Ten Questions You Must Stop Asking Book Lovers

(Reposting with minor edits a post from early last year, because it really fits this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt and because I love it.)

Excuse the generalization. The title could be misleading; I’m not talking about all book lovers here, but me. Which means it’s perfectly fine if you aren’t annoyed by these questions. But I do think some of you book bloggers and avid readers out there would agree with me on at least a few of these.

1. *Gawping at my bookshelf* But have you read all of these? These askers almost always relax with immense satisfaction when I say no.
Of course not. I have read about half of them and that is the point of owning books: I do not want to run out of reads. It is not as if I have only read three from the three hundred. Like Umberto Eco said, what is the point of stacking your shelves with only books that you have already read? (Not verbatim, naturally.)
2. Which is your all-time favourite book?
I don’t really hate this question so much as find it difficult to answer. Um, my favourite horror is The Shining by Stephen King, my favourite romance is Possession by A. S. Byatt. If you catch me on a Wednesday, my favourite fantasy would be Discworld by Terry Pratchett, but Sundays generally see me raving about Harry Potter. So yeah, there is no single all time favourite book.
3. Why do you read?
Okay, tell me this: why do you breathe? Can you help it? Because you would die if you didn’t? Right. That pretty much applies here too.
4. What is the point of fiction? / What do you gain from reading novels? / How can reading about imaginary things be useful?
These questions depress, infuriate and amuse me all at the same time. I could give you a hundred instances of fiction being pointy(?) and useful. But the fact is, you can come up with a hundred reasons to eat pizza too or start wearing hats, very logical reasons, but I will do either only if I want to – and no one is making you read fiction unless you want to. All I ask is, do not expect justifications or explanations from those of us who do and stop being so damn pompous about reading useful knowledge-providing non-fiction only.
5. How do you read so fast? Do you skip pages? 
Hey. How dare you accuse me of that. No, I don’t skip pages. And I don’t speed read either, so don’t you go telling me how quality is more important than quantity. Yes, I have a lot of free time on my hands, and when I don’t, I make time. No one gets to make me feel guilty about missing a few socializing sessions and other dull chores to finish a book. And after years spent reading, you don’t have to aim to read fast – it just happens.
6. No, but seriously, how could you have finished … in two days?
Fine. I skip pages. Whole chapters, when I am bored. Then I read the SparkNotes summary and scan the Goodreads reviews, rephrase them, throw in a couple of Priya-isms and voila! Review done. Pretending to love reading, skimming through books, all so I can write a book blog is super-rewarding. There. Happy?
7. (so this is more reviewer-centric rather than book-lover related) Are you scared of writing critical reviews? Why are all your reviews so safe and “politically correct”?
No, I just like to make the most of what I read. I am a book lover not a critic. And in all fairness, there is no such thing as a good or bad book, only a certain type of reader. When I don’t like a book, I rarely spend precious time ranting about it, never without giving reasons. If I am required to write a review, instead of “Ugh, what a horribly mushy book”, I would rather say, “I don’t like it, but fans of heart wrenching sagas might.” Sarcasm may slip in, but come on, nobody is perfect… at least I try.
8. What do you prefer: ebooks or physical books?
Am I the only one who finds this particular topic over-discussed?  Sure, I like the smell of a physical book and love libraries, but I also like carrying along a teenie device full of books that would have otherwise weighed a couple of kilos. I mean, I like reading. The stories matter. If Rowling publishes her next book only on like eggshells, that is where I’ll read it. 
9. You read so much. Is that why you have glasses? / why you are tired all the time (because of no activity, apparently) / why you never call? / why you are such an introvert? / why you *insert unrelated “issue”*?
No, at least… I don’t think so. No, I am pretty sure that is not the reason. Maybe I should not read so much, what do you thi…? Wait a minute, you cannot scare me into reading fewer books. What do you know about getting glasses or being an introvert, anyway!? The last I checked, you aren’t exactly a doctor. Reading is not a problem, thank you.
10. Do you even have any other hobbies, besides reading?
Erm… Yes?

Written for IndiSpire, a nice little initiative by IndiBlogger, which I can rarely take part in because of the very specific theme of this blog. 

26 thoughts on “Ten Questions You Must Stop Asking Book Lovers”

  1. You read and people question. Seems like a simple equation. But seriously, I'm happy that reading generates so many questions… I wish it catalyses them all to read.

    Arvind Passey


  2. Yes, these are definitely infuriating questions. I always get thrown by the "what is your favourite book?" question because there are too many good books to just have one. Since I started reading again, I haven't had too many questions like this, but everyone seems amazed I'm reading at all when there are so many other distractions. They distract me too, but I made reading the priority.


  3. Arvind – Sure, it is a simple equation, when the questions are asked not out of disbelief but curiosity. Anyway, this is all just a bit of fun, isn't it?! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

    honeyimreading – That one I just find difficult to come up with an answer for, you know – and I end up ranting! See, that's it – whenever someone asked me why I didn't do anything other than reading, I used to say I wanted to make the best of the time I had left without distractions. This year, the continuously-reading is not going so well. Anyway, hope you keep finding time to read!


  4. Hey priya so this post made me think of something up. Since I've already posted mine I thought I'll share the goodness with you. Since it was this post that really inspired me.

