Being a reader can be tough. Not only do readers face trials and tribulations in their quest to finish as many great books as possible, but non-readers just don’t get it. They can’t even begin to relate, and you’re left wishing your closet would take you to [insert favorite fictional world here], despairing because your favorite fictional hero is, in fact, fictional, and occasionally praying for main characters on accident.
This post is for all the bookaholics out there who need some reassurance that they are not alone. (Tweet this!) If you’ve ever craved a little sympathy, if you want to diagnose your novel addiction, if you just want to hear that you’re not crazy, read on, my reader friend. Read on.
One: Too many books, not enough time.
This is a big one, folks. Of course, you have your favorite authors who are always a must-read. But then friends recommend their top picks, and you see a lovely cover at the bookstore, and really, you should be better at catching up on the classics, and what about nonfiction…and your list of books to be read grows steadily longer, until there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
We feel your pain. But keep adding to that TBR pile, keep buying that series on sale planning to get it someday, keep turning your “office” into a giant sculpture of book stacks, because those are the actions of hope.
And friends, readers should never, ever give up hope.
And all things considered, it’s a good problem to have, so keep that in mind as you stare valiantly up at your mountains of books.
Two: So. Many. Emotions.
As if real life weren’t stressful enough, we readers also heap on the conflict, intrigue, and impossible choices of dozens of fictional characters. Whether it’s a sobbing-by-the-last-page sort of ending or a story so tense that you felt like you might have a heart attack yourself before it was all over, the emotions of reading can be intense. Some books should come with a warning label.
This is really only an annoyance, though, when a non-reader, observing your vicarious emotional breakdown, says something dangerously flippant like “Those people aren’t real, you know” or the dreaded “Um…it’s just a book.”
“Just a book? Try 400 pages of beautifully written angst and agony as these people I love go through trials of all kinds and I barely hang on to hope for a happy ending.”
Sigh. Normal people just don’t get it.
In the category of “do not disturb,” focused readers are second only to hungry, sleeping lions. Friends and loved ones of dedicated bookaholics, you have been warned.
Of course, interruptions can be more than just people. They also include, but are not limited to, obligations, laundry, appointments, meal prep, the need for sleep, work schedules, and laws prohibiting you from reading and driving at the same time.
In other words…real life. So annoying.
Four: Book defacers.
Whether it’s those thoughtless readers who fold over corners to mark their place, punks who treat library books with all the care of a battered old sneaker, or toddlers who think they’ve found a entire coloring book or teething ring between the covers of your latest novel, these people need to be taught a lesson. And quickly. Before you react in violence.
Okay, okay, you get why authors love to leave you breathlessly waiting for the next chapter, turning pages so quickly your hands are soon scarred with papercuts. Maybe you even see the point of an unresolved ending that keeps you counting down days until the next release.
But really, writers, that’s just cruel. Don’t you know the agony you’re putting your readers through?
(Answer, yes, they do. I think most of them get a gleeful satisfaction from it.)
Six: Clueless reviewers.
Say you go to leave a review on Goodreads or a retail site for a book you loved. (Which you should do, because it is one of the best ways to help authors.) And, lo and behold, you see a few glaring one-star reviews for that same novel, completely trashing the most brilliant thing ever written since [Insert Favorite Classic Here].
And, despite your best intentions, you click on those reviews, like a literary rubbernecker who can’t turn away from the mangled crash on the side of the Amazon page.
As you read, your sense of outrage grows. “We couldn’t have been reading the same book!” “This person is absolutely crazy if they think that.” “WHERE IS JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD?”
Your rage is valid…but of course, the best thing you can do is counter that opinion by leaving a glowing review of your own. Don’t engage snobby, uninformed, or just plain nasty reviewers; they’re not worth your time.
Seven: Post-book exhaustion.
Sometimes, this is mental tiredness (see number Two above). Other times…well, let’s just say that looming alarm clock deadlines don’t seem nearly as important when the fate of the relationship, the family business, or the entire world hangs in the balance. Maybe your days of smuggling a flashlight under the covers are over, but the “book hangover” you get after a late night reading can still be brutal.
As you trudge through the rest of the day, though, remember: it was worth it. Reading is always worth it.
Okay, readers, what are some of your biggest reader annoyances? I’m sure I missed some.