15 Struggles All Fiction Lovers Understand

The life of a fiction lover is tough, but rewarding. We're forced to spend hours upon hours every day not reading, before we can finally pick up our book again and return to Hogwarts or Regency Period England or Mars. We have to make those tough decisions, like do I go to sleep before 2 a.m. or do I read just one more chapter? And, as fiction lovers, we have to confront real-life horrors like library late fees and dogeared pages. But it's so worth it, because you just can't beat a great novel or a gripping short story. And there's so much to love about fiction: detective stories, medieval fantasy, edgy sci-fi, historical romance, graphic novels, post-modern angst, books that defy categorization — whatever your favorite genre, we can all agree that fiction is the best.

It's not that we don't love nonfiction things. I mean, where would we be without showbiz memoirs and Serial?But there's something about getting swept up in a fictional story that we just love. And whether you've just started on the shiny new book-of-the-month, or you're finally getting around to that old classic, or you're re-reading that childhood favorite for the umpteenth time (no shame, grown ups, we can enjoy YA novels, too), you understand the fictions lovers' struggles:

1. Having So Many Books On Your Reading List

Every fiction lover knows that feeling: Someone starts telling you about an amazing book, one you just have to read, and you get all pumped about reading it... until you remember the 10 (or 20) other books that you already have on your list. There are just so many books in the world, and only so many hours in a day. But what are supposed to do? Not plan to read all the books we possibly can? That's not very realistic.

2. ...And You Still Want to Re-Read All Your Old Favorites

Look, you want to read all those new books about adult things like failing marriages and whatnot — but you're also bound by law to re-read the Harry Potter books every two years at the very least. For a lot of fiction fans, the re-read is just as sacred as that first read: You've read the book, sure, but now you get to really absorb the book. Or at least, you get to go back and hang out in the Gryffindor common room with your friends again.

3. People Who Talk to You When You're Trying to Read

We all lead busy lives. There's only so much time per day to sit down and enjoy your damn book. But for some reason, other people just love to butt in with their talking. The worst is when they ask you, "what's that book about?" Like, dude, you clearly see me trying to read this book. Why don't you let me read it, and THEN I can tell you what it's about?

4. Cats

Just... cats. We love them (well, most of us do). But cats have no respect for fiction lovers. Cats think that books exist for them to walk all over while we attempt to read. Cats will wait until we are at the most exciting moment in the whole book, and then they will insert their cat-body between our eyes and the pages just to be awful.

5. When People Try to Judge Your Book Choice

You know that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But sometimes other people take it upon themselves to give you their opinion on the book you're reading. Whether it's Twilight or Ulysses, every book has at least one hater out there who's eager to tell you that it's "chick lit trash" or "hipster nonsense." Like those people who don't like Harry Potter. Why are they always so anxious to tell you that they don't like Harry Potter? Let's all just read our own books in peace, man.

6. Lending Books to Friends

We love our friends. We really do. But when we lend them our books, we expect to receive those books back again. In good condition. With no water damage. I can think of at least two of my real-life friends who right now, at this moment, have a book that I lent them (you know who you are). And they have had that book for well over a year. And there's no end in sight. Please, friends of fiction lovers, return the books we lend you!

7. Making a Literary Reference… That No One Else Gets

We've all been there at least once. You think of the perfect literary reference, but no one else has read the book. So you don't say it. Or worse, you do say it, and everyone just stares blankly at you while you try to explain that it would all make sense if only they had read Larry Niven's Ringworld.

8. Losing Your Place

You pick up your book, ready to dive back into a fictional world of wonder, when your bookmark, seemingly of its own accord, just leaps out from the pages and falls to the floor. Leaving you lost, confused, and totally unsure of which chapter you're up to. Or, if you're a horrible monster like me, you've dogeared so many pages that you keep accidentally opening to the wrong one. Life is hard.

9. Running Out of Shelf Space

Don't look so smug, Kindle people. It's lovely to have bookshelves full of your favorites... but unfortunately, most bookshelves can only hold a finite amount of books. It's a harsh fact of physics. And the more books you own, the less room there is for more books. Maybe this is why fiction lovers need those friends who borrow books and never give them back. So that we don't run out of shelf space and end up suffocating under a pile of books.

10. Running Out of Money

Why must books cost money? Why must they come out in hardcover first? Thank goodness for libraries, or we would all be very poor, very well-read people. Used book stores, libraries, and friends kind enough to lend out books (despite the personal risks) are keeping fiction lovers alive.

11. When the Movie Doesn’t Live Up to the Book

Movies and books are different art forms, of course. And we can't expect a movie to keep every single line from the books, or tell the story in the exact same way. But... did Dumbledore really have to shout at Harry about putting his name in the Goblet of Fire? And sometimes the movie is just so far off the mark you're not even sure the people making the movie read the book (looking at you, The Golden Compass).

12. When Other People Have Only Seen the Movie

C'mon, people! We as a society have accepted that the book is almost always better than the movie. So why must so many people insist on behaving like books don't exist? Besides, good books can be turned into terrible movies. Remember Eragon? Or any adaptation of The Great Gatsby? We should know better by now! Don't judge a book by its movie!

13. Waiting for Sequels to Come Out

George R. R. Martin, you're killing us. Yes, I know that books take *a long time* to *write* or whatever... but it's hard to wait for a sequel. I mean, nothing will ever be as hard as it was to wait for the next Harry Potter book as kids, but it's still tough. We love these character, and now we have to wait years to find out if they live or die? Good thing we have plenty of other books to take our minds off this torture.

14. When Your Favorite Character Dies

And then you just start sobbing on the subway. Or in the coffee shop. Or while secretly reading in the back of the classroom. They might be fictional, but it still hurts when our favorite character bites it. But luckily, in fiction, you can always go back and re-read the parts of the book where they're ALIVE and NOT DEAD.

15. When You Finish a Book… And You Have to Say Goodbye

They say that Victor Hugo used to weep uncontrollably when he finished a book, because it meant that he had to say goodbye to all his beloved characters. (I mean, he wrote some of the longest novels in history, and they're all extremely sad the whole way through but... OK.) And it can be tough to close a book that final time. But it's also a pretty great feeling to finish a book — because then you can start reading another book.

Images: mybookbath/Instagram, Giphy (16)