20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand

Posted by Hayley on November 13, 2015

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a problem only book lovers understand? We got over 1,000 amazing responses! So even if non-book lovers don't get your struggle, remember—you're among friends here.


1. "The urge to buy books even though you still have too many books to read at home." (Rie VdWarth)

2. "Feeling sad for people who don't really exist." (Kimberly Moniz)

3. "RUNNING OUT OF SHELF SPACE!!!" (Kim)

4. "Getting interrupted when you are on the last few pages of a book." (Sobe Daya)

5. "The book hangover. When a good book finishes but you can't start a new one because you're still too immersed in the last book to move on." (Meagan Lewis)

6. "Wanting every book in a library section but knowing it is impossible to read all of them." (Richard Azia)

7. "Waiting so long for a sequel that you forget what happened in the first book." (Jessica Luong)

8. "When you're lying in bed and it's all cold in your room—and the hand holding the book freezes to death, even though the rest of you is warm under the blankets." (Alina Marie Swan)

9. "Finishing a book and having to wait a whole year to read the next in the series." (Sarah Scanion)

10. "Trying to keep the book dry while reading in the bath." (Patricia Boland)

11. "Ordering a book online and getting the book with the movie cover. A book with a movie cover just doesn't feel the same." (Anna RN)

12. "Not being able to read and eat lunch at the same time because you don't have a third arm." (Bernadette)

13. "When someone borrows your book and doesn't return it for ages!" (Pallavi B)

14. "Deciding. Which. Book. To. Read. First." (Monique Balsamo)

15. "Getting to a 'can't stop reading' spot in the book and it's 3:00am." (Joan Chesley)

16. "When you have a book with you, but it's not the one you wanted to read right then." (Virginia Osborne)

17. "Being forced to stop reading by other obligations, but choosing to ignore those obligations. Then getting in trouble." (Feel Like Fangirling)

18. "Packing for a trip and never being able to bring enough books." (Erika Gallion)

19. "Having a book fall on your face because you're reading on your back while holding the book up." (Manuel Cedillo)

20. And the ultimate book lovers' dilemma: "So many books, so little time." (Navy Reading)


Have another bibliophile-specific problem? Share it with your fellow Goodreads members in the comments! Chances are you'll find someone (or many someones) who feel your book pain.

(Top image credit: Illustration by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl's Matilda.)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 1,091 (1091 new)


❤️Melanie G. I can relate to each and every one of those.


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda Loved this list! If there's ever a housing shortage, I think we all could create quite the mansion made out of books.


message 4: by Caro (new)

Caro "Being forced to stop reading by other obligations, but choosing to ignore those obligations. Then getting in trouble."
that's me in a nutshell


message 5: by Ava (new)

Ava My reading list is longer than my lifespan


message 6: by Kat (new)

Kat I can so relate to these! Love them. Except I can't relate to not bringing enough books for vacation...thank goodness for Kindles!


message 7: by Omnia (new)

Omnia hhhhhhhhh


message 8: by Maxatastisch (new)

Maxatastisch SO TRUE!


message 9: by Zoe (new)

Zoe I would also add: "Hating a book that everyone loves, tell me about loneliness."


message 10: by Charmaine (new)

Charmaine As much as you want to share a great book with someone else, you just can't hand it over. All you want to do is hold on tight


message 12: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Re: #12. I solved that problem by buying a book holder.


message 13: by LB (new)

LB When you loan a paperback book to a friend and you get it back with the spine creased and you want to kill them, but they are still your friend, so you are torn (so you just hit them with the book instead).


message 14: by Scott (new)

Scott Strain All of the above, along with strength to carry the 3-4 books that you're currently reading (ebook readers require power). Being unable to go into a book store (budget and literary self-restraint issues)


message 15: by Anna D. (new)

Anna D. Since I switched to mostly reading on my Kindle, a lot of these are N/A to me now (like shelf space, book cover issue, not being able to bring enough books on a trip - this is a big one!)

