a book around. Bring one with you in those long lines where you catch covid while waiting to find out if you have covid. Keep shifting your purse with the heavy book in it from shoulder to shoulder as you stand among the coughing and watch forty-five minutes of Instagram Reels featuring body-positive women eating different types of buttered toast.

Download a number of audiobooks so that when you’re stuck on the F train you can be sure to listen to Adele on repeat.

Set up an aggressively prolific profile on Goodreads. Username suggestions include YepIRedDat69 and HogwartsMoreLikeHogBooks.

When someone asks if you have read a particular book, quickly scream, “Yes!” Go on to say that it was good and that you liked the characters and the font. Ominously add, “I mean, it’s more timely than ever when you think about . . . all this.” Waggle your eyebrows. Flip the interrogation around and ask the person if they have read any other books. Let them talk for a while before you excuse yourself by saying that you think you heard your husband’s motorbike outside.

Take photos of your books and post them on social media captioned with the weeping emoji. Buy a pretty matcha tea with a heart in the foam and place it close to a book. Capture a handsome man’s out-of-focus shoulders in the background.

Write a book. Nothing will make you seem more like a reader than being a writer. Be careful not to read your own book too often, but do try to go over it once or twice before it’s published.