    Why is it always that about life do you write?
    Why don't you go out some more?
    Why do you read so much my dear,
    Don't you ever feel bored?

    How is it you don't like bollywood movies or plays?
    Do you feel rather unwell?
    How can you buy so many books?
    Where do you keep them do tell?

    What do you do besides writing for fun?
    Why don't you share what's on your mind?
    Open up already, good lord woman!
    Why behind books do you hide?


  5. Sabeeha – Wow, I love that! That must have required quite a bout of inspiration; may I go ahead and feel flattered?! No, really, thanks for the poem. πŸ™‚

    Sweety – Oh, I'm not as reluctant anymore to part with my books as I once was, but that doesn't mean I don't still dread broken spines and coffee stains… so you're right. That should have made the list too. Thanks for stopping by!


  6. Haha you're welcome! And uhm I love to read too. So these questions are always asked by my friends to me too. I can understand your plight :p


  7. Wow! Perfect post! I get infuriated when I am asked these questions.
    Also, "Do you like the books or movies based on the books?"
    No movie can ever do justice to the book, I feel!:)


  8. Sabeeha – I'm sure you do!! πŸ˜€

    Pooja – Hey, I like your blog name! Even I also get annoyed by that question. Can you believe someone once asked me, "Did you know there's a book based on Life of Pi?!" And I was like, "The movie is based on the book, not the other way round!" I agree, the movies are never better than the book, and hardy ever as good. Thanks for stopping by!


  9. Haha! This made me laugh! I can see you surrounded by Austen-like family members and acquaintances, poking their noses in and giving unsolicited advice on how "this is not how to get a husband, dear" (though perhaps you are married with children, what do I know). I never get questions about reading – thatΒ΄s why I blog, to get that out of my system.


  10. Viktoria – You pictured right, unfortunately (and no, I'm barely out of college and nowhere close to getting married!)


  11. agree with every single question .. book lovers are the mostly consiodered as dumb and introvert .. "why the hell do you read novels and such books, course books aren't enough??" and yes few more question tht I usually face .. "whay type of stuff you like to read, which author .. which book you have read recently??" have you read Khushwant Singh ? how many books you have read so far .. plz give an exact figure .. lolzzzz


  12. So much yes to this post! My favorite book? I could give a list of, like, my five favorite series, but that's the best I could do for that question lol. I really do get upset when people think fiction is useless though because one of the MANY reasons it's great is that it teaches you to understand and have empathy. I love your sarcasm in #6, btw. And I definitely agree that I don't understand the snobbiness about the physical vs ebooks thing. Why are we fighting? We all love books. That's what matters!


  13. Yes. YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE. I get asked any of these questions by anyone and I pretty much put them in my mental category of "You are annoying, I shall spend less time with you."

    My TTT wp.me/p3ftwe-Ks


  14. I love this post and I love your answers Priya.

    I must admit however, as I love talking about reading and my opinions on it, I love it when people ask me questions like this.


  15. YES – I am sick of all of these questions! Especially, 'What's your favourite book?' – I have a different answer every time for that one. Of course I get added questions bc I'm doing a PhD in English and suddenly I'm expected to give comments on all of literature, the value of studying literature, etc.
    Great list!
    My TTT


  16. I particularly agree with Number 7! Sometimes I might write an imaginary frustrated review in my head, very rarely I do give way and write a negative review, but mainly I find my energy for not-right-for-me books quickly runs away and I am just left with enthusiasm for the ones I do love and want to share.


  17. Great post, Priya.
    I have no problem answering no 2. In fact I love it when people ask me this because my all time favorite is a somewhat obscure book and out of print and I love sharing it with the world. In fact, here it is: "Don Juan, The Life and Death of Don Miguel de Manara" by Josef Toman. πŸ™‚ It's probably the first historical fiction I read back when I didn't even know what historical fiction was. πŸ™‚
    No. 8 – I don't find that over discussed, I'm actually interested to see why people take one side or the other. Getting a Kindle hasn't changed my mind about physical books and if I could keep all the books I ever read, I would. Sadly I don't have that much space. For me a book is not just about the writing, it's the whole experience – looking at the cover, touching the pages (I love books with uneven cut pages, I think a Neil Gaiman book has pages like that).


  18. Kristen – Like you, I could list five favourite series, and even five favourite authors. It is too difficult to choose just one book, though.

    Denise, "imaginary frustrated review" I so know what you mean!!

    Delia, thank you for that comment. You have mentioned that book to me before, but I did not find it then. I really find it interesting that you have a favourite book. Mine changes every other week!
    I don't know if I have ever seen a book with uneven cut pages. I can't picture one either.
    Humour aside, some of the comments I am getting (like yours) make me want to write actual sincere answers to these questions as well. Maybe I will.. πŸ™‚


  19. A book with uneven cut pages looks like this:

    I think my edition of "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is like that but since I'm away from home for a while I can't check.
    I had a feeling I wrote about my favorite book before. πŸ™‚ I hope you get to read it.
    You mean those answers were not sincere? I got the sarcasm but….ha, you got me there! πŸ™‚


  20. "If Rowling publishes her next book only on like eggshells, that is where I'll read it."

    Wahahaha! πŸ˜€ What a creative writer you are, Priya! I love this post.


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