Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Signs You're A Bibliophile

Recently the Online University Reviews published an online article titled “75 Signs You’re a Bibliophile”. Of course being one, I had to go over and give it a look-see to see what it had to say. Yes, I know I may be a bit silly, but I like that kind of thing….don’t judge me!

It was actually really funny, to me anyway. I suppose I am amused easily. Some don’t apply to me, but many did, so I thought I would list the ones that did. I am copying and pasting directly from the article, but here they are. Do you fit the bill too? Are you a bibliophile? Most likely, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this post! (Note, the numbers next to each item are the number listed out of the 75)

5. You fight to diversify the literary canon.
Great writing can come from anyone, anywhere. And a true bibliophile knows that the real literary canon is made up of far more than just a bunch of dead, high strung white guys. Oh, they contributed alright! But they are not the entirety.

9. Your loved ones tire of you spouting clichéd “The book was better” diatribes.

But you know better. Yes, yes you do. It’s not your fault the philistines haven’t picked up a work of fine literature since the Carter administration!

14. You’d read in the car if you could.

Some of the more daring bibliophiles amongst us are probably guilty of sneaking in a page or 2 at red lights…

It’s true, I would…oh wait, I do. I totally read at read lights and have been honked at multiple times for more than just my beauty. Ummm, okay maybe it was the missing of the green light that did it. Even when I’m not driving though, reading while the car is moving makes me ill. Damn motion sickness.

16. Used, local and specialty bookstores are your kryptonite.
After a certain point, taking up crystal meth as a hobby may actually be kinder to one’s wallet than bibliophilia. But books don’t turn your teeth into pumice, which generally tips one’s favor towards the more expensive pursuit.

19. You ? your local library.

Whether you volunteer your time, money or old books, you do whatever you can to spread your love of the library and its myriad opportunities faster than Barry Allen on a caffeine bender.

20. You find Belle the least offensive of the Disney princesses.

Sure, she teaches young women about the joys of miring yourself in Stockholm syndrome! But she does enjoy reading and intellectual pursuits, which makes her slightly less misogynistic than the other aggressively marketed Disney ladies.

21. You know what the thunderclap that heralded the fall of Adam and Eve sounds like.


22. You own a cat, a grand selection of tea and/or coffee, an all-purpose tote bag for shopping (that may or may not be constructed of post-consumer recycled products), a knitting habit or some combination thereof.
For some reason, every passionate literary connoisseur inevitably possesses one or more of those 4 items. Nobody knows why. Not even science.

Okay, so maybe I don’t have the grand selection of tea or coffee, but the cat I have *check*, and the tote bag *check*! I keep friends with the knitting habit so I can just watch whilst I hold the books.

23. You know very well that used book stores are not where stimulating reads go to die.
It’s a cliché to compare used bookstores to finding diamonds in the rough and treasures in the sands and princes among frogs…but it’s actually the most apt way to describe a visit. Great books certainly do crop up while slogging through bubbleheaded swill by Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella.

I actually like Sophie Kinsella. I've never read Meg Cabot though, so I don't know about her...

24. Oprah’s Book Club makes you want to destroy something beautiful.
Sure she encourages her flock to pick up undeniable classics like The Color Purple, Song of Solomon and East of Eden, but these were already well-respected works. As much as she poses, Oprah never actually had a hand in discovering the writers OR their novels. When she’s left to her own devices, A Million Little Pieces happens.

It’s true, I try never to read anything on Oprah’s Book Club list. Horrible huh? I’m sure some of them are good books, but it really does make me cringe when I see it. *shudders at the thought*

25. Substance abuse seems glamorous and edgy.
William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway both won the Nobel Prize in spite of possessing livers that looked like the Toxic Avenger. Hunter S. Thompson must have managed to score the Teddy Roosevelt of immune systems, because that’s just about the only reasonable explanation regarding his ability to stay out of the hospital and get work done. All brilliant literary figures…all suffering from very serious psychological issues that needed addressing. Substance abuse should be considered a wrenching tragedy, not a writing strategy.

