Sometimes it seems that the only thing book lovers can agree on is that we're all obsessed with reading. Sure, book lovers have tons of weird habits that non-readers don't understand but there are many things we just don't get about our fellow book lovers, too. Beyond that, everyone seems to have an opinion, and not a single one of us is afraid of expressing it. Yes, we all discuss series, plots, characters and what our favorite authors are saying on twitter. And those debates can certainly rage on. Who is shipping who? Who loves a cover redesign, while another person despises it? Who couldn't stand the way a series ended, while another person loved every minute? We're used to dissecting, discussing and arguing over our shared favorites.
But there are lots of other bookish things we can argue over, too, and these can get far more personal. Why would you buy books when you can get them from the library? Who in their right mind would rather see the movie before reading the book? And why, for goodness' sake can you not use a bookmark to hold your page instead of bending the corners down? Who knew books could be such a hotly contested subject? Well, we did, of course, and we compiled a list of the top fifteen things that all book lovers argue over below. Let's just promise to fight clean, shall we?
1. Re-Reading Books
To reread or not to reread, that is the question most book lovers struggle over. With so many new books being released every week, and TBR piles stacked to the roof, who has time to reread books they've already read? Still other book obsessives are totally down for the reread, whether to help them get out of reading slumps, provide some self-care with comforting, familiar books, or just pure enjoyment in revisiting favorite characters and worlds. After all, as Oscar Wilde once said, "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."
2. How We Organize Our Shelves
Alphabetized, by color, by size, by author, by publisher, no system at all... there are countless ways to organize a book collection and everyone thinks that their way is the right way. How many times have you cringed when you walked spotted a friend's shelves and could not believe that they had their books organized into a rainbow and not into a painstakingly methodical system of publisher, author, publication date? Did you maybe argue about it a little? Yeah, we've been there.
3. Original Cover Vs. Movie Tie-In Edition
This is a big one. Some people get hives just looking at a movie tie-in edition of one of their favorite books and will openly judge anyone who doesn't feel the same, while other readers couldn't care less what the cover looks like, so long as the story inside is the same. This is a debate that can get pretty emotional, as most readers who loved the book before the movie are already terrified that the adaptation won't live up to their expectations...you can't take their beloved covers, too! In the end there is a market for both versions, though we are not above giving some side-eye to those on the opposite side.
4. Reading The Book Before The Movie
Does it really matter whether we read a book before or after we see the movie adaptation? Apparently, it super matters, at least to book lovers. Most people cringe at the idea of someone who has only seen the movie version of a book, or who decided to throw caution to the wind and see the film before they cracked open a page. Other readers don't really care, knowing that they will get to both eventually, and that they will compare them to each other anyway, regardless of which they consumed first. Just don't mention that in line for the next big book to movie blockbuster...it may start a riot.
5. Skipping Ahead To The Last Chapter
Some readers love starting the book by reading the last chapter. They say that it keeps them from rushing through a book just to find out the ending, so that they can stay fully invested in the story as it moves along and fully enjoying it. Other readers could not imagine spoiling themselves this way, even covering the last page of a chapter with their hands so that their eyes don't accidentally rove over it until they've gotten to it. Who's right? Who's wrong? Who knows.
6. Hardbacks Vs. Paperbacks
While there are many readers who don't care what form their books come in so long as they get to read them, there is a small but outspoken amount of book-lovers who can debate the merits of hardback versus paperback all day long. Hardbacks are more durable and look better on a book shelf. Paperbacks are cheaper, easier to hold while reading, and don't take up as much space. At the end of the day, a book is a book, and whatever form you choose to read it in is up to you. But that doesn't mean we don't love arguing the merits of our side any chance we get.
7. Lending Books
While most of us just can't help talking about the books we love with anyone who will listen, there is a large group who just cannot, ever, let their books leave their sight. Even trusted friends and family are not trusted quite enough to let them leave your house with your favorite book. Other readers can't understand how you couldn't push your favorite books on as many people as possible, letting their books be swapped from person to person with no real fear of never getting it back. Will these two groups of readers ever understand each other? Probably not.
