My cherished books endlessly cover my workspace shelves.

7 Ways to Determine if You Have a Book-a-holic in Your Life (and Other Confessions from a Self-Proclaimed Bibliophile)

bibliophile noun. a person who collects or has a great love of books.
bibliophilia noun. the love of books; also bibliophilism.

My sister recently came over for a visit, just before COVID-19 overtook all of our lives, and before leaving, I dragged her over to my art and design studio, which is located just behind my house — inside the back of an old shed.

I wanted her to see all the work I’d done to organize my studio space since moving in last year and, in particular, I wanted her to see how well I’d organized each of my work stations.

A snippet of my art and design workspace.

But as soon as we walked into my shed-based studio, my sister’s attention span wasn’t at all on how cool I had decorated my desk or how amazing I had displayed all my art supplies.

Nope.

Instead, she sported a disapproving, almost painful frown as she took one frustrated look at my studio and then pushed these grimaced, inquisitive words out of her mouth:

“Mayra, omg, you’ve GOT TO GET RID of all these books! You don’t need so many damn books!”

These shelves hold a fraction of my art books.

As I heard my sister’s sarcastic disdain towards my book-loving ways, my bibliophilic heart cracked 💔 just a bit.

“What’s wrong with my books?” I curiously asked, pushing back.

“Mayra, every wall in here is covered in books. Like seriously, do you *REALLY* need all these (expletive) books?”

For a moment, you could hear crickets in the background as I pondered through her question.

I guess it was a legitimate inquiry because I admit I do have LOTS (and lots, and lots, and even more lots) of books in my studio.

Business books and art books galore :)

And the books in my studio represent only a fraction of the (additional) books I have inside my house!

Soooo, did I *REALLY* need, as my sister phrased, all my (expletive) books?

Suddenly, a surge of book-filled memories overtook me.

I thought about all the hours I spent lugging all the book boxes into the barn, then unpacking each and every one after moving. I remembered how I’d carefully gone through every book and organized all my shelves by title or subject. I thought back to how I’d made crucial decisions about which book would go to the barn and which would be shelved inside my house. And I recalled how much time I’d already spent purging out which books I’d donate to local thrift stores or exchange for credit at a used book store.

The question of whether or not I really need all my (expletive) books has also been posed to me by my husband, who can’t seemingly understand why he repeatedly finds Thriftbooks.com delivery boxes waiting for me at the front door when he gets home from work.

One of my usual book deliveries often found at my doorstep.

Or why I come in from shopping with a bag (or two) packed with books from Barnes & Noble. “Mayra, do you *REALLY* need MORE books?” he’s been known to ask this a time or two (or three and four).

But getting back to the moment at hand, where the crickets of deafening silence continued to chirp in the background as my sister impatiently awaited my answer to her flustered question with great anticipation.

“Well???” she shuffled. Do you???

“OK, so the truth is … that I do.”

I continued, “I mean, some books are really helpful for reference purposes but most of these books, I just can’t bear to part with. So I guess my answer is yes, I really do need all these books, but more importantly, I want them. I want my (expletive) books.”

Partial view of bookshelves from my living room.

Unsatisfied with my answer, my sister left shortly thereafter; possibly wondering in the back of her mind how and why on earth her big sister could live with so many (expletive) books.

The truth is I haven’t always been an avid book collector or reading lover.

In fact, for most of my life, I’ve been just the opposite: a book-averse, books-are-boring type of individual.

Not long ago, it seems, I once poked gentle fun at a dear friend who kept spreadsheet lists of books she wanted to purchase and read. These days, however, I find myself doing much the same thing.

And that’s because, over the past five years, my bibliophilia has grown and evolved to the point where now, I just can’t stop reading.

Nor do I want to.

There’s just too much to learn, explore, and experience within the pages of a book.

I enjoy passing time reading about all kinds of topics, including graphic fiction, photography, digital marketing, psychology, poetry, lettering design, technology, book layout, social media, sewing techniques, business strategies, vector art-making, and so much more.

I think on any given week, you can bet your bottom book dollar that you’ll find me reading multiple books (ebooks, too) of varied genres.

Parting words

In closing, I think this writing sheds light on numerous clues toward helping you determine if you have a devoted bibliophile in your life.

My list of bibliophile-revealing observations below summarizes a few dead giveaways, including:

  1. Wall surfaces covered in bookshelf after a bookshelf (after bookshelf)
  2. “Books-to-read (or buy)” list-making activities
  3. Books covering tables and available desktop surfaces
  4. Taking along baskets of books to read during road trips
  5. Book deliveries left at front doorstep several times a week
  6. Regular trips to used book stores and libraries
  7. Reading books while allegedly watching a movie

I could go on :) but you get the gist.

Sidenote

While it’s clear, based on this storytelling, that I really enjoy reading books, I’m not ALWAYS reading. I do have many other interests and activities I enjoy as well but reading is undoubtedly very, very high on my “things to do when I have some downtime” list.

Do you enjoy reading as much as I do? Please let me know I’m not alone in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

I write about human-technology interaction, mediated technologies, cyberpsychology, positive media psychology, narrative psychology, social psychology, brand psychology, transmedia storytelling, neuro design, behavior design, and so much more.

And once in a very blue moon, I’ll also creatively write about completely random stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with my profession :)

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA
left 🧠: Media Psychologist • Cyberpsychologist • Brand Psychologist
right 🧠: Neurodesigner • Visual Artist • Creative Writer

P.S. Wanna hire me?
Go here to learn more about me, access resumes, see samples, and more.

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