Bibliophile. It's a long (and possibly intimidating) word, but it simply means "a person who is in love with books." While being a bibliophile is a wonderful thing (ahhh books!), it also comes with its fair share of difficulties. If you or someone you know lives with bibliophilia, you're most likely familiar with these daily struggles:
1. Spending all your money on books.
When you're in love with books, buying them has a way of becoming one of your top priorities. Sometimes this means that you have to sacrifice other things in order to have the funds for your biblio purchases. Groceries? Gas? You didn't really need those things this month anyway.
2. Never asking for useful presents.
Once you've exhausted all of your own funds, you have to rely on the generosity of others to fuel your book obsession. Whenever any occasion for gift-giving rolls around (Christmas, your birthday, Valentine's Day), you ignore the growing list of things you really need (a winter coat, money for the gas and groceries you never bought last month, etc.) and somehow end up asking for books instead. After all, that newest novel by your favorite author isn't going to buy itself.
3. Needing every book you see (even the ones you don't want to read!)
We bibliophiles know that there is so much more to love about a book than just the words printed on its pages. Sure, we love to read, but we also fall in love with books because of everything from the way they smell to the way their covers are embossed. We aren't snobs, we can look at old, dusty books and see endless possibilities. Collector's items, home decor, our next DIY projects! Even the most unlovable books have something positive to contribute to our lives and we want to own them all.
4. Never having enough storage space.
In a bibliophile's world, there is really no such thing as "storage space" because every flat surface is covered in books. All of those volumes we purchased have to live somewhere and once we have them, we just can't bear to part with any of them. So our piles of books gradually grow until there is no empty space left to be seen. Need a place to set a laptop, a vase of flowers, a desk lamp, or even just a glass of water? Sorry, the books got there first. Better luck next time.
5. Constantly feeling tired
If you're a bibliophile, you're probably used to trudging through your days in a haze of exhaustion because you stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing that biography or reading just one more chapter of that thriller you just couldn't put down. When books are your passion, sleep is low on your priority list, especially when you're engrossed in an especially good book and cannot imagine sleeping without knowing how it ends.
6. Having eternally dry skin.
Here's a fun fact: paper wicks moisture away from human skin like nobody's business. When you're a bibliophile who holds books in their hands on a regular basis, this means that your hands are always dry. Very dry. No matter how many times you lotion them, the paper sucks all that moisture right back out again, leaving your hands just as parched as before. Short of wearing gloves every time you pick up a book, you just have to accept the dryness, keep "lotioning up" every few pages and carry on with your reading.
7. Loving library visits more than social engagements.
When you're obsessed with books, there is no better place to spend time than the building where hundreds of books stand on shelves just waiting for you to take them home (free of charge!). Libraries are a bibliophile's favorite haunt. You could spend hours perusing the shelves, assembling the perfect summer reading list, or curling up in some quiet corner to delve into your newest biblio find. If given a choice between a party or a visit to the Public Library, you'll choose the library nine out of ten times. (Okay...maybe even ten out of ten.) It's nothing personal. Books are just more fun than people sometimes.
8. Comparing every situation to a story.
Reading is amazing because it fills your head with so many new places, people and situations while at the same time helping you to understand your own life on a deeper level. This makes it easy for bibliophiles to automatically connect the situations in their own lives with those that they've read about in a book. Annoyed with that arrogant guy who refuses to acknowledge your existence? Elizabeth Bennett has been there, done that. Heartbroken that your pet dog just died? So were the protagonists in Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. Feeling like anything is possible today? That's exactly how Lucy felt when she stepped through the wardrobe and into Narnia. Your habit of constantly drawing connections between fiction and reality may annoy other people, but those connections are your way of learning more about your own life by looking at it from the perspective of other people's stories and experiences.
As you can see, being a bibliophile is far from easy. In the end, though, we not only love books, but we love that we love them! Every book is its own unique treasure with its own story to tell, and we have the honor of cherishing those treasures and listening to their stories. Best of all, we get to witness how the stories we read help us to shape our understanding of our own personal narratives.
To put it simply, books are the best and we can't get enough of them.