8. Making Notes In The Margins
This is probably one of the biggest debates among readers. There are some who cannot read without a pen or pencil in hand, underlining, marking up and making notes. They just can't imagine keeping their books pristine, and feel like they haven't fully absorbed a narrative without putting some work in. On the other hand there are the neat-freaks who are beyond precious about the way they treat their books. They don't crack the spines, they don't keep the dust jackets without tears or scratches, and don't even think about bringing a pen anywhere near their books. Can being obsessive about the state of your books get a tad annoying? Maybe. But it's a small price to pay for a perfect collection.
9. Dog-Ear Or Bookmark
Yeah, people get very picky about whether or not to dog ear their pages or use a book mark. This can be a very different debate to the writing in the margins issue, because even some readers who like to keep their books perfect have been known to bend a page here and there. But there are those who are next level when it comes to this and even a single bend on a single page could drive them absolutely bonkers. Other readers, even those who would never write in a book, have absolutely no problem with a little dog ear here and there. But, hey, as long as we can keep our hands on our own books we'll all be fine.
10. Working Through The Classics Or Just Reading What You Love
There are some readers who insist on going through lists of 100 Books To Read Before You Die or 50 Must-Read Classics. They can't imagine not understanding every literary reference ever. Still other readers could not care less about books that they are "supposed" to read, and simply fill their libraries with books that they want to read and are excited about, with absolutely no guilt whatsoever. If you've ever judged someone for not having read Pride & Prejudice or To Kill a Mockingbird... well, you know what side you're on.
11. How Much Reading Is Enough Reading
With booktube, bookstagram and Goodreads challenges galore, the amount of books we read in a month or a year are on display now more than ever. Some people just don't feel satisfied unless they can read 100 books in a year. Others are more than content with 25. For some it's all about the number, and they'll even specifically add lots of short reads to their TBR to hit it, while others go with their emotions, picking up whatever reads strike their fancy, spending months reading a super long biography or going on a reread binge. And we just can't help but argue with each other about this between reads.
12. Getting Rid Of Books
While some readers are more than capable of keeping their book collection pared down to only their very favorites and their TBR stack, others cannot imagine getting rid of their books. Even books that they didn't necessarily like get to stay, because they just can't imagine parting with them. Of course, to each his own, but if you were someone who needed some help un-hauling, we've got some unconventional ways to keep your home library in check.
13. Reading Books For Kids
While some book lovers read books across the spectrum and will gladly put their nose between the pages of anything, some people just cannot imagine spending time reading books intended for children. Those who do read them would argue that seeing through the eyes of a child is incredibly important for adults, especially considering everything that kids these days go through. Not only that, but they get much more enjoyment out of the optimism and hope that these books provide as adults than they might have as kids. But those who choose to read only adult fiction would argue that taking the time away from their TBRs to read middle grade is just a waste of their precious reading time.
14. How Many Books To Pack
There are two camps of book-lovers: ones who can't imagine going anywhere, especially a trip, without a book or two; and ones who can't imagine going without at least ten books. One might be boring, they might want to switch between an adult and a middle grade, and they've been meaning to read that long memoir for ages, and when else are they going to get so much uninterrupted reading time? Get people from these two different camps to pack for a trip together and just wait. There will be at least a couple of minutes of heated debate, trust us.
15. How Many Books We Buy And Where We Buy Them
Library verses book store verses e-reader... a debate that had raged on for years. Some people are adamant that bookstores need to be protected and supported and that anyone who buys their books from an e-reader is not a real book lover (yeah, some people get really serious about this.) Other people can't understand how people can spend so much money on books every month (not to mention have so much space to put them) and think that the library is the best place to get your books. As long as we're all reading, though, this argument is more about personal preference than anything else.