The Book Burglar’s Time Machine

White TeethFittingly given my earlier blog post about prioritising reading over such important things as, oh, study and deadlines, I found myself quite seriously discussing the merits of time machines today.

Specifically, how I’d make use of one.

Admittedly, time machines don’t yet exist outside of science fiction, but one can never be too prepared for how one would use them if and when they do eventuate. Me? I’d obviously use a time machine to fit in more reading time. Hours and hours and hours of luxurious reading time.

My time machine would need both a comfy chair I could curl up in as well as a bed I could lie down in to read. The bed would double as, well, a bed, to enable me to indulge in my other favourite pastime—sleeping—between reading stretches, as I’m thinking that a nap taken in a time machine would mean no loss of actual, long-term reading time.

One friend suggested that a time machine could be used for literary tourism, enabling one to travel back to literally peer over a writer’s shoulder as they’re penning their great work. Of course, this led to the idea of suggesting improvements to texts or even, much to my amusement, the idea of preventing certain books from seeing the light of publishing day altogether.

They suggested this of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight quadrilogy, which they hate but I love. But I can see their point—I’d simply apply it to the likes of anything by the precocious Zadie Smith or Jodi Picoult, whose books blur into mediocre repetition.

There’s also the fast-forward function of time machines, which would allow us to find out what’s big ahead of time and then return to the present to get the snobbish jump and read said book ‘before it was cool’. Such fast forwarding would also allow us to forego the current agonising over the future of book formats, know that the world isn’t going to end and that books will continue in some handy format, and let us just get on with the pleasure of reading.

Sadly, though, until time machines make it of the book page and into the real world, I’m going to have to prioritise which books I read as well as master the fine art of speed reading.

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.