When loving something with a great passion, it’s only natural to develop a sense of defensiveness surrounding it. We guard our interests almost snottily as we prevent it from being tainted in any way by the common masses. We share an affectionate bond with other kindred spirits as we dare any outsiders to carelessly traipse into our well-nurtured territory simply for the fun of it, without bestowing the amount of respect that it deserves. As bookworms, we take our devotion to our paper gold mines of knowledge seriously. In fact, we’ve grown accustomed to tuning out the world and immersing ourselves in new ones at the crack of a book spine, with only our thoughts, inner reading voice and imaginations for company.
But just like the fine line that stands between being a cat lover and a cat lady, the boundary that separates being a book lover and a book snob is often blurry. Here are a few signs that you might belong to the latter group (which is much more common than you think, take it from us):
1. You’ll never be caught reading anything else other than formidable literary works… If you can help it.
When the heart is weary of its ventures out in the big, bad world, it tends to crave for a more simpler time without the complications of adulthood or the twists and turns of tribulations. During these times, it’s common to seek old comforts such as the world of Beatrice Potter or Enid Blyton where everything is infinite times easier and mistakes are easily remedied. But hell will freeze over and pigs will fly before you’re forced to explain why you’re carrying around a children’s book about talking snowmen who drink hot cocoa, and lazy pixies who live in toadstools.
2. It pains you to admit that there are still important books out there that you haven’t read yet
As bookworms, we all take secret pride at our “book count” i.e. the sheer amount of books that we’ve read, inhaled and dedicated to memory in this lifetime. We won’t boast about it nor will we even mention it (unless you insist on asking), but deep down in our little black book of books we’ve explored is undoubtedly something that we treasure proudly. Needless to say, it’s always a slight bruise to the ego to have to confess that “yes, I do love chick-lit/ literary classics/young adult books but no, I have not read anything by Jojo Moyes/the Bronte sisters/the Divergent series”. Take note that confessions like these are often delivered with a sheepish smile on the outside, and a wail of anguish on the inside as we curse our ineptitude.
3. “What’s it about?”
Every book lover understands the dilemma of having to explain a good book to someone without boring them. Striking the perfect balance requires a certain finesse as we attempt to give it our all while skilfully avoiding any spoilers, yet revealing just the right amount to keep the person hooked. The weight on our shoulders is palpable as we juggle the responsibility of doing the book justice and gaining it a new reader. So do us all book lovers a favour and try not to ask us to review a book for the sheer fun of making small talk and seeming interested. It goes without saying that we take our book reviews very seriously.
4. “Me? Read a mainstream book that everyone else is being told to read at the same time? What is this, Oprah’s Book Club?”
Oftentimes, book snobs find great satisfaction in coming across a good find organically. The same instinct that stops us from asking help from the sales assistant at the book store before scouring the entire place left, right, and centre, also prohibits us from skimming through the “New Arrivals” section. Sure, we’ll spare it a fleeting glance as we walk past. We’ll even nonchalantly pick up a book from the shelf and skim through its blurb on the back. But in the words of one of the living assets of our time Haruki Murakami, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
5. “Don’t open it too wide. Don’t bring it in the toilet. Don’t turn the page too fast-”
Every book snob is familiar with the pang of uneasiness and distress that often accompanies the moment when we’re forced to part ways with a book. Whether we’re lending it to someone or just letting them hold it, there will always be a barrage of instructions as we ensure that our babies are delivered into safe hands. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that we’re selfish or that we’re not crazy about the idea of sharing the love of a great book to someone else. Being able to rave about a book with someone else who loves it just as much is one of the underrated blessings in a bookworm’s world.
But for the love of everything good in this world, if you value your safety and consider your life to be a worthwhile one, just do not, we beg of you, do not fold the corners of our books, or we cannot and will not be held accountable for our actions.
So, are you a book snob?