13 Things That Happen When You’re Obsessed With Reading

1. Your bookshelf is like a shrine

It’s the most important thing in your whole room. It’s your pride and joy; your beloved. It’s perfectly organized, in order, dusted, at all times. You can’t help but watch like a hawk when guests are looking through your shelf.

2. You hate lending books to people

As proud as you are of your extensive book collection, you can’t stand actually lending them out. What if they never give it back? What if they lose it? What if they rip the pages? Or drop it in the bathtub? What if they take too long to read it and you have to stare at that empty space on your shelf for months? It’s uncomfortable knowing your book is out there, in the hands of a stranger, in an unfamiliar room, without your supervision. Lending books gives you anxiety, and that’s that.

3. Your list of books to read is never-ending

At the moment, I have a bottom shelf of about 16 books that I have lined up to read. I also have three journal pages filled with book titles I’m planning on buying once those 16 are gone. That list is always expanding. So forget it if someone tries to recommend a book. Sorry, I already have too many on my list. Maybe when I finish it….

4. You don’t know what to do with yourself when your book ends

You close that back cover, stare at the wall, and think, “Now what?” You just dedicated hours upon hours of your time poring over characters and their stories. And now they’re gone, forever. It’s like there was a death. And you can’t imagine recovering and being able to move on and start a new book after. You have to recoup for a little before starting up again. “What are you reading now?” someone may ask you. You’ll shake your head as you remember. “It’s too soon… just… too soon.”

5. You plan which book you’ll read next before you even start one

You pull a book out from your bookshelf to start reading, yet you’re already glancing at the other titles to see what will come after that. It’s not infidelity if you didn’t even start reading it, right?

Like a mother who watches her children sleep at night, you like to gaze at all the books lined on your shelves. You run your finger over their spines, flip through their worn pages, take a big whiff from their centers. You think of the times you read each one, the memories you shared, the laughs you had and the tears you shed. You just like to sit, stare, and take in everything you’ve ever read… like a creeper.

7. You plan to name your kids and pets after your favorite characters/authors

Iko (from the Lunar Chronicles). Azriel (from A Court of Thorns & Roses). Emika (from Waycross). Kaz (from Six of Crows) — I already have my fictitious dogs’ names picked out based on some of my favorite authors. As for my kids? My husband better like the name Augustus Westley for a son. For the others, he can pick from the list I’ve created.

8. You actually forget where you are when you’re reading

Whether you’re on your couch, on the train, at the office — wherever you are, once you start reading, your surroundings fall away. You become so absorbed with the reality of your characters that you fail to hear your subway stop or your phone ringing next to you. I read at the reception desk of my work, and when I hear someone walk in, I look up blinking into the world that I left, completely unaware I’m in an office. It always takes a few moments to register.

9. You’re filled with rage when someone interrupts your reading

It’s as if someone disturbed a really serious conversation that you’re in the middle of. You can’t answer them until you finish the line you were reading. I’m able to get away with reading at work, and even though it’s probably not the best look, that still doesn’t make me any less mad when people are talking near my desk when I’m reading. It can be incredibly difficult tuning people out, so my blood boils when I’m trying to have a quiet moment to read with people cracking up next to me.

10. Asking a reader “What’s your favorite book?” is equivalent to asking a parent “Who’s your favorite child?”

You can’t pick just one. That’s an offense to all the other books that you read and fell in love with. This is probably the hardest question to answer in interviews when you’re going for a job in writing or publication. They stare at you expectantly, waiting for you to answer the one question that was the easiest to prepare for. But all that goes through my head is, “Please don’t make me pick!”

11. You want to die if you spill on or rip a page

Spilling on or ripping a page in a book is like accidentally stepping on a pet. You apologize profusely, panicking, wiping it up, clutching at the tear, asking if there’s a God. You swear you’ll take better care of it, be a better owner, and never do something so cruel again.

12. You compare everything to what you’ve read

People, relationships, experiences, everything can be compared to what you’ve read in a book. While everyone is making comparisons to characters in movies or TV shows, you immediately associate a couple with one from a novel, or relate a place to a description you read in a text. You can’t really help it — it’s just what your mind always goes to.

13. You get offended if someone doesn’t come to you for book recommendations

You know books, and good books at that. So when you hear of a family member or close friend going to someone else for book recommendations?? It hurts. If someone I know is looking for a great book to read, I put serious thought into picking ones I think that they’ll really enjoy. But when they ask someone else, I’m sure they’re just being recommended the one book that person ever really tolerated. It’s an insult to a serious reader to say the least.

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