The Perils of Bibliophilia

And you thought books were safe? Here is a list of ten perils of bibliophilia … spread the word! Bibliophiles must be warned!

Social What?
Unfortunately, bibliophiles are not the most social bunch. We’re quite content to be curled up on the couch with our books, or sitting on a park bench sunning ourselves as we read. Let’s face it, you can’t have a conversation while you read (except with the characters in the book you’re reading) and bibliophiles rarely lift their heads from a book … We need to be coaxed and, sometimes, bribed. You want us to go out with you? Where? To a club? Can’t … busy. To the librar-I’m on the way!

Back Pain
Keeping a book handy for the morning commute or when waiting for an appointment (or even for when you’re stuck in a supermarket queue) is an assurance you will always have access to literary entertainment. Choose your book wisely, however – judge a suitable “handbag” book by its width rather than its content or else risk strain on the back and neck as your books drag you down (physically, never mentally!).

Travel Woahs
You’ve packed for a holiday and you lift your suitcase off your bed and … woah … what’s the excess baggage policy again? It is fair to say that ereaders have made travelling for the avid reader a lighter experience, but for the bibliophile who insists on travelling with books … well … let’s just say that a ratio of three books to every pair of shoes is probably fair … right?

Wear them with pride and reflect on the lessons you’ve learnt – don’t caress a book’s edges no matter how inviting they look, never underestimate the sharp bite of the final page, and always – always – treat your books with love so they aren’t tempted to slice you open when you least expect it.

Losing a Day (or a week, or … )
It’s easy to get swept up in a novel as it transports you into a different time and place; your new best friend is the protagonist (or maybe the hero or the villain or the sidekick or the loveable comic relief) and nothing exists beyond the pages of your new world and the life you have in each chapter. But … wait … you have to go to work, your boyfriend wants your attention, your milk expired three weeks ago, your mother is threatening to come over and make sure you’re still alive because you haven’t answered her calls for three days. Oops. Books can break the time-space continuum. Beware.

Join a library, buy second-hand books, or take advantage of your friends and trade books when you can – a voracious reading habit can be debtly, especially when you’re armed with a credit card and get free delivery to your doorstep.

Bibliophiles aren’t likely to take over the world any time soon … we’re still in bed reading one more picture, or preoccupied with the release date of the final novel in a current-favourite series. World domination? We’re lucky if we remember to buy milk for our tea and brush our hair on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, reading all the time can be bad for you. If you’re a true bibliophile, reading as you walk from place to place probably doesn’t faze you – there’s an art to it, after all, requiring trained peripheral vision and an intuition for where pedestrian crossings are located and train tracks begin. Without these mastered techniques, however, the roaming reader may end up bruised by all the poles one walks into, or cursed by fellow walkers who have to dodge you between their tweets about the ghastly Walking Read roaming the streets.

Do you have books stacked to such a great height on the bedside table that you actually have to get out of bed to put the book you’re currently reading back on the top of the pile? Be careful! This pile may, at any time during the night, topple onto your head and give you a book-induced concussion (trust me).

Yes, it’s perilous. Books will open up your mind and your heart, and you will come to understand things you never thought possible. You will be exposed to different worlds, unique cultures, fascinating practices, and characters you will love and hate and cry with and scream at. Books will make you a free-thinker – are you ready?

Quick! Warn the others! What did I miss? What are the other dangers associated with bibliophilia?


22 comments on “The Perils of Bibliophilia

  1. Having just returned from a trip I had to laugh out loud at “Travel Woahs”. On the outbound flight I had 2 books in my check-in luggage, one in carry-on. On the flight home, I had FIVE in the suitcase, 2 in carry-on. This also caused much embarrassment when asked if I did any shopping while overseas. “Um, yes,” I squeaked. “I bought…books?”

  2. YES! I love this post! And I have just discovered that working in a bookshop only magnifies these perils. I’m actually doomed! 😛

  3. Amen! Especially to that first one — I’m sure we’ve all been that person at least once in our lives. (Heaven knows how difficult it is for anyone to lure me away from my books…)

    All that aside, would it be okay if I share that second picture on my LTBG Facebook page?

  4. Delicious post, Steff, portraits we can all relate to in one way or another. Well do I remember the grief I used to get for getting stuck into a book – poor R took it personally all the time …

  5. Yes! Fun list, Stef, and all so true. (papercut thoughts, ugh!). 🙂
    – constant drooling over pictures of home libraries in glossy magazines
    – inability to achieve a truly minimalist look in one’s house, and
    – increase in dusting duties

  6. Fabulous post – loved it so much I posted it on Facebook (& I generally keep my FB & WP worlds separate)asI had to share with my book worm friends. I am guilty of all except the paper cuts & unsure why as I’m not delicate with anything. Maybe we can have a party where we all bring our books, a few bottles of wine & a cheese platter & just read…

    • Wow, thanks for sharing it 🙂

      A book party sounds good … we should pick a country and hire out a house for a weekend of binge-reading!

  7. That person at the party who has to sneak off to the bathroom to scribble down some lines from a half-forgotten conversation, that’s totally me. Love the party picture, thinking of books. And what’s so bad about reliving book plots and staying up all night just to finish a book? Nothing. That’s right. Absolutely nothing.

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