book lover = bibliophile: person who collects or has a great love of books
August 9th is Book Lovers Day but of course for the bibliophile every day revolves around books.
You don’t need to take a quiz to decide whether you are a bibliophile or not. You know you are. How does one become a book lover? As Julian Barnes says in this Guardian article, some of us “grew up assuming that all homes contained books; that this was normal. It was normal, too, that they were valued for their usefulness: to learn from at school, to dispense and verify information, and to entertain during the holidays and free time.”
Some people are lucky enough to have come from homes where books constituted the base for family life, where bedtime stories were part of every day. However, some people only become book lovers because they are inspired by great teachers. As teachers and teacher trainers we have been assigned a very important role: sharing our love of books with others, especially our students.
Is being a book lover the same as being a passionate reader?
Being a bibliophile does not necessarily mean that you are an avid reader. At least not in the traditional sense of reading. We read art albums, graphic novels, picture books, poems, short stories. Bibliophiles like illustrated books, photo albums, travel books, cook books. If you are a book lover, you proabably want to learn how to bind a book.
Why do we love books so much?
It’s not just about the story between the covers. We like the smell of the books (either the fresh ones or the dusty second-hand ones), we like the touch of the paper, and we like the colours of the cover. We feel more comfortable around books, and probably take stacks of them to our bed or our armchair. We need bookshelves packed with our collection of books to feel at home in a new house. Do you enjoy spending hours in a bookshop or library, ‘just looking’? Do you feel the need to buy new books even if you know you won’t have time to read them right away? Do you think that a book is always the best present? When you visit a friend, do you want to check out their bookshelf? Do you think that a ‘shelfie’ would be more representative of your personality than a ‘selfie’? We cherish signed copies, books given to us as presents, and we remember why, where and when we bought certain books. Was it to celebrate something? Or maybe you were sad and wanted to cheer yourself up?
Books age with us, they have dog-eared pages, they get dropped in bath tubs, they get coffee or tea spilled over them, and sometimes we comment on the margin or underline phrases. Sometimes we end up owning two copies of the same book, and sometimes we give them away. Sometimes we don’t keep them because we necessarily want to reread them, but because they remind us of a certain feeling, place, person or time of our life.
Dedicate a a day this week or on any other week and talk about books with your friends, your students, your family. Here are some activities you can use to talk about books with your Book Clubs or classes.
1 The Book Lover’s Top 10
Can you answer the questions in this book list? It can also be a Book Club discussion starter or classroom activity.
- The first book you liked as a child
- The first book you got as a present
- The first book you gave as a present
- The first book you bought for youself (saved money for it!)
- The first book you borrowed from a library
- A book you borrowed from someone but never gave it back
- A book you lent someone but never got it back
- A book you lost somewhere
- A book you bought in a strange place
- A book you would like to carry everywhere.
Can you define these phrases and use them in a sentence?
- a bookworm
- a shelfie
- a closed book
- an open book
- by the book
- on the books
- read someone like a book
- close the book on something
- throw the book at someone
- never judge a book by its cover
- try/use every trick in the book
- take a leaf out of/from someone’s book
- suit someone’s book
3 Book favourites
Talk about these memories or favourites.
- Your favourite bookstore
- Your favourite library
- Your favourite place to read
- Your favourite book cover
- Your favourite publishing house
BOOKS AND ART
- Check out this blog for paintings that represent reading people: Reading and Art
And check out this fun collection of 20 Perfect Gifts for Book Lovers in Your Life