When you’re a reader, there are so many things you know and understand that other people will never get. It’s like you’ve been given some special insight into the universe, and you’d pass it on if you could but you also realize that most people don’t want advice in the form of an 800-page novel. For example, we book lovers tend to sink deeply into book relationships, at least during the 300-pages they last. We understand the deep complexities and emotions of the characters, which in turns strengthens our empathy skills and allows us to better relate to the people in our lives. Whether a gift or a curse, we usually understand others better than they understand us.
That’s all right, though, because we’re not most people, and that’s what makes us awesome.
Book loves are often suspicious of other readers who claim to “read a lot.” Where one persons’ definition of reading a lot might be two books a week, another might argue that two books a day is low. Another argument might focus around how sore you neck is from reading, compared to someone else’s. Since neither person can measure the soreness of a neck, both will feel personally justified that their own pain—brought through a love of reading—outranks the others.
The point still remains, readers are unique.
And not unique in the sense that they all need to buy ice packs for their aching necks. They’re just unique people all around.
For instance, not many people will understand the conundrum we readers have before a trip when 50% of our holiday packing anxiety revolves around which book(s) to bring. Indeed, this very decision is a tiny war within most book lovers’ heads and involves all kinds of strategies for picking the perfect book. One person might lay out 10 different options, five of which are serious novels they’ve been meaning to read, but which might not be appropriate for vacation, and the other five are light and witty “brain candy” books perfect for the beach but not exactly “brain builders.” And, of course, there’s a variety of different genres included because you never know what mood will strike you when you’re there.
Since a large part of your plans involve relaxing with a book on the beach, some non-readers might argue, “why go on vacation at all?” Word has already gotten around—among your friends, family, and coworkers—that you’re likely to cancel plans at a moment’s notice so that you can stay home and finish a few more chapters (’cause, cliff hangers). You may or may not have already missed two of your children’s weddings for a good book—no regrets, by the way—and even though you intend to keep other plans, you’re also acutely aware that your “to read” pile somehow never seems to get any smaller. Vacation sounds like sitting down all week and making a dent in that pile.
Of course, only a reader would get this. Only a reader. For your sake, I’m hoping those two children of yours are book lovers too; if so, they’ll easily forgive you for the whole “missed wedding” thing.
Here’s another one: when was the last time you got a full night’s sleep while reading a good book? It’s just so dang hard to put down a book during a really tense scene, and also before the end. Readers are known for their long, sleepless nights; is it really any wonder that most book stores adjoin with cafés now? When was the last time you walked into a Barnes and Noble and didn’t see a Starbucks?
If a non-reader ever wanted to hunt down all the book lovers, it really wouldn’t be that hard. They’d only have to look for people with bloodshot eyes, wearing reading glasses, carrying heavy looking book bags, a cup of coffee in one hand, and a book in the other. But we know a non-reader would never want to do that. If all the readers were gone, who could they depend on to tell them if the first book they’ve been considering for years is any good? All they gotta do is stare at a reader hard enough, and eventually that reader will look up and give them the thumbs up, or not.
We book lovers know that the 11th greatest sin is interrupting someone who is reading. In a reader’s life, there may be nothing worse than those people who interrupt them because they assume you’re “only reading.” In those moments, the reader should clearly tell the other person how many bus stops they’ve missed in their life because they were “only reading.” Ask them to give you a nickel for every bus stop; you need the money for more books; in fact, you’d be bankrupt if it wasn’t for libraries.
You don’t worry about bankruptcy, though, or about the bus stops you missed and the flight you will miss as a result of that, and the wedding you will miss because you missed the flight. Instead of booking another flight, you send the happy couple a picture of the present you bought them; it was a book. You go back home and run a bath and pour a glass of wine. You don’t worry about your plans tomorrow. You just don’t worry about anything.
Because let’s face it: when a reader is in the middle of a good book, that book feels more real than the real world itself.
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