Find a group of people with something in common, and you will find stereotypes about that group of people. It never fails. There are stereotypes about cheerleaders, stereotypes about bikers, stereotypes about stay-at-home moms. It doesn’t matter the group, there will be people assuming things about that group, and us bookworms are not exempt. There’s definitely a lot of assumptions made about bookworms and those of us who love to read, especially by non-bookworms who just *emo hair flip* don’t understand us.
So in honor of all the n00bs who think we are just a bunch of weirdos hiding behind towers of books, pushing our glasses up our noses with fingers that are shaking from all the caffeine in the coffee we consume (because of course, that’s all we consume), let’s have a look at some of those assumptions. And for an extra shot of espresso—I mean, fun, sorry, thinking about coffee again—for an extra shot of fun, I’ll also tell you which of these bookworm stereotypes actually do apply to me.
1. We’re all introverts.
There’s definitely an assumption that everyone who loves to read and every book lover in the world is also a major introvert and loves nothing more than holing up in their houses with just their books and never speaking to anyone anywhere ever.
But while hilarious Internet memes and social media platforms like Twitter and tumblr definitely do nothing to expel these assumptions and actually probably strengthen the stereotype, you may be surprised to learn that that’s actually not the case. There is no one type of personality that you have to have in order to love reading! Yes, if you stay home a lot, you might read a lot of books. But the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. There are tons of bookworms who actually are extroverts (gasp!) or ambiverts, or some who prefer not to classify themselves at all. There’s also tons of introverts who don’t care about reading or books at all.
Please. Calm down. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. So whether you’re an INFJ, an INTP, an ESTP, or any other personality type in the world, wear your bookworm status with pride. Whether you prefer to go out and party with your girl squad or you prefer to stay home and Netflix with your cat squad, you’re not more or less of a bookworm.
If you made this assumption about me, you would be: correct. I actually am a huge introvert, and I love staying home. I definitely recharge from being on my own, and books are sometimes the best company for me.
2. All we do is read.
We’re bookworms, so that’s all we are right? I mean, all we do is read. After all books are long. How the hell would we have time to do anything other than sit around read them? Reading is an all-consuming hobby, so it’s definitely the only thing we do, right?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are actually probably very few people in the world who just read and only read and don’t do anything else. It may seem like that’s the case with some people, especially if they read a lot of books, but that might not be the case. It could just be that they read fast, or have a lot of time to read, or manage their time really, really wisely in order to complete a lot of books. But fact of the matter is, we actually do have other hobbies, too! Sure, books may have our hearts and souls, but bookworms can also be hikers, marathon runners, mural painters, furniture builders, surfers—you get where I’m going with this. Basically any hobbies that non-bookworms have, bookworms can have, too.
We’re just extra badass because we do those things and read a ton of books.
If you made this assumption about me, you would be: incorrect. It’s pretty hard to tell, but shockingly I do things other than read books, write books, collect books, and take tons of pictures of books. Granted, those are my favorite things to do, but I also love to hike, travel, work on my car, watch movies, play video games, and do makeup. WHOA NON BOOK RELATED HOBBIES, I know, but c’est la vie, right? No one’s personality is just one single facet. We are all beautiful crystals with many, many sides and facets.
3. We all want to be/are librarians or booksellers.
For some reason, people seem to assume that if you love books, you must want to be a librarian or a bookseller. I mean, will places other than libraries and bookstores even consider you if you apply? As soon as they find out you’re a bookworm working in a sporting goods store or a counseling center, they’re going to be like, “IMPOSTER! You love to read? You should be selling books and shushing children! What are you even doing here?”
But y’all…there are a lot of jobs in the world. And there are a lot of people in the world. That means statistically speaking (granted, I’m not a math whiz) (oops, is that another stereotype?) there’s just no way that every book lover in the world is going to become a librarian or a bookseller. And when you move away from the statistics portion of it, then there’s the fact that not all bookworms want to be librarians or booksellers. Sure, we love books, but we may not want to work with them for various reasons. One of those reasons might be because being a librarian or a bookseller sounds like you get to be surrounded by books 24/7—and you do—but you also have to be surrounded by people. And all bookworms are introverts, so we can’t be doing that. Duh.
