The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

Monday, December 7, 2015

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I don't know if you are anything like me, but....

...if you are then a lot people you meet in your daily lives have quite a few assumptions about you based upon your reading habits. After all, not just anyone can make it into the ranks of Bookworms and Booknerds. It takes a special skill set to be accepted as one of us.

Not too long ago, a coworker of mine basically accused me of being a shy loser with no friends because I liked to read books on my phone during my work break.

Never mind that...
  • ...most of the people who go on break when I do, stick with their own clique and/or do not speak the same language as me. (Really, it's high school all over again.) 
  • ...the people at my job I could claim as a friend are the people I work with in my department and therefore do not break at the same time. 
  • ...we only get a half hour lunch break and by reading on my phone I can keep an eye on the time. (That includes the five minutes or so that it takes to stand in line and get food.)

The comment annoyed me greatly.

I have plenty of friends and acquaintances. Maybe I cannot claim as many as others can, but who really wants three hundred Facebook friends full of people they loathe anyways? And maybe I don't share my life story full of all the stupid things I've done over the weekends. Professionalism. If I wouldn't walk up to the CEO of my company and tell him something, I'm not going to tell you at work.

I was prepared to let the comment drop, because I knew the person was a bit on the social clueless side, and I know he didn't mean it to hurt or anger me.

Then I started thinking about all the assumptions people, including my own family, have made about me and my fellow bookworms because we read.

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I laugh at this.

Unless you are reading out loud to yourself or someone else, if you're not quiet while reading, you're doing it wrong. How are we supposed to get emotionally invested in a story if we're not focused on the words?

Besides, these people have obviously never seen us in our natural environments with others of our species. 

We may be quiet in libraries, but with friends or at gatherings we can be quite loud. BookCon was so noisy and crowded with my fellow readers, that it sent me into a claustrophobic panic attack.

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I smirk at this.

According to Google, a nerd is defined as"a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious." While a geek is defined as "an unfashionable or socially inept person," and interestingly, in a disturbing way, as "a carnival performer who performs wild or disgusting acts."

Maybe we are, maybe we aren't. (Not the carnival part of course, and if you are that, then I don't care to know.) Just because someone understood some vague occult reference, does not make them a fan of it.

Bookworms are well read individuals from all sorts of backgrounds and social groups.

And "lacks social skills?" Have you ever talked with a fellow booknerd on twitter or met them as a signing? I think we've master basic human etiquette.

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I nod at this.

Of course we are smart, that's what reading does to people. It teaches them new vocabulary, opens their minds to new ideas and cultures, and it fuels our imaginations.

A well written book can teach me how to pick a lock, hot wire a car, tend a wound until advance medical care can be sought out, or navigate a city I've never been to. Because a great author will have done their homework and filled the books with facts.

And sometimes, bookworms pick up nonfiction books for the fun of it too. How many 'how to' books have you read in your lifetime?

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I scoff at this.

If you pick any popular bookworm on twitter, say my snarkdom hero queen Cait (@paperfury) and the always super nice Kristen (@kris10MFAF) and take a look at their number of followers you will find out just how antisocial we really are. (2506, and 5516 respectively.) Then take a look at the number of tweets they have.

Yeah, that clearly proves bookworms are antisocial and have no friends. The relationships we form are all in our overactive imaginations. 

And a word of advice, don't call a bookworm antisocial or they'll sic their dragons on you.

Paper Bindings - The Top Five Assumptions About Readers That I Encounter All The Time

I roll my eyes at this.

'Can you ____? Will you____?' Let me give you non-readers this bit of advice: If a bookworm agrees to do something with a book in their hand, the conversation never happened and any agreements reached shall hereby be declared void.

That aside, we may be a non-confrontational sort of people, but I have seen the book blogger community rally for one of their own. I have seen book lovers treat their books like a second child. Go ahead and spill coffee on that borrowed book, it's your soul on the line.

Bookworms are not pushovers, we are truly bookdragons and will defend our territory when angered.

Did I miss any major bookish assumptions? Have you ever been in a situation where someone directed their book related assumptions at you? What did you do in response?


  1. This made me laugh! Because several of those assumptions fit me! I am antisocial and I consider myself to be a geek. Of course, the interpretation of geek I go with is someone that shows unabashed enthusiasm for a certain topic. Mine being books. Fun post! :)

    1. I will never forget the day I was watching America's Secret Slang where they were talking about geek/nerd/etc. And oh my, those words can be cruel and terrible now, but they were so horrible in the past. I like my sheltered definitions.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. You go girl! Maybe the person who made that comment is just insecure because of their lack of desire to read and wish they read something of more substance than twenty Buzzfeed articles a day. Sure, some of those assumptions apply, but that's not just for bookworms, those can be applied to anyone. It's called personality traits, and they don't define an entire group of people. I lived with a bunch of engineers in college and those five assumptions fit certain individuals in certain combinations. Not everyone possesses all five traits. It just depends on the person.

    1. Right? I always love it when some judges me because I read and the only thing they've read recently was the TV guide. I don't like stereotypes and assumptions. They are true until they are not and when they're not, they are always over the top.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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