Reading can be a bit of a solitary activity. Most book lovers spend hours upon hours in bed/on the subway/in a bathtub, buried deep in the fictional realm. So when we finally emerge back into the real world, it's nice to have a supportive circle of friends who we can harass about reading our favorite books. And there are a few things that every single book-lover has said to their friends.
As book-lovers, we brand ourselves as quiet and intellectual. We shake our heads at the hardcore sports fans, the indie rock enthusiasts, and the cinema snobs. And yet, when it comes down to it, we're just as guilty of being motormouth fanatics. We lecture our friends on the relative virtues of e-readers vs paper books, we muse on the cultural stigma against fanfiction, and we need to talk through every major character death in every series we read. We harangue our friends who don't read as much, and we constantly beg book recommendations off of our friends who read more (as much as we hate to admit that anyone reads more than we do).
So here's a big shout out to all the friends of book-lovers who put up with us and our obsessions. And here are some of the things that every reader is guilty of saying to their friends:
1. "You HAVE to read this!"
Finishing a great book is an emotional roller coaster. On the one hand, you're sad because now the book is over and you'll probably have to wait days before it's acceptable to reread it. On the other hand, you're all hopped up on adrenaline, and you must immediately contact a friend and cajole them into reading the book as well. Because you MUST have someone to talk to about the end of Life of Pi, or you're worried that you'll develop some kind of ulcer from pent-up enthusiasm.
2. "Have you read it?"
Your friends love you. They do. But it's possible that they are starting to dread your inevitable question of "Have you read this?" Because they know that if they haven't read it, you will try to make them read it. And even if you don't try to make them read it, you will inevitably start moping because none of your friends have read Saga yet, when you know they would love it.
3. "Have you finished reading it yet?"
This question may sound similar, but it isn't always a simple, "Hey, finish this book so we can talk about it!" This is usually code for, "Please finish my book and return it to me, you've had it for three months," OR, "You said I could borrow that book when you're done, but you're taking forever." Either way, your friend knows exactly what you mean. And, if they are also a book-lover, they will probably remind you of the time you borrowed their One Hundred Years of Solitude for over a year and returned it with a ketchup stain.
4. "Let’s hang out at the bookstore/library/coffee shop with all those books!"
By now, your friends know that if they let you pick the hang out spot, you will steer them into your favorite independent book store, and they will have to endure your endless hints at what books you want for your upcoming birthday. Luckily, your friends have probably accepted by now that friendship with you involves a lot of reading while drinking coffee, and reading all the funny bits out loud to one another.
5. "I think I’ll just stay in tonight, I’m tired…"
Your friends know by now that when you're "not feeling too good," or "just too tired to go out," you're not really going home to sleep. You're going home to stay up all night finishing your book. Even if you actually are sick. You're 100% ditching them, your real life human friend, for fictional characters. And they're OK with it, which is why they're your friend in the first place.
6. "I mean, the movie was fine, but in the BOOK…"
Every book-lover has gone off on at least one unprompted monologue on why the TV show/movie/Broadway musical wasn't quite like the book. Or rather, why it utterly desecrated everything the book stood for, and why every creative change made was a catastrophic error, etc and so forth (I'm looking at you, The Golden Compass movie). Your friends are probably used to talking you down from your anti-movie frenzy.
7. "NO SPOILERS!"
If your friend has ever dared to talk about the end of a book that you haven't finished yet, you've probably screamed this in their face and then sprinted wildly in the other direction. And I can't be the only one who's only on the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire right now, which means I am forced to shriek and cover my ears every time my friends try to talk about the TV show.
8. "Can I have my book back?"
This is only when things grow dire. When asking, "So, how far in the book are you?" several dozen times has utterly failed. That's when you need to ask, point blank, if you can have your book back (Mini, if you're reading this, please give back my David Sedaris collection). Lending out a book is a perilous activity. You have to weigh how much you value your friendship against how much you want to see your book again.
9. "You like that book?! I like that book!"
This isn't something you say to your friends so much as something you say to an acquaintance who then immediately becomes your best friend. There's nothing like finding that one person who is also a complete nut for the same obscure author or book series that you are (at long last, someone who can give you well-informed feedback on your head-canons).
10. "Will you come with me to this book signing to make sure I don’t do anything weird?"
A true friend is one who know when to hold you back. That is, when to prevent you from weeping/throwing up on your favorite author. That's why you need to drag a friend to every book event you attend, because if you do not have someone to control your actions you might spend your entire life's savings on signed books.
11. "Which Hogwarts house would each of our friends be in?"
As a book-lover, you have an inborn duty to sort all of your friends into Hogwarts houses (and to decided which of the Bennet sisters you'd all be, and which District you'd all live in, and which clan of cats from the Warriors novels you'd belong to). Luckily, you have your other friends to weigh in on whether Hannah would be a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor (or maybe she's a Gryffindor primary, with like just a hint of Ravenclaw?).
12. "What’s it about? Here, why don’t I give you my 20 minute synopsis…"
Ok, so maybe you don't literally say this as a book-lover. But you've probably done this. As we all know, the true test of friendship is whether or not you can stay interested while your friend describes a book to you in great detail. But by now, surely all your friends must understand exactly what they're unleashing when they ask you "What's it about?" So go ahead and blab on about the books you love. They've brought this upon themselves.
Images: Columbia Pictures, Giphy (14)