If you’re a reader, and I mean someone who is always in the middle of a book, there are just some things you know that non-readers can’t understand. That’s the thing about the bookworm life. You get to exist in the human world, but you also live a thousand different lives between the pages of books.

a phone, pile of books, mug of coffee, and earbuds sitting in the grass with the text "11 Universal Experiences of the Bookworm Life"

I’ve written before about the trials of being a reader, like when you find yourself thinking “I already read that book.”

Books are immersive, and you can’t just passively read one. Well, you can. I mean, I assume that’s how many of us got through doing the reading homework for some of the more boring classes we had to take in school.

But a book you want to be reading can grab you and pull you into a world in a way that no other medium can. You can put your head down one minute and come out of the story hours later a completely changed person.

And that’s a high that the bookworm life is always chasing.

So no matter what you read, there are some things that all readers experience.

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11 Universal Experiences of the Bookworm Life

Sure, all readers read different stuff. But the feelings of readers can be pretty universal. So, with that, let’s take a look at the 11 universal experiences of the bookworm life.

001: You can’t bear to watch the movie adaptation.

There are some books I read and forget, and some books that mean more than just the story to me. And when I hear that those books are going to be adapted into movies, I know that I probably can’t see them.

This was the case with the adaptation of The Giver. That book has meant so much to me, and I’ve had my copy since the sixth grade. Later, as an adult, I found that the writer had written two sequels. And I purchased and read them. They were fine, but those books are no longer on my shelf because they didn’t matter to me the way the The Giver does.

So when I saw the trailer for the movie, I knew I could never see it. I appreciate the adaptation effort. But that story is so much a part of my life that I can’t share it with anyone. Which means that what the story means to me is sacred, and I can’t stomach other interpretations. I’m always happy to chat about it with other readers, but I absolutely will not tolerate anything that comes between me and the story I know. And that basically means no adaptations trying to inject ideas and agendas that sell movie tickets.

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002: You can list your favorite books until someone asks what your favorite books are.

Look. I’ve read a lot. I started devouring chapter books in the second grade and I haven’t really looked back. This means that I’ve probably read more books than I can even remember.

And yeah, I have a ton of books that I consider favorites. Some are favorite comfort reads, some are my favorite book in a series. Others are fav in a genre. But like, is there one book to rule them all? Not really.

And what’s worse is that the question of what your favorite book is always comes up as small talk, and you’re just supposed to respond with a quick answer that makes you seem interesting and intelligent.

WELL GUESS WHAT, EVERYONE!

If I could even remember all the favorite books I’ve ever had, I would seem like a loud and domineering jerk every single time I had this conversation.

(And there’s a non-zero chance that I will scoff at the answer you give to this question. If you’re one of those people who picks a personal development book or a very stuffy classic for this answer, you are getting mocked.)

003: You hate when your non-reader friends gush about whatever mega bestseller is the book du jour.

I’m sorry, Brenda, but just because you read 50 Shades of Grey and The DaVinci Code, it doesn’t mean that you’re a reader. And if you say “Oh, well I guess I’ve always been a reader” when I tell you I haven’t read those books, I may burst into flames.

(Yes, I have read both those books, but long after their popularity had died and just to see what the fuss was about. Reader, the fuss was unwarranted.)

Do I stay away from bestsellers lists? Not always. But there’s a lot of stuff that makes the list that is there because it’s consumable. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it does mean that it’s easy to ingest. And some non-readers make the mistake of thinking a book that you can devour is a good book. Reading something fast doesn’t make it good. It just means it’s like a small bag of potato chips. If that’s what you wanted to eat, then that’s good. But if you’re hungrier than that, you still need more.

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004: You find comfort in book quotes.

If you subscribe to Saturday Morning Donuts, then you know that I have two quotes from The Lord of the Rings that I bring out in trying times. And the times have been rather trying lately, so I even brought one of them out last week.

The thing about the bookworm life that I love is that reading lets you live other lives. And those other lives give you a template for how to deal with your life. I’m not saying I’m some hero about to take a ring to Mordor. Hell, I’m not about to walk that much if I don’t have to.

But I am saying that there is a book quote out there for whatever adversity you happen to be dealing with.

005: You have strong opinions about writing in books, spine cracking, etc.

I love annotating in the margins of the books I read. I like cracking the spine on a paperback. And I refuse to acknowledge the validity of any other way of reading.

And if that admission makes your skin crawl or fills you with rage, please remember books in and of themselves aren’t sacred. It’s the experience of reading them that matters.

006: You give romantic partners a reading list.

When we first started dating, my husband and I gave each other some books to read. I gave him The Giver and The Hobbit. That man made me read all 1,000 pages of Battle Royale.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a great book. But that many pages of details about middle schoolers literally killing each other because their government forces them to do so can be hard to get through.

Even so, we’re still together, so I’m inclined to believe the couple that reads together stays together.

007: Some candles can put you back in the world of a book you’ve read.

I love to light candles when I write and when I read. And there are some candles that remind me of books I’ve read simply because I was burning them the first time I read a book.

So, if you’re wondering what scent pairs best with The All Souls Trilogy, it’s something that smells like rain.

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008: There’s a weird feeling you get in your gut when you finish a really good book.

After I finish a book that I know will really matter to me for years and years to come, I can feel it in my gut. It’s that same sort of weightless feeling you get on a swing set or as you descend the hill on a roller coaster.

It’s like you’ve read the book, but the meaning of the book and the ride it will take you on are just beginning.

009: Your library holds, no matter when placed, always come up at the same time.

I believe this is some sort of larger conspiracy. There is an entity out there that knows I would simply be too powerful if I got my books in a staggered manner that facilitated a comfortable reading pace.

Instead, all the books I put on hold will be available at the same time, meaning I have to grab all of them and read like a fiend. I wouldn’t think much of it, except this happens every week.

Am I putting too many books on hold at once? Mind your own business.

010: You are loyal to one book format.

Sure, you’ll read whatever you can get your hands on. But there’s a special place in your heart for clothbound hardbacks. Or maybe you’re like me and only want the used paperback version with a vintage cover.

Whatever your preference, you are loyal to it 100%. And you look down on those who don’t fall into the same category.

011: You were born with a TBR so long you’ll never tackle it all.

It’s a crime that there are so many damn books out there that I’ll never be able to read.

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What’s Your Favorite Part of the Bookworm Life?

What is one thing you love about the bookworm life? What’s one thing you’d change? If you could, would you make a law so that people who only read the overhyped bestsellers can’t talk to you about books? Do people look at you and say, “She has read too many books?”

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