What made me laugh is #19 - I have totally dropped my kindle on my face, and it hurts! serves me right for reading at 2am when I'm tired and should be asleep!


message 16: by Honey (new)

Honey Jimenez I can relate to all except 5 and 10.


message 17: by Marian (new)

Marian E-Reader, Nook, or IPad for traveling... you don't have the weight or the space gobbler on trips.


message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Blair oh so many of these are me i'm so glad i'm not alone i ran out of shelf space long ago, i love my kindle now. my dielma much of the time is what book to read next oh so much to choose from.


message 19: by Barnali (new)

Barnali Too true!


message 20: by Cecilia (last edited Nov 13, 2015 08:27AM) (new)

Cecilia Alonso spending hours in the bookstore just looking, yearning, wanting, craving (or in the library if i'm short on money or space)


message 21: by Dana (new)

Dana Welcome to my life!! hahaha


message 22: by Akansha (new)

Akansha Very Very True :)


message 23: by Reshma (new)

Reshma Elise wrote: "When you loan a paperback book to a friend and you get it back with the spine creased and you want to kill them, but they are still your friend, so you are torn (so you just hit them with the book ..."

Oh my God... the spine creasing!!! And people freak out saying I am overreacting.


message 24: by Harryd (new)

Harryd for me it find another book I'd give 5 shinning stars to


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Blair I swore long ago that i would NOT lend anymore books, i've lost two to friends and i won't do it again thank goodness they were both read already.


message 26: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I agree with all of these, but especially #16. That's what compelled me to buy a Kindle :).


message 27: by Kay (new)

Kay J This was soooo true about me.
1,2,3,5,7,8,9,

13 my friend would say this about me, i have a couple of her books, still haven't gotten to them yet! :)

14,15,16,17

19 hahahaha, this has happened way to many times. A tablet hurts worse lol

20 AMEN!!!


message 28: by Scribal (last edited Nov 13, 2015 08:43AM) (new)

Scribal I bought used paperback copies of favorites to "lend." I don't mind that I never got them back....but I cry with loneliness because I lent very thoughtfully... like a matchmaker, book and friend, and the whole point was that maybe we could have a conversation about this book in the future and I think only one friend in decades has ever read such a lent book and talked to me about it. I quit lending/giving because I can't stand that loneliness.


Angélique (Angel) Zoe wrote: "I would also add: "Hating a book that everyone loves, tell me about loneliness.""

Yes! Also, loving a book that no one you know has read.


message 30: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Angélique wrote: "Zoe wrote: "I would also add: "Hating a book that everyone loves, tell me about loneliness.""

Yes! Also, loving a book that no one you know has read."


:D talking about a good book is almost as good as reading the said good book. no?


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol....so many of these are so very much me....lol...


message 32: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Wear Elise wrote: "When you loan a paperback book to a friend and you get it back with the spine creased and you want to kill them, but they are still your friend, so you are torn (so you just hit them with the book ..."

BAH!! You're one of those too. I also feel kinda sad for my book when that happens.


message 33: by Judy (new)

Judy i am 61 years old and have read since i was 4. i lost the centaral vision in my left eye about 10 years ago, now i am losing it in the right...i read never less than a book a week, usually 2, but now i need large print and a maagnifier. what do i do now, i hate audio books...it's like listening to a movie. Heartbroken


message 34: by Rishabh (new)

Rishabh i think 'all of the above' will be my answer if it comes as an mcq n mayb more. n i hv found solutions to most of the problems in some way or the other, but one problem that just doesn't go is at point no. 5 (actually i am not even sure i want it to go away because the feeling so freaking awesome). just that it doesn't help in shortening my ever increasing tbr list


message 35: by Nicky (new)

Nicky A wholehearted "Yep" on 19 out of these 20 statements.
The book packing is no longer an issue because of my ereader. I can bring All The Books!


message 36: by Betsy (new)

Betsy About #8: Wear thin gloves


message 37: by Vivian (new)

Vivian How about when you are reading a book and someone sees you reading and tells you what happens. Or getting halfway thru a book and not being able to stand the suspense so you skip to the end.


message 38: by LB (new)

LB Reshma wrote: "Elise wrote: "When you loan a paperback book to a friend and you get it back with the spine creased and you want to kill them, but they are still your friend, so you are torn (so you just hit them ..."


I'm glad I'm not the only one too ^^ It just seems like it's physical abuse to my poor book (which is why I only lend my hardcovers out now; too many friendships almost ruined hahaha)


message 39: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia Alonso Judy wrote: "i am 61 years old and have read since i was 4. i lost the centaral vision in my left eye about 10 years ago, now i am losing it in the right...i read never less than a book a week, usually 2, but n..."

