30 Things Only True Book Nerds Will Understand (are you one of us?)


You know you’re a bookworm if you can relate to this list! These book lover struggles are things that nonreaders just don’t understand. Book nerds unite!

Floor to ceiling stacks of books

30 Signs You Might Be a Book Nerd

People might’ve called you a book nerd when you were a kid.

Maybe they thought you were cute when you lugged a big volume into the dentist’s waiting room…or maybe they just thought you were odd.

You always had your nose in a book. It didn’t matter how long the book was, as long as it intrigued you. While other kids struggled with the school reading list, you buzzed through it, then doubled it with your own picks. In the summer, you exploited the library reading program by collecting all the prizes–as many times as they’d let you!

At one point, your own parents might’ve even told you that you read too much.

It was a sad era for you when your dawning awareness told you that not everyone shared your love for books. In fact, you realised that many people even find them boring.

But reader, you are not alone. 

There are still a lot of us out there who “get” that bookish life. We have that passion in common for a good story, and we’re proud to call ourselves book nerds!

We share those struggles that only fellow book lovers understand…those things that still, even as adults, make us a little odd.

And, I might add, totally awesome.

30 Things Only True Book Nerds Will Understand

1. Why you cherish the smell of books and the feel of pressing pages between your fingers.

2. How you can’t get through one day without reading something! Consuming text is as necessary to life as consuming food.

Open book in a cozy living room with a fireplace in the background

3. Wishing you could just stay home and curl up with your book instead of going out to a social gathering.

4. Questioning whether or not you can actually be friends with someone who doesn’t even like your favourite novel.

5. When your vocabulary and speech patterns start morphing to match the current book you’re reading.

6. The way you associate certain books with particular seasons of life or people.

7. Agonizing over what to read next (so many choices, so little time!). And the unbearable truth that you’re going to die before you get to everything on your reading list.

8. Trying to be patient with people who don’t understand how you can read more than one book at a time.

9. How choosing which books to pack on vacation is harder than choosing your outfits. You end up with a very heavy suitcase.

10. Shedding tears when a fictional character dies. (Thanks a lot, J.K. Rowling!)

11. Shedding tears at the end of a book…because it was just that beautiful.

12. The way you binge read your new favourite series, even though most of your friends are binge watching Netflix.

Man and woman smiling at each other behind a shelf of books

13. When your ideal date includes browsing in a book store together…and the conversation at dinner inevitably turns to books.

14. How the characters in good books are as real to you as people you meet in real life.

15. Why it’s frustrating when libraries have limits on how many books you can check out at once.

16. The physical struggle to put down a good book because you have to do things like take care of your kids.

17. How sharing your favourite book with someone is like offering them a piece of your heart.

18. The adrenaline rush you get when you visit your favourite author’s haunts. Also, the way you can’t stop smiling!

19. How a well-chosen volume is one of the best gifts anyone could give you. Super bonus points if they inscribe it with a personal message.

20. Book hangovers. Not being able to get into a new book because you still have a bond with the old one.

Classic science fiction and fantasy books lined up on a bookshelf

21. Why you have a shelf full of dozens of books you haven’t read even though you are ALWAYS reading.

22. How it bugs you like crazy when a filmmaker misinterprets your favourite characters and plots. You also feel a little smug: they just didn’t understand and love the book like you do!

23. That unreasonable (or not) irritation when you’re in the middle of a chapter and someone or something interrupts your reading. (“I’m almost done with my chapter,” and “let me get to a stopping place!” were frequent refrains from your childhood.)

24. Grief! When you finish a great book or worse, a great series, and all that’s left is…reality.

25. Why walking through the library stacks feels like strolling through a candy store or a fine chocolatier.

26. How growing up, you had crushes on literary heroes instead of celebrities.

27. When a book you’ve just finished and loved is due back at the library, and you have to put it in the slot. It’s like trying to say goodbye to a good friend whose plane is about to take off.

28. Having to explain to people that, “Yes, I really do want a BOOK for my birthday (or Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc.), because it’s the last thing they would want.

29. How the cover of a book really does matter.

30. How the right book, read at the right time can change your life.

Are you a professional book nerd? What “bookworm problems” do you identify with?

