Top 10 Ways to Piss Off a Hardcore Book Nerd
On the whole, book nerds tend to be pretty chill people. After all, it'd be hard to sit absorbed in a book for hours on end if you're high strung. But there are some things that make book nerds RAGE. Whether it's fellow readers, publishers, or folks who just don't feel the book love, somebody is always doing something that annoys book nerds.
Of course, some bibliophiles are bothered more by some things than others, but here's a countdown of the most annoying and egregious offenses in my book.
10. Dog-earing pages.
Why? Why. Bookmarks are a dime-a-dozen and can be improvised out of almost anything: napkins, receipts, gum wrappers, paper clips, bobby pins. Or, you could just memorize what page you're on in a dire circumstance. Or text the page number to yourself. Or a friend––I'm sure they'd understand.
Basically, there's most likely a way to avoid dog-earing pages if you really want to.
9. Breaking the book's spine.
This one just kills me. It's not really a thing with hardback books, but I just don't understand folks who read paperbacks and bend the book in half as they read. Why on earth does the front cover need to be bent behind the back cover? WHY.
Damaging the book does absolutely nothing to enhance the reading experience. It just lowers the quality of the book, makes it more prone to pages falling out, and, if you crack the spine enough times in enough places, just makes the title more difficult to read on your bookshelf. No point.
8. Using French flaps as bookmarks.
Okay, so French flaps on a book don't really do anything, but it's kind of a nice touch to gussy up a plain old paperback. But I can't stand it when I see people using them as bookmarks! It's kind of the same principle as dog-earing pages. All using French flaps as bookmarks does is bend your book out of shape and tear shit up. No point.
7. Tearing dust jackets.
Okay, so it's kind of an unspoken rule about reading hardbacks, but unless it's got that plastic covering like libraries use, TAKE THE DUST JACKET OFF WHEN YOU'RE READING. Like, take it off and store it somewhere safe until you're done reading the book, then put it back on as you're putting the book back on your shelf.
I just can't stand a perfectly good dust jacket getting torn up from being in a backpack or other daily hazards. I know some folks believe the dust jacket is there to protect the book, so it's meant to be worn by the book, but I think of it as a piece of art, like a fine art print or something. Plus, if you take the dust jacket off and the book gets beat up, you can put the dust jacket on and it looks new again.
6. Touching naked hardcovers with greasy fingers.
Okay, if you're doing good on #5 and already have a habit of removing the dust jacket, don't screw it up by getting splotches all over the hardcover. I'm totally guilty of trying to read and eat at the same time, but after I saw what my greasy chicken nugget fingers were doing to my books, I had to stop!
Seriously, I started noticing spots on the covers, spots on the pages... everywhere my little grimy hands touched. Lesson learned. If you're planning to eat and read, that's the day to go for a meal that requires utensils.
5. Damaging price stickers and ugly bar codes.
Books are such pretty objects, so I'll never understand why publishers and booksellers insist on fucking them up with ugly stuff. I mean, I understand that they need a way to identify and scan the books, but would it really kill them to just print that info on the inside of the book rather than uglifying a perfectly nice, pretty, new book?? Is that so much to ask?
4. Using books as coasters.
Not gonna lie, if I see someone using a book as a coaster, I'm judging the shit out of them. I've been known to grab someone else's drink, remove it from their book, and use something––ANYTHING––as a coaster to avoid the book having so soak up all that condensation or risk being spilled on. Sure, it's gotten me some weird looks, but it's totally worth it.
And of course, I'm thinking that if they'd use their own book as a coaster, they'd probably do it to mine too! Speaking of which...
3. Bad book borrowers.
This one hits a little too close to home. After one too many bad book borrower friends, I'm pretty choosy about who I lend books to. These days I tend to assume everyone is a bad book borrower until they prove me wrong. To keep from being pissed off every time I see the offender, I just have to accept that I may never get the book back (or back in the same condition), so I'm pleasantly surprised when folks turn out to be good book borrowers.
I'd had folks do everything from keeping the books for a ridiculously long time, never returning them, and returning them damaged. If you want to really piss off a book nerd and possibly even ruin your friendship with them, just do some of the above.
Pro tip: if something bad happens by accident, buy them a new copy and return the damaged copy with it in case it has sentimental value. Super pro tip: book nerds, never never NEVER let someone borrow books that you'd be mad you didn't get back.
2. Being pushy about a book.
The thing about book nerds is that they LOVE books, so they've probably got a towering TBR pile with a zillion books. Book nerds love discussing books with other readers, but they generally hate it when someone practically shoves a book into their hands (or gives it as a gift), then proceeds to ask "did you read it yet? did you read it yet?" at every available opportunity.
Sometimes book nerds don't get around to reading books on their TBR piles for years or they read something immediately after buying it. It just depends on how they're feeling at the time. So to pressure someone into reading a book is awkward because they probably don't want to be rude, but they may not have time or any interest in reading it. It's nothing personal.
1. Making rude assumptions.
Lastly, the worst offense: making rude-ass assumptions. These come in the form of:
"You don't need any more books! Why don't you just read what you have?"
"Why are you still buying books? What's wrong with the library?"
"When are you going to read all these books?"
"You've got more books than you'll ever have time to read."
"Can't you just buy the ebook so they don't take up space?"
"You've always got your nose in a book."
"Why don't you get out and live instead of reading about other people's lives?"
All of these are especially rude because they're assuming 1) that the book lover in question doesn't know how to run their own life (critiquing someone's spending and leisure time––seriously?), and 2) it assumes the person saying these things knows more about what the reader is capable of than they do. If someone wants to spend the entire remainder of their paychecks buying books and they're not asking for anyone else's money to do it, who cares? If someone wants to spend all their free time reading, what is it for anyone else to police?
There you have it! 10 ways to piss off a book nerd. Got any bookish pet peeves not listed here? Share them in the comments below!