15 Slightly Embarrassing Habits That All Book-Lovers Share

The CW
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Every book-lover loves books in their own particular way. Some book-lovers are intensely neat and orderly about their books, shelving them in a specific order and never dog-earring a single page. Others simply love their books until they dissolve in a beloved pile of tattered, water-stained pages (I have literally had a book's binding give out while I was reading it on the subway). But, whether you're a die-hard fiction fanatic or a devoted nonfiction fan, and whether you have your own private library or simply a giant nest of book pages that you sleep in at night, every book-lover has a few key things in common. Here are several habits that all book-lovers have.

When I say "habit," I'm talking about the things you do without even thinking about them. For example, you don't plan to buy a bunch of shiny new hardcovers at the bookstore, bring them all home, and then immediately start re-reading The Golden Compass for the umpteenth time. You don't mean to start lecturing people on George R.R. Martin's superior world-building techniques every time someone brings up HBO's Game of Thrones. And you certainly didn't intend to stay up all night reading the new John Green book when you had that important meeting in the morning. But as a true lover of books, sometimes you just can't help it:

Smelling books

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Look, books smell good! That's just a fact! I don't know if it's the paper or the ink or the author's hopes and dreams, but books (especially old books) smell like comfort and knowledge and overstuffed armchairs and crackling fireplaces. Every book-lover has to take a whiff now and then.

Spending all of your money on books

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You might be frugal when it comes to unimportant things, like rent or groceries, but books are serious business. Very few book-lovers are able to enter a bookstore without buying a book or five. And I'm not saying that buying books is a bad thing, but here's a PSA to save both your wallet and your crowded bookshelves: the public library is still giving out books for free, guys. Free.

Creating a lengthy TBR list

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You're already running out of shelf space. You already have at least ten books on your nightstand, just waiting to be read. And yet, here you are, writing out a meticulous list of the several dozen books you can't wait to read, because you can't stand the thought of ever running out of reading material.

...and then re-reading an old favorite anyway

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No matter how long your TBR list, and no matter how many new books you've just purchased, no book-lover can resist the siren song of the re-read. You can't just let your favorite book languish, un-read, all year long! You have to shove all those "To Be Read" books aside and pick up Pride and Prejudice again, because half the joy of reading is re-reading.

Getting extremely cozy when reading

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If pressed, a book-lover will find a way to read anywhere. Trains, buses, math class, you name it. But, if you have the time to sit down and leisurely read in your very own home, you will instantly create an ultra-comfortable warren of pillows and tea. Or a warm bath with scented candles. Or even just your good ol' reliable bed.

Comparing the movie to the book

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You just can't help it. As soon as your friends start talking about the new It movie, or the latest season of Game of Thrones, you are compelled by unseen forces to say, "Well, in the book..." and then explain a vital point that the adaptation got wrong while everyone else's eyes glaze over.

Judging someone else’s bookshelf

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As book-lovers, we try not to judge a book by its cover... but we absolutely judge people by their bookshelves (and we also sometimes judge books by their covers). The first time you go over to a new friend or lover's house, the first thing you do is zero in on that bookshelf, to make sure you're not about to get involved with someone who thinks that Patrick Bateman is just misunderstood, or that Lolita is a beautiful love story.

Reading in unsafe conditions

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Reading while walking. Reading while running. Reading while entering and exiting public transit. Reading while your mom is talking to you. Reading while cooking. Reading while your cat plots her next attack on your toes. Sometimes you just can't put that book down, even if you probably should.

Lying about plans so you can stay home and read

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Sure, you like to go out and be social... sometimes. But most of the time, you'd really rather be at home with your book. And on at least one occasion, you've actually pretended to have plans, just so you could stay in and read (I mean, technically staying in and reading is a plan).

Packing far too many books for a trip

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OK, so you'll be out of town for two days... so you'll probably only need two books, right? But what if you finish them both, or what if you're more in the mood for a historical drama instead of a comedic memoir... you'd better take seven, just to be safe.

Going into far too much detail with book summaries

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Or making too many literary references that no one quite understands. Or just plain talking too much about books. Woe to anyone who asks you "Oh, what's it about?" unless they're prepared for a twenty minute lecture on story structure and why your favorite character would definitely date you if they were real.

Staring at the book you've just finished because you’re not ready for it to be over yet

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Does anyone else start reading all the copyright info when they finish a book? Or the acknowledgments? Or immediately Google the book even though you literally just read it because you're not ready for it to be over? Or, you know, you just start crying. No matter how many times you do it, finishing a book always feels like saying goodbye to all your beloved book-friends.

Starting a new book when you’re in the middle of another book

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Who says you can only read one book at a time? Sure, you might start to mix up a few plot points (there are no dragons in Wuthering Heights, right?), and it might take you a tad longer to finish both books, but there's no reason not to read two (or nine) books simultaneously.

Using receipts/bank statements/nothing as a bookmark

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I'll admit, I'm guilty of dog-earring the odd page. But I'm pretty sure that even the staunch bookmarkers of the world find themselves sticking the odd receipt or business card into their books every once in a while. A few brave book-lovers might even be in the habit of just remembering their page number, which is a next level reading skill that I do not possess.

Pulling an all-nighter just to find out what happens next

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Every book-lover knows what it's like to be lying in bed, bleary-eyed, at three in the morning, unable to put that book down and go to sleep because you need to know what happens next. Yes, you might be exhausted at work in the morning, but it's worth it if you get to finish your book (and then immediately start another one).