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10 Things Only Book Nerds Can Appreciate

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10 Things Only Book Nerds Can Appreciate

“Why do you need three different editions of the same book?” “Will you stop correcting everyone’s grammar at the dinner table?” “Can’t we just watch the movie, please?”

Anyone who breathes books has at one time or other been on the receiving end of the above comments. Book nerds are the guardians of the written word and have probably gotten high from the smell of a library book. With the world going digital, I wonder if there’s a way to bottle that fragrance for future generations because I weep to think that someday I’ll stand before a class of student’s who’ve never smelled a book.

If you have ever secretly believed that god won’t let you die before you finish your ever-growing to-read pile, you’ll appreciate and celebrate these 10 things.

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1. You quote literature in normal conversation

Once, when I was in middle school, a classmate challenged me to a fight. I’d just finished reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights so it seemed entirely natural and just to respond to the threat in the manner that Heathcliff once famously responded to Edgar Linton:

“I am mortally sorry you are not worth knocking down.”

This probably explains my lack of popularity in school.

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2. You name your pets after literary characters

I once agreed to go on a date with a man purely on the attraction that he had a cat named Sherlock. This seemed an entirely logical basis for a lifetime of love, and I remain convinced that had I owned a cat named John, this man would be the father of my children today.

3. You’re everyone’s resource for book recommendations

A few years ago, a friend preparing for vacation called to ask me for book recommendations he could read on the plane. I replied via text and heard nothing for three days. Just when I’d begun to think I might have accidentally killed him, he called back. “Thanks,” he said. “But I told you I’m going on vacation for two weeks, right? Not to spend an eternity in purgatory.” I mumbled something about variety and then quickly ended the call on the pretense of having to walk the dog.

4. You consider it a deal-breaker if your date doesn’t read

People fall back on the “read any good books lately” question as a cliché conversation starter, but we really need to learn to harness the power of this relationship Litmus test. Dating a book nerd is serious business, and only a fellow bibliophile can keep pace with the obscure Jane Austen references or the conversation sprinkled with the witticism of Oscar Wilde.

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5. You’ve had crushes on literary characters

Three words: Edward Fairfax Rochester. I read Jane Eyre when I was 12. Nothing seemed more romantic than a dark, brooding hero with a richly furnished mansion and a mysterious secret. Okay, so there was that tiny problem of keeping his wife locked in the attic, but a girl can make a mistake. Live and learn, and next time, choose your heroes more wisely.

6. You’re everyone’s official grammar checker

About once a week, someone asks me when and when not to use a semicolon or the difference between a run-on and a fused sentence. (They’re one and the same, by the way. You know, because you asked). It might seem tedious, but the people who make a living as professional editors probably aren’t complaining.

7. You feel you’re doing things backwards if you don’t read a book before watching its film adaptation

There is a natural order to things, and reading the book before seeing the movie is a cardinal rule of book nerds everywhere. Literary adaptations, when handled well, are often brilliant, masterful works of art in and of themselves, but some familiarity with the original story can lend greater enjoyment to the viewing experience. Not to mention, it creates fertile ground for debating such questions as the overwhelmingly unnerving presence of all of those shrunken heads in the adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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8. You’ve christened your house or apartment after a famous fictional residence

I may or may not affectionately refer to my apartment as “Little Pemberley.” Perhaps it doesn’t quite measure up to the size and splendor of an estate in Derbyshire complete with Mr. Darcy, but imagination can work wonders.

9. You own multiple editions of your favorite books

Hardcover, paperback, annotated, anniversary – name it, you own it. Critical editions are your guilty pleasure with their moderately tangential footnotes and reproductions of original manuscripts in the author’s handwriting. Don’t judge.

10. You occasionally have a panic attack about dying before finishing a book

I generally make it known that I want to be buried with a book, probably Charles Dickens’s Bleak House because I’m going to need something to pass the time in purgatory. This is irrelevant, however, because I’m convinced that if I continue adding books to my “must read” list, I’m never going to die.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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