How to Spot the Other Book Nerd at the Party

Book Nerd SwagFor some reason (you ran out of books? You can’t find your reading glasses? You’ve got a book hangover?) you’ve decided to “leave the house” and “go to a party” instead of just “reading until you fall asleep on your book and get those annoying hardcover creases on your face again.” Good for you! I’m toasting you with my copy of Ghost Flower from here. Once you’ve arrived at the party, you must locate that which will make it all worthwhile: your fellow book nerds, the ones who can wow you with their Daughter of Smoke & Bone fan theories, their book recs, and their ability to shoot down (with footnotes!) anyone who claims to have found a continuity error in Harry Potter. In order from least to most committed, here’s how to go about finding your people:

Look for book bling. Plenty of people wear their book nerdery on their sleeve, or their tote bag, or their skin. Keep your eyes peeled for “I’d rather be reading Jane Austen” bags, Book It! pins, and the inked words “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing” peeking out from under T-shirt sleeves.

Check for physical indicators. Maybe your quarry’s Harriet the Spy hoodie is in the wash. In the absence of neon indicators of book nerdery, look for the things that are harder to spot, but also harder to hide: a sexy nearsighted squint, a slight (and extremely attractive!) hunch, paper cuts, the tendency to continually peek at the walls as if attempting to summon books onto them.

Lurk by the books, see who drifts toward you. Maybe your host is one of those tidy types who hides their books away on bedroom bookshelves, but if you’re lucky they’re on full display. Stay within small-talking distance of the shelves, like a patient spider waiting for a delicious, bespectacled fly to not-so-subtly check the spines, pull something down to read, or blatantly fix shelving errors when they think nobody’s looking.

Throw out some bait. Subtly yell, “Accio Doritos!” when helping yourself to party snacks, or ask someone if their green phone case means they’re a Slytherin. See who responds with a look of faint concern, and who promptly informs you they’re a Ravenclaw with Slytherin tendencies.

Work the drinks area, offering lit-inspired beverages not technically being served at the party. “Do you want a lemonade, or a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster?” Unless the host happens to have some Ol’ Janx Spirit lying around, a safe approximation of the best drink in the galaxy might include equal parts of every liquid item in the house (mouthwash, pickle juice, cold coffee). Give up on anyone who accepts the obviously inferior, risk-free lemonade.

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