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SO MANY BOOKS, SO MANY BIBLIO WORDS, SO LITTLE TIME by M.A. Binfield

I know that many of you are bibliophiles, some of you are bibliosophs, and a fair few of you are definitely bibliolaters. I mean I can tell just by looking at you 😉. And from what I see on my Facebook timeline, I suspect that my friends’ list harbours quite a few who even indulge in the ancient practice of bibliosmia. Though of course, I’m not sure if this is as safe as it used to be in pre-COVID times!

I’m pretty sure that most of us are librocubicularists (if not, why the hell not? I recommend it, and always use tea as a lubricant) but I doubt any of us would admit to being biblioklepts. Though I think we can all forgive occasionally forgetting to return a book borrowed from a friend. And as for the awful practice of shelfrighteousness? I just know that you’re all better than that…

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. I was looking for a synonym for bookworm (such an ugly word) and I came across this site: http://www.bookglow.net/25-words-for-book-lovers and got all carried away. First of all, I got obsessed with wanting to know if I had any ‘scrollmates’, and then I spent far too much time trying to figure out how many of the words on that list applied to me as a reader. (http://www.bookglow.net/25-words-for-book-lovers/) and got all carried away.

The kind of writer I am is easy. I write romances. Angst-filled, women loving women, contemporary romances, with a dollop or two of heat, and I most definitely love to read the same kind of books. The angstier and heat-filled the better. And if there’s a small town butch thrown in for fun, then I’m all set for a few hours of blissful escapism. But my shelves are crammed with all sorts of books from all kinds of genres – romance, classics, mystery, contemporary fiction, politics, biography, history, and even a fair few plays – so the kind of reader I am is harder to pin down.

I do know one thing – I’m a totally monogamous reader. I don’t have lots of books on the go at once. It’s like cheating. Once I’m in a book, I’m in that book, to the exclusion of all others. Till last page do us part.

I’m not a fan of short stories. I tried. So many times. But it’s never enough for me. I need to get invested, buried, consumed. And short stories are like those little meals you get in fancy restaurants. I mean I enjoy them, sometimes they’re delicious, but they always, always leave me begging for more.

And there isn’t a word for it on the list, but I am that reader who – when they discover a great book by a new author – has to read everything they’ve ever written. That’s okay if it’s a new writer, right? Perhaps that’s a couple of books to catch up on. But if it’s Beryl Bainbridge, Margaret Atwood, or Emile Zola (thank you, book club for the introductions) then that’s quite an undertaking. You love serials? Try Zola’s twenty-book Rougon Macquart series. I’m ten books in. And I’ve been ten books in for about four years. Zola is not an easy read!

I am a sucker for a happy ending. Give me a happy ending and I will weep happily into my tea. In fact, give me a non-happy ending, and I will also cry into my tea. But those tears will be bitter. I might even go so far as to say I NEED a happy ending. Life’s hard, endings aren’t always happy. Why not escape into something nicer? I don’t mind a flawed character, I don’t mind an up and down journey to get there, but at the end, I don’t need those bitter tears affecting the taste of my tea, and ruining my mood. I’m English, I’m already pretty grouchy.

 I’m also a reader who loves their favourite authors like they love their sports team – loyally, blindly, and absolutely never prepared to listen to anyone else’s opinion about their merits. Or (*shudders*) their weaknesses. That excitement you feel on hearing that they have a new book out is like the start of a new season, and that sense of loss you feel when the book is finished, and you know you’ve got to wait months (or years!) for the next one is pretty hard to take. To cope I don’t mind admitting that I sometimes indulge in a bit of bibliotaphy – I’ve had the new Radclyffe book in my possession for months, and I keep putting off reading it because starting it means I’ll have to finish it.

And like a lot of readers, I keep setting myself impossible targets. Like reading two books a week, reading every Booker prize winner ever, or reading a Kris Bryant book without getting aroused. And I keep failing, but blimey it’s the taking part that counts.

MA Binfield is an author of contemporary women loving women romances. She has two  published works: One Small Step and Not This Time. Her new romance Never Be The Same, is out August 2021.

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