Yes, it's true. As unlikely as it might seem, it's possible to be a rabid book lover and date another living, non-fictional human being. You just need to lay down a few ground rules, so they don't do anything sacrilegious like talk to you while you're reading. So, if you need some simple guidelines to pass along to bae, here are a few tips for dating a book lover.
After all, book lovers make great dates. Our loose grasp on reality often translates into inventive date night ideas, sweeping romantic gestures, and endless book recommendations. It doesn't take much more than a nice hardcover and a cappuccino to win us over. But, if you're a book lover, you know that it can sometimes be a struggle to find someone who truly gets you. You've probably found yourself on a date or two with someone who "doesn't read that much," or someone who feels comfortable telling you that all your favorite authors are trash (and then they lecture you on the virtues of Bukowski until you pretend to get an urgent text).
Every once in a while, though, you go on a date with a person who you actually like and who actually likes you. And that's when you pull out your laminated print-out of tips for anyone who wants to love a book lover:
1. No talking when they’re reading
Reading time is sacred. Unless you are in grave immediate danger, you are not to interrupt your S.O.'s reading session. They're not trying to avoid you, they're just trying to squeeze in one more chapter before something comes along to keep them from reading. Questions such as "What are you reading?" or "What's it about?" or "Are you seriously reading that again?" will not be tolerated.
2. Respect fictional crushes
They don't really wish you were Mr. Darcy or Hermione Granger. So try not to take it too personally when your book-loving partner gets all flustered over a fictional character—they still like you. They just need you to understand that they can like you and have strong feelings about Shadow from American Gods.
3. Books are always an acceptable gift
When they say, "I don't have any more room for books!" they mean that they need to buy a new bookshelf, not that they need to own fewer books. You are always welcome to give them books. Just make sure that you're not giving them a book they've already read, because then they'll realize that you don't memorize everything they tell you about their extensive reading habits.
4. NEVER admit to liking the movie better than the book
Look, I get it. I'm sure there's at least one person out there who legitimately enjoys the movie Jurassic Park more than the book. But you must never let your special someone know that you're one of those heathens who very occasionally prefers the movie to the book (or, if you have to break the news, soften the blow with some flowers or chocolates).
5. Return the books you borrow
Any book lover you date will be happy to lend you one of their books. But if you don't read it and return it right away, they'll start to get antsy. They've probably been burned before by friends who "borrowed" a book and then promptly moved to another country. Don't add to their trust issues, just read the book and give it back before they work themselves into a frenzy.
6. No dog-eared pages or throwing books across the room
Every reader is different. But most readers will want you to treat their books with respect. In fact, they'll probably want you to treat all books with respect. Don't dog-ear pages or drop books in the bath or hurl them out the window in anger. Your book lover will take it the wrong way.
7. It’s ok: you don’t have to read every book they recommend
If you date a book lover, they're going to recommend books to you. A. Lot. Of. Books. At first you'll probably be all, "Great, I'll definitely read this!" But at some point you'll realize that they are recommending books faster than you or any other human could possibly read them. You don't have to read every recommendation. Your sweetheart understands that there are only so many hours in a day.
8. But you should read the most important books they recommend
I know, sometimes it's hard to tell when they're recommending a book they really, genuinely want you to read. But when it's their favorite book (or, at least, in their top 50), then it's time to hunker down and give it a shot. They'll appreciate your effort, even if your opinion on the book isn't exactly the same as theirs.
9. Reading out loud is always romantic
Reading out loud isn't just for kids! If you're tired of your romantic partner disappearing for hours on end to hang out with fictional people instead of you, why not suggest reading aloud to each other? Or cuddling while listening to an audiobook? Book lovers NEED their reading time, but they can be flexible about reading style.
10. Be prepared to comfort them after fictional tragedies
Saying, "But it's just a story!" isn't going to cut it. When they're sad about books, you have to be there to tell them it's ok. And you have to take their tears seriously, even if they're crying over the death of a fictional person and/or dog. Usually the best defense is to immediately hand them a new book, full of brand new and totally alive characters.
The quickest way to a book lover's heart is to love books. You don't have to love the exact same genre, and you don't have to read quite as much as they do, if it's not your style. But if you can hold your own in a literary conversation, there's a better chance that they'll fall head over heels for you. And then you just have to worry about storage for all those books they keep giving you as gifts.
Images: Warner Bros., Giphy (12)