Top Ten Signs I’m a Book Lover
I’ve borrowed this meme from a few blogs who follow Top Ten Tuesday (though I don’t do so myself) because, I suppose, it’s a chance to talk about me again.
After all, it’s not a coincidence that the word meme has the first person singular twice over, surely?
Anyway, here are the telltale signs I’m a bibliomane,* not listed in any particular order. One or two signs seem to match up with the things listed by other bloggers, but I can’t help that — birds of a feather and all that!
- I have many books on my shelves that I’ve yet to read. Contrary to what an in-law thought I didn’t buy them at a jumble sale as a job lot to decorate a wall, I actually chose each one personally, and may even be able to tell you when and where I bought it.
- True family members and friends know not to get me socks or ties, or even to chose a book they imagine I like: they’ll buy me book tokens or (whisper it) Amazon vouchers. They don’t buy me particular titles unless I’ve dropped heavy hints and, moreover, have indicated I’m prepared to wait for a specified time for them to appear. (To be honest, I’m too old and grumpy for anyone to want to buy me presents that I can get for myself.)
- When I go anywhere new to visit I ascertain where the bookshops are. New books or secondhand, I’m not proud, but I’m with Neil Gaiman on this: as a character opines in American Gods, “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”
- Apropos of the previous sign, wherever I go on a holiday or trip I always pack a book or three as emergency supplies. If there’s a bookshop there then all’s well and good, I may not even have need of the supplies, but one can never be too cautious.
- I never disfigure a book with notes or markings, not even in pencil. Full stop. I have notebooks for notes; books are for reading. Don’t get me started: I’ve already dedicated a whole post to this chiefest of mortal sins.
- I’ll talk the hindlegs off the proverbial donkey about books I’ve read, yes, even till the blessed cows come home. And, if you’re similarly inclined, you’ll no doubt be ready to stay for the duration. Book lovers have a sixth sense for who else is one, so if you’re not be prepared for barely-concealed pity.
- And I don’t always enact the sixth sign face to face: these days we can find fellow bibliophiles, even bibliomanes, on social media — on Twitter, book-cataloguing sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing, and, of course, blogging. For my sins I seem to be following close on a hundred blogs (how did that happen?) and a good many of them are book-related.
- Another sign: I reread books. I know many readers don’t: there are so many books out there waiting to make our acquaintance. But I’m a book lover, books are like friends; you wouldn’t claim someone as a friend and then never speak to them again, would you? Rereading a book is like having a further conversation, and I always end up learning more, both about the book and about myself.
- Nearly there. If a book is like a friend then I don’t mind if they’re new to me alone or if they’re secondhand — or as some even say, pre-loved. Some secondhand book are so damaged — falling apart, pages missing or disfigured — that it’s nigh impossible to adopt them: they would need a professional to restore them, to make them whole — a veritable book doctor. But I’m happy to take on pre-owned books — they deserve respect, even if I’m prepared to pass them on to good home in my turn.
- And now to the last sign that I’m a booklover: I don’t lend books. There, I’ve said it. (I’ve actually said it before, and may say it again.) I’d rather pass them on than lend them, and frequently do. Now I’m not being a dog in the manger because, though I’ve lent out books with the best of intentions in the past, it has nearly always ended in tears. My tears. They either never come back, or they come back in tatters. I even took to writing my name inside them and then somebody actually offered to lend me back my own book. Another denied I had ever lent it in the first place, until I snaffled it back surreptitiously from their bookshelves. These friends certainly loved books, but not well enough to know where they came from (see sign number one).
Them’s me list. And that’s that. If you want any more you can write it yourself.
Seriously, let me know what you think!
* Bibliophile: someone who loves books. Bibliomane: someone who’s obsessed about books.