If, like me, you’re a self-confessed bookworm, you have definitely heard each of these at least once. I don’t know when reading became a thing to criticise (unless it always has been and I’ve been too busy with my head in a book to notice), but I hear these things more lately than ever before. For me, though, it’s hard to believe that people who think these things, never mind say them out loud, exist!
Non-bookworms, listen up! Here’s what not to say to a bookworm:
1. Reading is boring
Unless you want to destroy a friendship, you’ll never say this to a book lover. They’ll lose all respect for you in an instant. Sometimes, books and entangling oneself in their wonders are the only things that keep bookworms going. I know when I’m having the shittest of shit days the only thing that pulls me through is the thought of going home to escape into my current read. It’s one of, if not the best form of, escapism and people who think otherwise are simply reading the wrong books!
2. It’s not real, y’know?
This is probably the most patronising one of the lot. It’s been said to me on multiple occasions and has always come with a disapproving and belittling look. Fair enough, it’s true, but it’s entirely besides the point. A bookworm’s attachment to a beloved story may be entirely irrational, but they know it and get completely invested in the plot and characters’ wellbeing anyway. Please don’t ruin it by being a dick.
3. I heard *name character here* dies in the end!
Bookworms get irrationally attached to fictional characters. So much so that you might as well be telling them that a family member has died. Seriously. Even if a character’s death is as abruptly unexpected as you blurting this sentence out, a good book will give a bookworm some kind of closure that you can’t. Bookworms have their own way of dealing with these things, so let them read it for themselves and deal with it in their own way.
This one can be reworked to fit other situations, too, like whether Fevvers from Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus is real or not, or whether Christopher Boone finds out who killed his neighbour’s dog in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night–Time. It should go without saying that all spoilers are a no-no. Always check if they’ve read the book first or, if they’re reading it, where they’re up to before you ruin everything.
4. You own too many books!
One: ignore anyone who says this and dance like the guy in the gif. Two: there is no such thing as too many books. Three: no bookworm should ever be friends with anyone who says this out loud. That’s all I have to say on the matter.
5. The movie was better
Okay, there are exceptions, like Confessions of a Shopaholic but that wasn’t all that hard to do really, was it? Bookworms will almost always like the book better than the movie. Telling them the movie adaptation of their favourite book was better will only infuriate them. A book lover will almost always be surrounded by books, too, so unless you want to die from books being repetively thrown at your head, you’ll avoid this sentence at all costs.
I’m sure there are more things that you should never say to a bookworm, but these are the five that I’ve heard most often! I’d love to hear your experiences, too! Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me.