Let’s face it, as advice goes, to never judge a book by its cover is up there with the classic ‘don’t look down’.
Hey, it’s okay, we’re all friends here, I’m not passing sentence. I too am guilty of exercising this prejudice. Judging a book by its cover is the literary equivalent of tinder, we browse aisles, even fondle books in a relentless pursuit of ‘the one’; meticulously groping the binding and tracing parchment in our boundless rapture for the printed word.
However, there is a darker side to bookworms than that which initially meets the eye. Who else like me has bequeathed themselves the Dances with Wolves moniker of ‘Sniffer of Books’?
There I said it. Already I feel the weight lifting from my me, despite the bathroom scales protests to the contrary.
Preliminary research would suggest MJ was right and I’m not alone.
We’re a remorseless and elusive bunch who will sniff at will, from a fusty old hardback to a virginal press. There is no book-quet sweeter than that which lies within the collective pages of a book.
Which leads my overactive imagination to ruminate on the possibilities that lay in wait should us bookies ever join forces. It could be the greatest underground movement since Fight Club….the first rule of Book Club is, you do not talk about Book Club and if this is your first book, you have to sniff!
From personal experience I find it prudent to nurse your habit covertly in public; I once was politely requested to move from a display of a nationwide bookseller after being caught brazenly inhaling the then top 10 and now the shame haunts me like Sister Unella. Whenever I visit that particular branch I transform into a modern day Mrs Potatohead, opting for a rotation system of disguises.
Another observation I have noted is that we tend to be hoarders on account of our ever expanding TBR piles – I have books in places no literary work should ever endure.
Just imagine a world where bookies infiltrated the mainstream. When walking past a construction site instead of a lurid request for a display of décolletage, gentlemen shouted with enthusiasm #ShowUsYourBooks!
We can be risktakers too – recently for instance I bathed whilst reading!!! Honestly, I laugh in the face of danger; even if the whole time my internal Monica Gellar was trembling with fear at the humidity!
But cross us at your peril, for whilst we remain staunchly loyal to our fictional heroes, there is a special place in hell reserved for those that we discover using our precious possessions as coasters, for the page folders and spine creasers.
Books have been my escape route since being a mini person. Back when life was simpler and I couldn’t wait for correspondence to arrive through the letterbox addressed to me (so young, so naïve). Like many others Roald Dahl first stole my heart but then things got rather complicated and I found under the pressure of Mr Grey, my passion for reading waned significantly in my teens and early 20s. Now for clarity, I would like to point out that ‘Mr Grey’ is my pet name for my depression, and not a reference to *adopts seductively breathy voice* ‘Christian’ from the notorious erotic bestselling trilogy. If you’re a fan fair enough, but personally I struggle remembering my password to log on the computer, let alone possess the recall to summons a safe word when I need it most.
Don’t worry, I shan’t bore you with the details. You don’t need to pity me or pop round with grapes and a casserole dish. It just happens that when my head goes south, so does my concentration and passions and all I can do whilst I hunker down and wait out the storm is glance forlornly at my rather crammed shelves, consoling myself that we will be reunited soon.
Because that’s the lovely thing about a story, once designated its typeface and committed to paper, it is obligingly patient. It won’t shame you if you’ve had three biscuits or the whole pack, heckle your penchant for hoodies or scorn your limited wardrobe spectrum of black to dark grey (no one slates Batman); satisfied to simply court your attention from a distance, content in the surety you will return to it once an opportune moment arrives.
What can I say, books are my bag and whatever you cram in yours, whatever your genre and how ever many you squirrel away under the cloak of darkness, nurse your habit with care and turn those pages with pride!
Printed ink is in my opinion the finest form of indelible magic and whatever life throws at you…don’t let the muggles get you down.