I’d Rather Be Reading T-shirt: Cheatsheet

Yesterday I had a strange desire to buy one or more T-shirts that proudly proclaim that “I’d rather be reading.” 

I don’t normally wear T-shirts and especially message-oriented T-shirts. Also, some T-shirts are downright uncomfortable, and the printing is substandard. Sometimes they shrink too much and don’t fit well. But occasionally I find a T-shirt that both looks and feels good, and I don’t get rid of it for years.

But I really like a pro-reading message, especially one that’s not too cute or clever. I’m aiming for color and style and possibly elegance. I looked through lots of designs associated with this message and picked these three winners. I actually intend to return either the first or second, depending on how it fits. Each of these costs about $20 which is probably a little overpriced, but I need to check out what’s available at what price.

The third design in teal comes from Teepublic. The first and second come from Amazon. Apparently according to this guy on Youtube, the Teepublic shirts (made of “100% combed ringspun cotton”)   are the softest and best-fitting; the Amazon shirts are in the middle of the pack. Other factors are certainly involved: do they shrink? Does the design on the material feel noticeably distinct from the rest of the shirt? Also, do the shirt colors fade gracefully? I shall test my purchases and report back.

In terms of messaging, you can search for T-shirts by searching for “Bookworm” and “”books”. I actually found several interesting designs and pro-book messages after purchasing these 3.  I may purchase a few more over time. But the three designs shown above are general and overly simple and direct. I hemmed and hawwed about that third design, but I don’t know. I really like that faceless little guy carrying the books (and nearly bumping into the letters).

Maybe people don’t realize this, but a lot of T-shirts are printed on the fly. That’s what both Teepublic and Amazon does, and probably all the others. It’s worth asking whether these things generally last and whether the raw material is using slave labor in some developing country. I shall report back about that as well.

Clothing and Fitting Issues

Here’s a nice introduction to T-shirt purchasing from the fashion and consumer point of view. If anything it explains terminology.

Figuring out the size can be a challenge. There are several ways to measure your size, and you never know if the size is going to fit exactly. Trial and error is probably the main strategy you can take.

I’m a Men’s XL size, but I’ve tried several XXL shirts that seem to fit me better.

Washing and Caring for Your Shirt

Recently I bought several shirts at my Goodwill, and I realize that I just need to take better care of my shirts. Everything will be washed in cold and dried as a delicate. I have no idea what effect this will have on the lifespan of these shirts.

Wearing T-shirts — The Fashion Angle

It’s not certain how often it is appropriate to wear a T-shirt in public. Certainly in Houston it depends on the weather. In the summer it’s very hot, and these T-shirts may seem too casual for most situations. I tried to choose T-shirts that didn’t look too ratty, but who knows how they will be in real life.

I needed to buy several more shirts, and frankly, I have a bad habit of never throwing shirts away no matter how horrible they look. (I call them “inside shirts” because I wear them only in the privacy of my own home). Now that I bought some Goodwill shirts and have some Rather Be Reading T-shirts en route, I probably can throw away 10 old shirts and not significantly deplete my wardrobe.


I am toying with the idea of commissioning an artist to make a special “I’d Rather be Reading” shirt for Personville Press. Stay tuned.

Jan 1 2024 Update! I love all the T-shirts. I notice that the Amazon sizes feel smaller than what I’m used to. I had to order XXL instead of the usual XL. (The sizes for Teepublic were fine). It’s true that the Teepublic shirt was slightly softer and more comfortable than Amazon’s shirts, but not by much (hardly noticeable). Despite what the reviewer said, I could certainly feel that the design parts of the shirt felt different, but all of them were comfortable. I did notice that the man with the books logo came out a lot larger on the shirt than expected. The black shirt with the open book looked the best — and it didn’t have too much lettering on it. So that’s now my favorite.


Author Robert Nagle in his "Id Rather be Reading" T-shirt, Jan 2024






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