Yes, I know this is sad. Maybe I should try some counseling on this one…then again, maybe not.

26. You actually know the difference between you’re/your, they’re/their/there and it’s/its.
And you deserve a pat on the back for it! Just don’t get cocky and start correcting everyone else in a condescending tone, OK?

People really hate be corrected on this front, but I don’t get how they don’t know the difference!

28. The social events you look forward to most either involve the library, readings or lectures.
And why not? They’re excellent networking opportunities that provide great insight into an author’s beliefs and creative processes – not to mention exposure to exciting new literature! Plus, it’s a great way to meet cute boys and girls in sweater-vests.

32. You know that irony is not rain on your wedding day or a free ride, but you’ve already paid.

Irony is selling an heirloom pocket watch to purchase beautiful combs for your wife’s luscious hair, only to find out she cut it and bought you a chain for the timepiece with the money. But who would have thought it figured?

33. Your solutions to any sociopolitical problem inevitably involve references to eating babies.

If a peer gets the reference and laughs, you are in good company. If a peer does not get the reference and laughs, you probably should examine his or her motives first before judging them a sociopath. They could just be harmless internet denizens in their downtime.

34. You prefer the term “erotica.”

Anaïs Nin certainly possessed enviable writing talent worthy of study and inclusion on numerous “Best of…” lists. But even if you slap a more elegant, euphemistic label on it, porn is still porn.

Erotica sounds better no matter what, not that I read it. It’s not like there are actual pictures involved…Shut up, I know what you’re thinking.

40. You actually read the included supplementary material.
To you, the forwards, afterwards and essays included in a volume deserve careful perusal just as much as the actual novels themselves.

41. The word “abridged” gives you a migraine.

Or, alternately, it sends you into an unstoppable rant about how abridging a story compromises the author’s original intent – even if the author him- or herself approved of the changes in the first place!

I still remember the exact day I found out this atrocity was happening. I mean, why on this Earth would anyone “abridge” a book? The thought brings me close to tears

42. You love incorporating books into your home décor.
home of the more intense cases among you may pick out tomes you love with covers that convey the specific aesthetic you desire. The bibliophiliac community is split over interior designers who construct furniture and other decorative items out of old books.

44. You have one specific genre or subgenre that you absolutely hate and avoid at all costs.

And you know you hate it because you have actually read several books from the genre at hand. Right?

45. Broken spines seem almost like injuries.

More serious bibliophiles tend to anthropomorphize their collections on occasion, and breaking the spines of books almost makes them weep in empathy for its pain.

46. You sell your clothes and other possessions before you sell your books.

When bibliophiles need a little extra money quickly, they’d much rather dump their clothes and other necessities onto resale shops instead of hauling a load to a local shop specializing in used volumes.

47. You hate moving.

Not because you’re antisocial or agoraphobic, but because packing and unpacking hundreds – if not thousands – of books is a real pain in the patootie.

48. You’re reluctant to lend out your books.

Sure, you want to nurture a love and appreciation of the written word in your friends and loved ones. But what if they bend the spine? What if they dogear the pages? WHAT IF THEY SPILL COFFEE ON IT?!?! OH GOD THE THOUGHT OF IT JUST KILLS ME!!!

I rarely do this, EVER! If I do, the book usually gets a leaving speech as does the borrower of the book. I now have a list of people who are NOT allowed to borrow my books. Losers!

49. You consider dogearing a sacrilege.
Though a venial sin compared to the mortal offense of breaking a book’s spine, dogearing still compromises its delicate structure.

OMG!!!! Why would you ever fold the pages of a book!? I mean, WHY!!!?? That is why they invented bookmarks. If you can’t afford a bookmark, use a piece of paper, a receipt, a piece of toilet paper! I mean come on!!!

50. You never walk out of a bookstore empty-handed.
Even if you walk into a bookstore with no particular purchase in mind, you always seem to throw down the debit card for something that popped out. Always. Invariably.

