All Full of Wine The World Before Her

I am of the opinion that there are two types of people who will claim to love books.  On the one hand, you have book collectors; on the other, people who have a bone deep love of the craft of reading.  Book collectors have huge book collections, neatly organized by alphabet or category, on shelves and other furniture that is designed to hold them.  They read them one at a time, and always return them to their place when they’ve finished.  They use real bookmarks, and never dog-ear pages—their books are always pristine, and available to anyone who would like to borrow them.  Readers have huge book collections, as well—on their coffee table, the floor in their living room, crammed on to shelves, and shoved into trunks.  When they loan you a book, there’s probably underlines and notations over most of the pages, and there’s a good chance a few pages are loose or the entire book is held together with a rubberband.  Actually, forget it, they loaned it to someone else and can’t remember who has it—or anyway, they can’t remember where they put it.

Readers, though, can recite their favorite passages from memory, and have passionate discussions on the smallest part of their favorite books.  They become so obsessed with what they are reading that they annoy everyone around them.  They crave books the way other people crave food, and read as many at a time as they can handle.  They’re the people you see with their nose stuck in a book while they wait for their car to be inspected.   And they can and will talk to you about books for hours.

I’m a reader.   And that’s why I’m not good at anything else.


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