These are twelve signs you’re a book lover:
1. You’d rather read a book than make small talk.
2. If you make small talk, it’s about a book.
3. Your heart breaks a little bit when a good book ends.
4. When that good book ends, you let the book linger in your arms and you imagine what-if scenarios should the story carry on.
5. You’d rather get books than clothes as presents.
6. You don’t need a bookmark to find your place in a book.
7. You hate being interrupted while reading.
8. Your tattoo is a quote from a book. Or if you don’t have a tattoo and plan on getting one, it will be a quote from a book.
9. You’re hardly satisfied with movies based on books.
10. You could be reading two books at the same time.
11. You’ve treated the school library as a sanctuary.
12. As you read this, you’ve got a book within arm’s reach.
If you found yourself nodding to most of these items, well hello there, kindred soul! You must love books as much as I do, if not much, much more. Tell me, what are you reading? What books do you recommend? But wait, before we engage in bookish chit-chat, let me tell you about my love affair with books. Then I would love for you to tell me yours.
Perhaps the biggest gift a book has ever given me is companionship. I am never alone with a good book. Growing up, I was pretty much a loner. Maybe it was the thick glasses that turned my classmates off. Maybe it was my preference to bury my nose in a book than engage in talk about boys. Books were there to always embrace me. Its pages would open wide and I’d dive into it like a toddler jumping into his Mommy’s arms. Books shielded me from the noise of parents fighting. Books comforted me when friends would come and go. Books pacified me when I’d be cross or heartbroken. They weren’t just sadness savers. Books would whisk me away to places when I was feeling adventurous. Books would indulge my curiosity when I was feeling inquisitive. Books were always the answer to almost every emotion I had growing up. Books were my solace.
The school library was a big part of my childhood. Oh how I’d hide in between shelves, sit on the floor and pore through books of various genres. During recess I’d read about the saints. During lunch I’d read about fairy tales. While waiting for my ride home I’d linger in the young adults area (formerly called the “juvenile” section). My relationship with the library intensified from grade school all the way to high school. The library subdued the noise of cliques and teenage drama.
I remember the thrill of a maxed out library card. One card must fill about twenty books, I suppose. I also remember the suspense of the card catalogue system. Yes, this gives away my generation! I do not mind at all as I enjoyed the pleasure of the search – the feel of the cardboard labels under my fingers, the buzz as I’d skip through titles to find that one perfect book I’d need. It wasn’t always fun, especially when I’d need to beat deadlines for book reports. Nonetheless, I look back at card catalogues with much fondness.
I believe that if you’re raised in a family of readers, there is a high chance you’ll be an avid reader yourself. My late grandfather was huge on reading. If he weren’t reading a Reader’s Digest, he’d be reading a mystery novel. My parents are also voracious readers. My Dad’s bookish interests range from hardcore business to spirituality and wellness. My Mom’s preferences span from romance to medical books. Don’t even get me started on my sisters. One is a Library Science student (she aspires to be a librarian someday). The other is big on e-books. As for me, my room is crammed with books – books I’ve read once, twice, thrice and never.
Reading is a popular hobby at home. It’s the common interest that binds my family. My Dad loves gardening – the rest of us have black thumbs. My Mom loves piano playing – the rest of us prefer to listen to music. One sister loves baking – the rest of us would rather eat her pastries. I love writing – the others would prefer to read than put a pen on paper. Another sister enjoys travelling – the rest of us would rather cosy up at home. We have our differences, but there is one similarity that threads us all – our passion for reading. We can talk for hours about good books we’ve read, books we hate, books we wish we wrote, books we want to read, books we want each other to read… If you’re imagining that we’re a family composed of bespectacled members, you are spot on. Very much spot on!
An open bookshelf is not an open invitation.
My biggest pet peeve is people digging into my bookshelf without permission. I’ve experienced this several times. I’d invite some friends over to my place, turn my back on them to get some food and by the time I’d get to them, my books would be in their hands. I just want to establish that I am not selfish with my books. Okay, maybe a little. I am just very protective. It’s okay for me to dog-ear my own books, but others can’t. I can read my books with grubby fingers but others can’t. I can pull out books from my shelf whenever I want to, but others can’t. Books to me are more than just pieces of paper stuck together. They are experiences I live and relive. This is why I get upset when others dig into my stash without permission. I feel a part of me is being invaded.
When the Kindle was first introduced, I went “Baaaaah, I don’t need that.” Why would I want to miss out on the distinct scent of new and old books? Why would I want to miss out on the suspense of turning a book’s crisp pages? E-books? Pfffftttt. Well I have eaten my words many, many times. My Mom gave me her old Kindle a few years ago. I’ve read and finished three books in the two weeks since I got it. That’s already a lot coming from a mother to a little boy. Here’s the thing with mothering little kids: You can read books, but you may not necessarily finish them the soonest you want to. Somehow with the Kindle, I was able to manage reading and finishing three whole books. I remember reading a Kindle while nursing my little boy years ago. I still read while he reads. I read while he naps, without worrying that the rustling of the pages will wake him. The Kindle has intensified my love for reading.
Yes, I am a book lover.
I would rather read a book than make small talk. If we do make small talk, I’ll bring something book-related up. My heart breaks not a little but a lot when a good book ends. When that good book ends, I let the book linger in my arms and imagine what-if scenarios should the story carry on. I’d rather get books than clothes as presents. I don’t need a bookmark to find my place in a book. I abhor being interrupted while reading. If I get a tattoo, it would be the line “I feel infinite” from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I am hardly satisfied with movies based on books (except for “The Jane Austen Club”). I can read two books at the same time. I’ve treated the school library as a sanctuary. And yes, as I type this article, I’ve got about at least a dozen books within arm’s reach.
I’ve told you my love story with books. It’s your turn to tell me yours.
What’s your love affair like? What are your favorite books? Do you have any new book recommendations? C’mon, fellow book lover, let’s gush and talk the way only book lovers can.
This post first appeared on the Philippine Online Chronicles.
Photo: “Friday Evening Bokeh” by dan barbus, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Vacaciones” by Annais Ferreira, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan” by Ginny, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Books – bookcase top shelf” by Phil Moore, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved. Photo: “Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading Her Kindle, After Mary Cassatt” by Mike Licht, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.