In today’s Book and Brew takeover, Grace Olivia Parry talks us through a day in the life of a book lover. It’s harder than you think.
Most days, I never really know whether being a lover of books is a blessing or a curse.
Don’t get me wrong, I love books and I always have, but sometimes, the passion can be exhausting, frustrating and mind blowing, all at once.
I guess it all started when I was a child. I’d read and read and read until I was too tired to read any more. I’d record every single thing I’d read (dates and times included) and happily skip to the library when it was time to exchange that week’s books for six more.
As a child, it was a blessing. I read what I wanted, when I wanted and it was all a dream.
Then, it got harder. Along came A-Levels, required reading lists and worse, textbooks on everything from business to healthcare. Not to mention university!
It isn’t always that great when you’re reading outside of your favourite subjects, but as an avid reader, you read on through it anyway.
And now? Well, now takes me on to something entirely different.
Now, a day in the life of a book lover can please you, tease you and tax you – depending on day in question.
But I’m sure you’ve been there – you’re reading this after all. You know the days I’m talking about and the scenarios in particular.
One morning, you wake with your favourite read and you feel blessed to have it, to be touched by it and to enjoy the journey the author is taking you on.
Then, you load up your favourite social media app and it all changes. Suddenly, it’s not enough. That once high level of contempt you were once feeling has been shattered. Unworthiness has taken its place.
Seeing books on social media can be torturous. My Amazon basket is sheer proof. As a book lover, we see, we want, we find, we buy – or we save for later, depending on how our to-be-read (TBR) pile is currently looking.
And that’s another thing. These TBR piles just get out of hand when you’re a book lover. What should an average Joe read a week, or a month? What do their TBR piles look like? Four, maybe five books stacked up in total? I’d love for mine to look like that. It’s currently at 18!
When you spot books you’ve never seen before, read book reviews and find out about new releases, all hell breaks loose. Your reading list increases and your organisation goes right out of the window.
Thought you’d finish the Bronte and move right on over to Burton’s latest novel? Wrong, something right up your street just got released and now there’s chaos written all over your TBR pile.
As a book lover, it’s second nature to find fellow book lovers in life and online. Again, at first, you think it’s wonderful – a friend you can share with. But then, your bookshelves and bank balance start to make you think otherwise.
Others that read like you do, like the same books as you and share the same tastes can make or break your day.
One minute you’re reading the news and the next, a text message or notification comes through and you’re heading straight to the Amazon app or your nearest Waterstones to check out their recommendation.
It’s bittersweet and it never ends.
And then you have the not-so-normal behaviour of a book lover. The kind that really shows you mean business: the back-ups plans.
I keep a Waterstones gift card in my purse at all times. It’s never been used. My Amazon account has a permanent gift card balance. It fluctuates, but it’s never at zero.
I also keep a small float of loose change in one compartment of my purse that’s known as the second-hand slot. It’s there for vintage book browsing only and it is to be used in second-hand book stores – no exceptions.
I do it because I like to know that if something, anything, went wrong and I suddenly ran out of money to spend on books, I’d be covered.
Crazy? Maybe. But as a book lover, keeping your mind engaged in storytelling is all that matters.
Being a book lover is exciting, nourishing, fantastic and draining, but I wouldn’t want to be any other way. How some looks at stamps, I look at Hemingway. How some spend on beer, I spend on books. And I wouldn’t change that fact for the world.
Grace Olivia Parry is a writer, blogger and all round lover of words. She reads a lot, writes a lot and talks a lot. Check out her blog Words by Grace.