If you’re reading this, you’re likely a bit of a bookworm. Whether casual or dedicated, there’s no debating – there’s so many different types of reader. Just snooping around at people’s Goodreads Reading Challenge progress makes me gasp – some people had read over a hundred by June, whilst I’m struggling to hit my target of 52 books a year! Yet to other people, me with a measly 38 books under my belt by November is astounding, and they ask me how on earth I find the time.
But what type of reader are you? Perhaps you’re like me – usually get through a book a week and store your books carefully – heaven forbid the covers get damaged! Or maybe you’d read 92 books by February, and your books are thrown into a corner that you’ve kicked over, spilt your tea on, and seen your dog chewing.
Let’s jump in and explore the many varieties of bookworm!
We all know a re-reader! They won’t have read the latest releases when they’re still on the shelves at the bookstore, but ask them what happened in chapter 19 of book 3 of Harry Potter and they can basically recite the whole thing for you. Re-readers aren’t stuck in the past only reading things they’ve already read though – oh no! On the contrary, they still buy new books with the intention of reading them, only to see their to-be-read pile grow to alarming heights as they nestle back down with Little Women for the 65th time!
Similar to the Re-Reader, this bookworm doesn’t necessarily buy what’s decorating the new releases table in their local Waterstones. This bookworm will have their nose stuck in stories from all around the world, possibly from decades ago, and often get frustrated that there’s no one to discuss their newest favourite with! Nah, they might not have read Harry Potter, but they can recommend you a whole raft of 1970s Chinese literature!
The Hype Reader
This reader wanders from new release to new release, reading whatever’s being thrust in their faces in the shops or across Instagram. That’s not to say they don’t have a mind of their own – they just get excited by other bookworms singing the praises of a new book, and have to get on the band wagon and see what all the fuss is about!
The Annual Reader
This bookworm doesn’t really read throughout the year, but when it comes to going on holiday or taking time off work, they devour books for breakfast. They go from 0 books for months to 4 books in a week!
Similar to the Annual Reader, this reader might not think to pick up a book in their free time, but their noses will be nestled firmly in the pages of the latest Lee Child on their train journey to work. Noisy passengers will get a death glare over their pages!
The Law-Unto-Themselves Reader
We all know someone who gives you a slight bit of anxiety when you recommend them a book series, and they say something along the lines of: “Yeah, sounded good, but the first two sounded a bit bland so I’ve started on book 3 – did that guy have beef with what’s-his-face before or something? Seems a bit tense!” *heart palpitations* Why would you tell me this?! My need to know everything means I can’t leap in halfway through the series unless I know the books can be considered standalones (e.g. the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo), but damn, I admire your guts!!
We’ve seen it happen. Or perhaps this type of reader is you! The Dog-Earer is the one not held back by the restraints of bookmarks – forget shoving an old receipt in to mark your place, why not just fold the page corner? And for ease of holding when reading, why not fold the cover and the pages you’ve already read back on themselves so you can hold it in one hand? Then when you’re done with your chapter, lob your fan-shaped book in with your groceries and have the pollen from your lilies fall on the pages and your tins of beans dent the cover…is this giving anyone else anxiety?! I know you guys exist! But I can’t live this way! Haha
The Pristine Queen
Seated at the polar opposite end of the scale to the Dog-Earer seen above, this reader may wrap their books in plastic wrap before putting them on the shelves, will ensure their books are gently but securely nestled in a book sleeve for travel, and will perform impressive shows of flexibility trying to read a book without leaving any signs that it’s ever been touched. You can spot a Pristine Queen by her silken gloves (can’t leave fingerprints on the pages) and fierce concentration as she/he extracts the book from its dust jacket to ensure no folded over edges on the artwork as they read.
The Judge-A-Book-By-Its-Cover Reader
We’re all a little bit guilty of this. But this bookworm won’t even go near a book if the cover doesn’t sing to them. 5 stars on Goodreads and recommended by all your friends? Cool! The cover’s brown and looks like it fell off the back of a hay truck? Nah. Not going near it, contents be damned!
This bookworm may be an avid reader, but you wouldn’t know it from their home. There might be a lone Kindle to give you a clue, but this bookworm pretty much just keeps only a book or two in the house at one time – borrowed from a friend, borrowed from the library, perhaps bought but definitely gonna pass on to a neighbour – they don’t see the sense in keeping books they’ve already read. If they want to re-read, they’ll hire it out again!
The Twins: The Snob and the Hipster
We’ve all met these! The Snob is the one who turns their nose up if they catch you reading a YA book, or wrinkles their face in disgust if you’re reading a horror. This reader only reads very refined books – usually classics with clothbound covers – and they want you to know it. Their younger sister, growing evermore confident these days, is the Hipster – they only read in public, and it’s usually J.D. Salinger or Truman Capote, and what do you mean, you haven’t read any Sylvia Plath?!
The Genre Reader
I can’t help mocking (in good humour, of course) my boyfriend’s mum, who only EVER reads books with vintage covers, usually depicting a forlorn lady in a tea dress with a WW1 plane overhead. I have read the blurbs of many of these, and learned that they all fit this enthralling story arc: 1940s housewife has a troubling situation, and manages to fix it with a little tragedy along the way (but nothing large enough to damage the ribbon placement in her perfectly coiffeured hair), usually ending up being romanced by a soldier just returning home from the war. Sometimes she runs away from the troubling situation and is rescued by a handsome fighter pilot. Sometimes there’s illness and poverty and the lady is a damsel in distress, until, unexpectedly of course, a marine asks for her hand in marriage and whisks her away. You get the idea! This reader has enjoyed a few books in a certain genre, and decided that that’s it, they’re sticking with it. Why risk reading a book you don’t like, after all?!
One week, this reader will devour 4 books, but when the next week rolls around, suddenly they just can’t be bothered. This reader will go from reading at the same rate they breathe, to letting their newest purchase gather dust on the shelf until they pick it back up and the cycle starts again!
The Speed Reader
This bookworm reads probably more than they breathe. They’re the ones on book 120 whilst you plough through book 14, thinking you’re ahead of the game. And they hold down full-time jobs, too?! Who are these superhumans?! Tell me your secrets!!
The Recommendations and Research Reader
This reader may belong to a book club, or just ask you what you’d recommend for them. It’s not that they don’t know what to pick out – it’s just that’s there’s so many books and so little time! They don’t want to waste their time reading a book they’ve never heard of if they’re not going to enjoy it, so they’ll get a recommendation or they’ll spend a while on Goodreads and Amazon seeing what other people thought before they pick it up.
I could go on for ages about the different types of bookworms I’ve encountered!