Book lovers and readers work in all kinds of jobs, from construction workers to chefs to psychologists to CEOs and everything in between. And this might also be a good time to point out that reading more can be directly correlated to success and vice versa. So….there’s that to think about.
If you were to assume this about me, you would be: incorrect. Sure, being surrounded by books all day does sound awesome. But there is that pesky introversion and I’m actually pursuing a different dream right now. Which, conveniently enough, brings me to my next assumption/stereotype…
4. All bookworms want to write books, too.
I totallyyyyy get where this stereotype comes from. Really, I do. Bookworms love books. We love them! We eat, sleep, and breathe books. Which means that in addition to reading books, we probably want to make books, too, correct? We want to take that kind of joy that books bring us, and give that joy to other people. It’s not a huge leap to make that assumption.
But here’s the thing. I love pizza. Love it. It’s so good. I’d eat pizza every damn day if it wouldn’t land me with a whole hell of a lot of health problems. But shockingly, I actually have no desire to make pizza for a living. The same could be said about a lot of things and a lot of people. Not everyone who loves movies wants to be a filmmaker. Not everyone who loves clothes wants to be a fashion designer. That’s just not how life works. It’s too simplistic. It’s too streamlined. And if you’ve been alive for more than five minutes, you know that life is anything but streamlined.
Some bookworms definitely do want to be writers. For some bookworms, it’s our biggest dream to have other bookworms read the books we ourselves wrote. But some bookworms actually just want to read books, consume them in all their fantastic beauty, and pursue their dreams of becoming librarians. Er, I mean, whatever they want to be! Because we don’t all want to be librarians!
If you made this assumption about me, you would be: correct. In addition to reading books, I do write books as well. But you know the drill: just because it’s true about me, doesn’t mean it’s true about everyone! Get to know your resident bookworms. They have all kinds of careers and goals.
5. Bookworms are all frumpy frumpsters.
Somewhere along the line, there was this image created of bookworms portraying all of us as these frumpy individuals clad in leggings and shapeless, oversized sweaters with unbrushed hair because who has time for hair brushing when there are books to read???
Sure, we all have our moments where we don’t want to dress up and we would rather wear our most comfy clothes and not worry about getting all dolled up because who needs winged eyeliner and false lashes to read a book, right? But what’s important to remember here is that, just like with any group, not all bookworms look the same! For every bookworm who prefers to wear old sweatshirts and messy buns, there’s a bookworm who loves rocking sparkly dresses and high heels. And then of course, there are bookworms who like both, because remember—no person in the world is just one single facet. We all have many sides to our personalities. So wipe away that image of what bookworms are supposed to “look like”, and for THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, please stop saying stupid things like, “Oh, you read? I never would have guessed that from looking at you,” or “You don’t look like a nerd!”
If you made this assumption about me, you would be: depends on the day. Most days I’m totally happy in a worn-in Z Supply Co T-shirt and some shorts from Target, but I have my days where I get done up and actually try to look like a nice, non-zombie, functioning member of society.
6. All bookworms wear glasses.
Let’s tackle one more appearance based stereotype, shall we?
A lot of times when you see illustrations or images of bookworms or readers, you’ll find the person in the image wearing glasses, because apparently everyone who loves to read finds it impossible to do so without their trusty spectacles. Are you a bookworm with 20/20 fiction? Well, get a fake pair, then, for God’s sake! What are you even doing with your life?
I probably don’t have to tell you that this stereotype is ridiculous. I don’t know if glasses just fit well with this “nerdy” image people like to put forth, or if people assume that all the reading we do destroys our vision, but in fact, reading is not what causes less-than-perfect vision. There are plenty of bookworms who do wear glasses, sure, but not all of them!
If you assumed this about me, you would be: partially correct. I actually use wear contacts because glasses drive me banana sandwich, but I have a pair of glasses.
7. Bookworms don’t have any friends.
A lot of people assume that this goes one of two ways: one, bookworms spend so much time reading that they don’t have time for friends or associating with real, live, non-fictional human beings, or two, bookworms are bookworms because they have no friends and so they retreat into fictional worlds and find comfort in books instead. Who needs human friends when you have books?
These two scenarios may actually be the case for some people who love to read, but I have something to tell you. Are you sitting down? Sit down. Okay, ready?