51. You usually carry around 2 books at a time.

Because you never know when you’ll find yourself with some welcome free time. Unfortunately, said welcome free time may mean you finish your current read and need to start up on its follow-up.

53. When library hours get slashed, you faint like a Victorian lady listening to a bawdy story about ankle exposure.

Sadly, many libraries across the world have been forced to scale back their hours due to budget cuts. Bibliophiles responded to the news by contracting the vapors, and many sustained unfortunate head injuries as they crumpled to the floor in grief.

56. You know that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42

You also know how to properly mix a pan-galactic gargle blaster and the importance of bringing a towel with you wherever you go.

As well as the importance of when and where you have an idea. You never want to get your head dented in!

57. You can tell the difference between British and American English…
It’s a lot more than just “colour” vs. “color,” and you know it! Bonus points for any readers able to pick out Canadian English without any external hints.

58. …yet you frequently write in a blend of both.

Hey, it happens. Bibliophiles who pull double-duty as writers oftentimes find themselves merging grammatical and spelling conventions from British and American English without even realizing it. Kind of like Madonna’s accent, only not faked for attention.

59. You don’t take an iPod to the gym.

No amount of Lady Gaga’s warbling can get you up and moving quite like a favored book. There’s a reason why treadmills often come with a mechanism to support a chosen read…

I don’t even own an ipod…*gasp* shocking, yes I know.

60. You didn’t join a book club…you started one.
And you actually set up said book club so participants actually read rather than guzzle down wine, gossip about how Betty’s wife left her for a nubile young flight attendant and discuss why Mr. Darcy is OMG HOT and why every man ever should just drop everything and be him.

68. Friends and family think you’re crazy for re-reading certain books.

At least once in his or her life, someone close to a bibliophile has honestly inquired as to why he or she feels the need to read literary works more than once. This is usually accompanied by a concerned, though rarely condescending, tone of voice. The same tone of voice parents usually use when asking teenagers if they’re on drugs.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.

70. You are conflicted over the thought of writing on the pages.

Taking notes inside a book itself saves both paper and time. But it also starts cluttering up the pages and making re-reads much more difficult. This is a very serious issue that divides families and friends, if not individuals themselves.

72. You go out of your way to place writers and their works into the proper context in order to best understand the book at hand.

Had Ignatius Rising not come out, nobody would have been able to figure out that John Kennedy Toole struggled with his sexuality and possessed mommy issues rivaled only by Buster Bluth

75. You really, really, really, really, really, really, really like books.

At the end of the day, isn’t that more or less the literal definition of “bibliophile” when translated from the original Greek?

There’s no need to be afraid. You’re certainly not flying solo on this frequently bleak chunk of metal rocketing through an expansive, lonely cosmos. Just relax and embrace who you are, what you are. We certainly love you for it.

In the end, that is the way it is…pretty sweet huh?!

(To view the whole article, click HERE)

Jen the Bibliophile


  1. Wow! That was a list.

    For me I'd probably go straight to 75. Although the one mentioning cats, coffee, & knitting is all me! (I even hve tea.)



  2. LOL! I know, I have issues with my long posts. I looked at this one too and knew it was going to be super long. I thought it would work this once. Some of them were pretty funny!

  3. okay, so i love this post. i can say that because
    a) i couldn't stop reading
    b) interesting concept
    c) you have got to love the 'philistines' expression
    d) i was grinning and laughing and tearing while reading this
    e) I could recognize myself in there
    f) all options above

  4. PaperDoll that is too funny! Love the comment!

    (I still have to get organized and write something for the blog award.)

  5. @Paperdoll - Thanks!! That was what I thought when I read it. I especially loved the reference to The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy. I was laughing so hard at so many parts thinking OMG, that is awesome that I'm not alone in the world of crazy.

  6. This list is FABULOUS! I thought I was the only one who read while driving... Thanks for sharing :)


I always love comments, and I read every single one!

Also, this is now designated an award free zone. Although I love awards and I love everyone for thinking of me, I just don't have the time to honor them like they need to be honored. Thank you though for your consideration!

XOXO Jen the Bibliophile

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