Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.
Forgive me, dear reader, for I have sinned. Many times. Many, many times. I have told many untruths, spread many falsehoods, been overall dishonest about that which I consider so sacred: books.
It is not with malice that I have committed these misdeeds. On the contrary, most often, they have been intended to shield others from harm or disappointment, or to preserve the credentials I alone believe I possess.
To atone, I present just some of the myriad lies I have told to perfectly ordinary strangers, to beloved friends and family, and to more than one presumptive coworker. For context, I have added the truths they hide.
“I’ve never read it all the way through, but I’ve read parts.”
I have never read that book, but I have seen it mentioned on many best-of lists, and I feel more than slightly ashamed that I haven’t read it. None of this has compelled me to pick up the book, but I have read its cover blurb several times as I’ve added it to then removed it from my online shopping basket.
“I love [insert author]!”
Ah, yes, that author is either trendy or beloved and their works have languished in various to-read lists I have compiled and left for dead. I have no idea if I’ll ever read their books, or if I’ll appreciate them, but I recently read a think piece they published that I agreed with, and I follow them on Twitter.
“Oh, me? I read just about everything.”
I read several genres, but there are just as many that I either can’t stand or have no interest in determining whether I can stand. I am afraid of alienating you, however, so I’m going to make a blanket statement that is true of virtually no one. Now, please throw out a handful of authors, and I will proceed to tell you if I’ve ever read any of their books. (But see point one: I might lie.)
“The book was way better than the movie.”
I have never read the book this movie is based on. Even though I greatly enjoyed this movie, I feel safe enough, after years of similar experiences, in saying the written work is better, even though there is a good chance I will never confirm this sentiment.
“I don’t know where my copy is. I must have loaned it out.”
I know where every copy of every book I own resides. They do not leave my house because I trust no one, and I am not about to make an exception for you, no matter how responsible you seem. I have examined your behavior over the last several months and have identified at least three flaws, which I’ve promptly exaggerated in my head and categorized as full-blown psychoses.