Used bookstore crammed with shelves and piles of books

Want more camaraderie with fellow book enthusiasts? We’re building a community of bookworm kindred spirits in our Tea and Ink Facebook group. We’d love to have you join us! You can get access by subscribing to the Society via the newsletter.

30 Things Only True Book Nerds Will Understand (are you one of us?)

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  1. Number 11 is just like me. Sometimes I want to cry because a good book ended. Other times, I feel bothered that the author didn’t write another book. Good books stay in my mind a long time and it’s hard to move on to a new book because the old one is still in my head. And there is no one to talk about it!

    1. It’s a little lonely coming out of a really good book. Often I *want* to talk about it, but also sort of don’t because I want to savour it and talking about it might somehow break the spell.

  2. Spot on. I do believe that the cover of a book can make or break it. Everyone tells you it won’t, but the amount of books I’ve read that were great but the author isn’t getting many reviews or sales, which I believe a lot is down to the cover.

    1. Exactly! And even for old books, I feel like the editors who select artwork for the covers need to be super careful. I’ve seen Jane Eyre painfully represented on more than one occasion!

  3. I stumbled across your website/blog by accident. And what a happy accident it was!

    regarding #23: My sister used to make a point of talking to me when I was reading because I read “too much” HAH! Like reading too much is even possible.

    Thanks for getting it!

  4. I have a love/hate relationship with the library. I love all the books but I hate having to give them back!

    1. Ah yes, I agree! I was once a member of a wonderful library with endless renewals…I kept a couple of their books on my shelf for over a year, and they felt like mine!!

  5. I was an avid reader as a teen…..then, as you said, “life happened.” I sort of lost my passion for reading as I started my career, etc. I became terribly sick about 16 years ago…..could not concentrate…many problems….I picked up a book as an “ escape from pain, etc….”…. thus began the revival of my reading! I have thousands of books literally. Many I have not read…..they are on my list! Lol….I keep several books going at one time….and am surrounded by “ books!” Thank GOD for books…..

    1. I’m so glad books are a passion of yours and that you found your reading revival! My writing desk is right next to my bookshelves. Sometimes I just turn and gaze at them…(:

  6. I’m currently debating how many books to pack for an 11 day trip to Ireland. It’s so difficult!! I never know what mood I’ll be in so I want to pack at least 5 haha. I also get antsy if I don’t read at least a little bit EVERY SINGLE day.

    1. Oh yes, I understand that antsy feeling. And even if I don’t read all the books I bring (rarely do) I still have never regretted packing too many books…because like you said, you just never know what you’ll be in the mood for!

  7. I just love it. I was ever smiling throughly the article. It is so ‘me’. Some points transported me back to my teenage.

  8. Hate the word nerd. Such an ugly word. Never use it myself. I prefer ethusiast, lover of literature, etc. Though not quite everything, and some things are yet to be seen, many, many of these things fit me. I love the smell of books! I am reading about half a dozen books at the moment. L.M. Montgomery was the author that made me cry…more than once.

  9. Great list! I was mad for Edward Rochester in my 20’s. I cried while reading The Grapes of Wrath. I’ve had nightmares because of Stephen King. Yep I can relate to so many of these. I read somewhere that the great Marie Kondo recommends that you have no more than thirty books in your home at any given time, and I had to sheepishly guffaw. That’s about how many I have on, under, and around my bedside table alone! It’s glorious to be a word nerd! <3

    1. I know, I feel like Marie Kondo’s main interests do not lie in reading! I *imagine* lists of 30 books I might allow myself on a desert island, because that’s a fun exercise…but it’s not reality, ha!

  10. I just found your site yesterday. I love it so much. Thanks for all the great content.
    Top of my list in relating to this post right now:
    #7, yes, so many books, so little time (and I’m not that old)
    #10, when *a certain character in Harry Potter* died (I never thought I could cry so hard over a fictional character. I’m tearing up thinking of it now, and it’s been many years ago.)
    #29, Covers matter SO much. My husband recently said, “You’re such a book snob. I feel like I can’t buy you just any book.”

    1. Welcome to Tea and Ink, Tracey! So glad to have you! I’m so picky regarding covers, too! I don’t like the movie tie-ins (even if I do like the movie) and I don’t like it when the books have big badges or stickers on them that advertise a book club or whatnot! You should look up my “bad book covers” posts here on the site for some really funny covers that don’t fit their books at ALL!

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