With ebooks you can enlarge the characters as you like


message 40: by Daniella (new)

Daniella 2, 8, 9, 12, and 18 are soo me!


message 41: by beautywithbooks (new)

beautywithbooks i could relate to all the points mentioned above. In addition i spend a lot of time on book stores deciding which book to buy and which to order online.
And when waiting for someone, i pray to make them late so that i can get few more minutes to read the book .


message 42: by Faouzia (new)

Faouzia It is crazy how i feel completely concerned with this list!! especially 5 and 17 I'm having those problems right now LOL :)


message 43: by Michelle (new)

Michelle People who want to borrow books you own but haven't read yet, or pick them up and flick through them. Especially if it is a new book rather than second hand. Those are MY words and I get to read them first.


message 44: by Heather (last edited Nov 13, 2015 09:25AM) (new)

Heather Angélique wrote: "Zoe wrote: "I would also add: "Hating a book that everyone loves, tell me about loneliness.""

Yes! Also, loving a book that no one you know has read."


I frequently have that problem. I can think of at least 3 series Everyone Loved and I never even finished the first book. Plus, since I read while most of my friends do not I am always getting eye rolls when I go on and on about how good something is.


message 45: by Sandy (new)

Sandy I agree, to many of the books that everyone else raves about left me feeling something was wrong with me because I didn't love it too!


message 46: by Erica (new)

Erica D`souza Answering questions like - "Why do you even like this book?" "Why are you buying a book? It's a waste, you are gonna read it once"

"Stop over acting! It's just a book, what's the big deal?"

"YOU HAVE SOOOOOOO MANY BOOKS, YOU WANT MORE?"


message 47: by Sabine (last edited Nov 13, 2015 09:50AM) (new)

Sabine So true!! Especially number 15... get's me in trouble every time, as I'm not able to get up in the morning when I have to get to work!


message 48: by Amy (Other Amy) (new)

Amy (Other Amy) 1, 5, 6, 9, 14, 15, 17, 20 are me, me, me. Also these:

Ava wrote: "My reading list is longer than my lifespan"

THIS is my reality!

Zoe wrote: "I would also add: "Hating a book that everyone loves, tell me about loneliness.""

Oh, yes. I have a shelf dedicated to those books.

Cecilia wrote: "spending hours in the bookstore just looking, yearning, wanting, craving (or in the library if i'm short on money or space)"

And online. Good grief, but I need to stay away from the Kindle store.

Harryd wrote: "for me it find another book I'd give 5 shinning stars to"

YES! The eternal search.

Angélique wrote: "Also, loving a book that no one you know has read."

Ah, yes. The forgotten gem. I need to make a shelf for those.

Judy wrote: "i am 61 years old and have read since i was 4. i lost the centaral vision in my left eye about 10 years ago, now i am losing it in the right...i read never less than a book a week, usually 2, but n..."

Oh, Judy. This is one of my worst fears. My heart goes out to you. Do try an ereader as Cecilia said, if you haven't. I can't take audiobooks either, even though I've heard you can speed up the speaking rate now. I hope you find some way to read on.

Vivian wrote: "How about when you are reading a book and someone sees you reading and tells you what happens. Or getting halfway thru a book and not being able to stand the suspense so you skip to the end."

I would never speak to that person again for the first part, but I do the second part! I am so bad! Trying to quit.

beautywithbooks wrote: "And when waiting for someone, i pray to make them late so that i can get few more minutes to read the book ."

Or they get there, and I'm annoyed because I have to stop reading! It's horrible manners.

Heather wrote: "I can think of at least 3 series Everyone Loved and I never even finished the first book. Plus, since I read while most of my friends do not I am always getting eye rolls when I go on and on about how good something is. "

I have a few series like that too. But the second part, that is me to a tee. I am not exactly surrounded by readers. My friends and associates are pretty tolerant, so I'm lucky that way, but it's not the same as being able to talk to someone else excited about the book.

I would add, 'trying to explain what you are reading when someone sees you reading in public and asks.' Always catches me flatfooted. I'm invariably reading something complicated and/or shocking to explain when that happens (e.g. The Sea Came in at Midnight). Sometimes I just lie and tell them about the last easy to explain thing I read.


message 49: by Sadia (new)

Sadia Ahmed Ava wrote: "My reading list is longer than my lifespan"

I feel you xD


message 50: by A. (new)

A.  J. Living in a town where no one reads at all! I'm slowly dying from the loneliness...


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