The Book-Lover’s Guide to Covertly Reading During a Super Bowl Party

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

Image via Flickr

Ah, that most American, sportastic of diversions: the Super Bowl! What could be more thrilling, entertaining, and vaguely ritualistic than a bunch of quarterbacks dribbling the ol’ pigskin down the Football Court to make the crucial penalty basket and break the love-love tie?


Okay, so you may have surmised that I don’t know a ton about football.

And while I don’t want to set up any damning dichotomies here, I’m pretty sure there’s a healthy swath of the population who’d rather be glued to a book alone than to the widescreen TV in the company of, you know, other people. Still, just because you’re a bookish type doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Super Bowl party (for one thing, there’s snacks). Here’s some tips for enjoying a good read on the sly.

1. Smuggle in your book: Good options include in a purse, under your jersey (also: get a jersey), or hidden beneath a novelty cheese-shaped hat (Wisconsin fans only). Bad options include under the crockpot full of chili and in your shoes.

2. Pick your location: Use a little strategery to keep yourself out of the major sightlines. Perch on a stool behind the couch, or tuck yourself into the corner between the armchair and the bookcase (bonus factor: more books!) If possible, remove yourself from the viewing room entirely. Someone needs help in the kitchen? Perfect! No seats left? That’s cool, you’ll go listen to the game on the radio, assuming that’s a plausible thing for a football fan to do!

3. Occasionally make noise: Just like reading in the middle of a forest known for higher-than-average Grizzly activity, sharp listening is the key to survival here. Keep your ears pricked for changes in ambient noise, and vocalize accordingly: groan, sigh, cheer, or laugh (commercials only). If your pages are particularly noisy, try to turn them at clinch moments.

Image via Flickr

4. Avoid snack-related page damage: Nothing is more tragic than the flood of sticky, caramel-colored liquid across a virgin page of type, and nothing will be more of a dead giveaway than when you leap up swearing and clutching a beer-sodden copy of Gone Girl. Keep your snax ‘n’ beverages safely clear of your reading material; I suggest designated nourishment breaks at regular intervals to keep your stamina up.

5. Enjoy the game!: The game of pretending you’re watching the game, that is! And remember: you can watch all the commercials on YouTube later.

Blair Thornburgh

Blair Thornburgh

BLAIR THORNBURGH is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she earned a B.A. in medieval studies and delivered a pretty good commencement speech. She lives in Philadelphia.