Help Me! I’m a Backseat Reader

Backseat reading goes something like this: "Are you done yet? Now are you done? When will you finish? C'mon, read faster!"

A colleague at work (the fabulous Kate Rados) recently told me about how she was anxiously waiting for Alana (another talented member of Team RIF) to finish reading Gone Girl so they could talk about the ending. Kate’s friendly visits to Alana’s desk were becoming more frequent.

“Are you done yet?” Kate asked Alana. “Now are you done? When will you finish? C’mon, read faster!”

Kate sighed as she told me the story. “This backseat reading is torture!”

I’d never heard the phrase “backseat reading.” Brilliant!

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What a perfect way to describe that antsy feeling you get when a friend is reading a book you love and want to talk about but you can’t because they’re still reading. You find yourself practically reading over their shoulder, urging them ahead.

I was a lucky early reader of Gone Girl before it became a runaway bestseller. Once it hit the shelves, I couldn’t wait for my friends to get to THE PAGE (if you’ve read it you know exactly what I’m talking about).

I’ve done a lot of backseat reading lately with The Panopticon and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. They’re very different novels, but both are the kind of haunting read that inspire more questions than they answer. I desperately want to talk about them with someone!

Please save me from the dangers of backseat reading. I don’t want to have to stalk my closest friends until they’ve finished these two wonderful books. If you’ve read The Panopticon or A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon, leave a comment with your thoughts so we can talk.

Photo credit: FocusDzign /

Feel free to tell us about a book that has you backseat reading!

About Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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