Living with Bookworms: A Guide for the Uninitiated

Bookworms are everywhere. The tricky thing is figuring out exactly which of the people in your life fall into this category. This isn’t always easy, as scientists have yet to determine the visibly identifiable characteristics of a bookworm. However, there is usually one common denominator: the bookworm will be accompanied by, or have on their person, reading material of some sort.

If you’re ever under the suspicion that you’ve come across a bookworm, and don’t know quite how to handle things, here is a compiled list of cautionary points to help. Bear in mind these are only guidelines. We do not take any responsibility for any misunderstandings, silent treatments, arguments, or fisticuffs that may ensue.

  • Do not interrupt a bookworm when they’re in the middle of reading. No matter how calm they may seem, beware: the pleasant poker face may hide less than pleasant thoughts.
  • Grabbing the book while the bookworm’s reading to check the cover is extremely ill-advised. Do so at your own peril.
  • Avoid further angering the bookworm by mentioning that the film is better than the book.
  • Should you wish to get a bookworm’s attention, simply pepper your conversation with a “book” here, and “novel” there. With the first utterance, you should notice their ears twitch. A repetition or two later, and you will have their full attention.
  • Alternatively, the rifling of book pages is also an effective attention-grabber. But use this method sparingly, as the book may end up absorbing all of their attention instead.
  • Upon visiting a new residence, the bookworm will automatically gravitate towards the bookshelf. It may seem as if they aren’t paying attention to you, and, in fact, they probably aren’t. It’s best not to take this personally.
  • Remember: the word “satisfied” doesn’t factor into the bookworm’s vocabulary. They could be sitting with a leaning tower of books, and they will still lean over in what they believe is a subtle manner to see what it is you are reading.
  • The bookworm is prone to reacting visibly to their reading material, regardless of whether they are in public or not. Gasps, growls, laughter and even tears are common. Just ignore it all. It will be easier for the both of you.
  • Bookworms have an almost unbreakable habit of holing up in fictional worlds, and losing track of time. To coax them out into the wide world, lay out a trail of books that will lead them out their front door. Hopefully.
  • If gifting a book worm, book vouchers are your best friend. Bookworms have varying preferences when it comes to genre, and vouchers are the best way to avoid the minefield of wrong choices and mistaken assumptions.
  • Be very cautious when admitting you’ve read a book in front of the bookworm. The bookworm will most definitely latch onto you, and will not leave until they have discussed every single idea, character, plot point, and bit of dialogue with you. Escape will be impossible.
  • Bookworms are prone to staring at people for unnervingly long periods of time. Either they’re casting you in the role of a fictional character, or you have something on your face. Just pray it’s the former.
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Faustina was reading when she popped out of the womb. Probably. Reading is her life, and she’ll read pretty much anything. After reading her way through primary, high school, and university, and finding she hasn’t gotten sick of it, she’s still reading now. Her favourite genres are YA, realist fiction, and magical realist fiction, with a strong focus on diversity. She believes that houses should have in-built bookshelves in all the rooms, and that ebooks and printed books can get along.

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