A lot of bookworms actually do have friends.
Yes, it’s true. Lots of bookworms have friends. They also have families, spouses, significant others, and acquaintances. Are some bookworms loners? Sure. I’m something of a loner myself. But that doesn’t mean bookworms are these totally solitary beings who never associate with anyone ever. And if you want to really be freaked out, get this: lots of times bookworms are friends with other bookworms. So we all congregate and make plans to take over the world.
Or, you know. Read quietly in separate corners of the room. Whatever.
If you assumed this about me, you would be: incorrect. I admit I’m not great at human interaction—especially the face to face kind—but I actually will do it when it comes to my favorite humans.
8. We all have perfect grammar and spelling and/or do extremely well in school.
These stereotypes are super similar so I’m lumping them in together. There is definitely an assumption that if you love to read, then you’re also a whiz kid at school. Straight As. Honor roll. Great at everything.
Totally false. Loving reading doesn’t necessarily mean loving school. Being good at reading doesn’t necessarily mean being good at school, either. Some people just aren’t good at school, or aren’t good at taking tests, or whatever the case may be. Some people would much rather read books than do homework. And need I remind you, “reading” is not the only school subject. There are some people who love to read and are great at English courses and literature courses, but not so strong in say, math or science. There are also people who love to read but don’t love analyzing or dissecting the literature they digest in a public forum like a classroom. Much like so many of the other stereotypes discussed here, the connection between reading and being good at school or perfect at grammar is too simple and too straightforward.
If you assumed this about me, you would be: mostly correct. I’m pretty good at grammar and really good at spelling (when I was in elementary school, my classmates sometimes called me a “human dictionary”, convinced I could spell absolutely anything. And thus, my nerd reputation began…), and well in school except for math. Yeah, that not great at math example from earlier? That was me. Trust me, I wish I was better at it, but numbers are just not my wheelhouse.
9. Bookworms all love cats.
Remember earlier when I talked about the cute little images of bookworms that float around the Internet? Popular on Pinterest and super-stylized, we love these little cartoons! Look at the cute bookworm! But just like so many of these images seem to portray bookworms with glasses, they also often seem to portray bookworms with something else: cats.
And I have to admit, y’all…I don’t know where this one comes from. Is it because bookworms are believed to be solitary creatures and cats are also believed to be solitary creatures? Is it because cats are lower maintenance than dogs and bookworms can’t be bothered to quit reading long enough to walk a dog or take them out to play in the yard? Does it have some relation to the “crazy cat lady” stereotype? I don’t…I don’t really know. But I know this stereotype that bookworms are also cat people is totally a thing. I clearly remember one time when my mother got frustrated because she couldn’t find any jigsaw puzzles portraying cool libraries or book-related images that didn’t also have cats in them, and she hates cats.
So, mark my words people: not all bookworms love cats! The two have nothing to do with one another! There are tons of book people who are dog people. Or who like cats and dogs. Or who like neither and prefer parrots or hamsters or something. Stop with the cat assumptions.
If you assumed this about me, you would be: incorrect. I am not a cat person. I’m totally a dog person. I love dogs, and in fact I would go so far as to say I actually kind of dislike cats.
10. Bookworms basically survive off coffee and tea.
Few things pair as well as a good book and a hot beverage, right? I mean, right? That, combined with the fact that bookworms do, admittedly, talk a lot about coffee and tea and post a lot of pictures online of books paired with coffee or tea, has led to this assumption that we all basically survive off hot, caffeinated beverages.
But what if I told you….there are actually bookworms who don’t like either of these drinks? Some people just like to have a soda while they read. Or a lemonade. Or a beer. So maybe hold off on the Starbucks gift cards this Christmas—just because someone loves reading, doesn’t also mean they live off coffee and tea.
If you assumed this about me, you would be: eh, pretty correct. I mean I also eat food, but I admittedly pretty much mainline coffee. If you were thinking of getting me a Starbucks gift card this Christmas, go right ahead. I loooove my caffeinated beverages.
So that about sums up some of the (ridiculous) assumptions I’ve come across about bookworms and those of us who love to read. What about everyone else? What stereotypes have you heard/seen about bookworms? Do any bookworm stereotypes apply to you? Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to talk. <3