There is nothing better than your favorite book. The one that you’ve read ten times, where the binding is worn and torn, the pages are soft from use and maybe there are even some notes in the margins and a tear stain or two marking those heart-wrenching pages you hate to love so much.
It’s books like these that keep readers coming back for more, to fulfill their desire for adventure, fantasy, history, knowledge or anything that you could possibly want to know more about. If you’re like me and want to know a little bit about everything or crave the escape of a good story, then you’ve probably done a few things on this list.
1. You feel like you’ve traveled to places you have never even been to, because as an avid reader, it’s easy to become so absorbed in the detailed descriptions of other cities, parties and buildings that it’s hard to believe you’ve never actually visited there. You’ve experienced the lives of hundreds of characters, you know their homes, their local foods, their families, their feelings, their deepest desires and so much more. I believe George R.R. Martin sums it up best: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
2. You’ve gone an entire day without eating or drinking, because you didn’t want to waste even a second of the story to get up and make some food. Or, if you’ve done this in the past and learned from your mistake, you now know to set up your reading station with water bottles, caffeinated drinks and various snacks to hold you over until you reach the end of the story.
3. You’ve become irrationally angry at people who try to have a conversation with you when you’re nose deep in a new book (seriously, can’t they see you’re busy?). It’s just plain rude. The library is a no-talking zone for a reason, so if I have a book out, that’s exactly what I want—no talking.
4. You’ve no doubt pulled an all-nighter because you got distracted reading “just one more chapter,” even though you’re painfully aware that you have an essay due tomorrow, which of course you didn’t start yet.
Okay, but hear me out with this one, there’s no way you’d be able to focus on your essay if you put the book down without finishing it—you’d just be constantly wondering what happens next in your favorite character journey—so, either way, that essay’s not getting done until the sun comes up.
5. You’ve moped around all day because something bad happened to one of your favorite characters in the story, or worse, there’s an unexpected character death. It’s only natural to develop an attachment to different characters throughout the stories, and as you learn more about them, you begin to feel their pain with them. *For those of you who haven’t read the “Harry Potter” series, skip the rest of this point.* I mean, how was I supposed to go on with my normal daily routine knowing that Dobby dies protecting Harry and his friends in the seventh book? I felt like someone ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it. J.K. Rowling, you are a terribly, wonderfully, cruel woman.
6. Your friends think you’re crazy because, on more than one occasion, they’ve caught you mumbling (or yelling) to yourself phrases like, “No oh my god what are you doing! You’re so stupid! Stop it!” “You’ve got to be kidding me,” or the all too painful, “Just kiss already, everybody knows you’re in love except you two!” Sometimes you just can’t help yourself and you need to express your frustration with the characters’ actions out loud, and if your friends hear the book slam into the wall once or twice, they really won’t be all the surprised either.
7. You are no stranger to a stiff neck and an achy back; sitting in one position for six hours isn’t exactly the best thing you can do for your body, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the things we love. Here’s a quick tip to avoid the post-reading pains: Some light stretching or yoga, before and after, you read your book (and potentially during, if you can find the strength to put the book down) will work wonders on your muscles, and you’ll thank yourself later.
8. Your idea of fun is going to the nearest bookstore alone (or perhaps with a close friend) and browsing thought your favorite section, picking out seven books, reading the first chapter of all of them and then feeling compelled to purchase every single one of them because you need to know what happens next.
You return to your dorm room with a giant Barnes and Noble bag and an empty wallet, shoot your roommate a “yes, I’m sorry I did it again, don’t hate me” smile, while she rolls her eyes, completely unfazed by your behavior. You’ve don’t this more times that you would care to admit, and your roomie now knows that you’re definitely eating in tonight, because there is no way she could pry you away from your new treasures, oh, and you also spent your whole paycheck on new books.
9. All of your books hold a special place in your heart, and even though you need to make some room for a few new additions, you can’t simply get yourself to throw away the old ones. People may tell you that you have a problem, but it’s just that you never know when you might want to reread a book, so if you get rid of it, then you would have to go all the way to the bookstore purchase it again. So essentially, you’re just saving yourself money in the long run (or, at least that’s what you tell yourself) because you know if you have to return to a bookstore, you can’t just come home with one.