My Internal War Between Bookworm & Geek

It’s almost Turkey Day and along with millions of other Americans, I’ll be getting on a plane next week to go participate in the act of thankfulness with my loved ones…and you know, my family too.

My suitcase sits empty with anticipation on my bed, and my folded laundry fresh from the dryer is neatly stacked beside it, ready to be squashed and stuffed to the point where I can zip the bag and check it through to my final destination.

That’s for my clothes.

The real packing conundrum of my life is on my couch, and it’s considerably more important than paltry considerations like underwear and sweaters thick enough to act as a coat if the mercury falls below freezing during my trip.

That conundrum is my purse and what I’m beginning to think might be an unreasonable pile of books.


You see, this is where I have an identity crisis between my bookworm self and my geek self.

On the one hand, an e-reader would actually be a sensible and probably healthy purchase for someone like me for the following reasons:

  • I travel regularly.
  • I’m usually reading more than one book.
  • A lot of the time, at least one of those books is ridiculously large or comically small making it a packing challenge.

Read between the lines up there and you’ll notice something you had probably made an incorrect assumption about before. That’s right, I do not have an e-reader.

No Kindle. No Nook. No fancy shmancy iPad.

If I want to read a book or a comic digitally, I have my iPhone, but to be honest, the screen is tiny, which makes any kind of dedicated reading rather tiring on my eyes.

The bookworm in my brain curls up comfortably in her chintz & doily’d arm chair with her mug of tea and cat to warm her feet. She nods majestically and says “Quite right!” when someone agrees that she has no need for one of those new-fangled contraptions.

The geek in my brain has been plastered, nose squashed, to the glass of an imaginary Apple store since the day the iPad was announced, drooling uncontrollably and sobbing to anyone who will listen about how much she needs the Precious.

It’s really rather heartbreaking.

I love the smell of books. I love the feel of the paper under my fingers and the satisfaction I get from watching my progress through a long novel as I see the pages held in my right hand gradually decrease from an inch or two to almost nothing over the course of my read is great.

But my shoulders? My back? They do not love the imaginary bookworm in my brain. They like to side with the geek and whine to my subconscious about the possibilities of carrying my whole library with me on a plane.

“Think about it Rachael,” they whisper. “You would never be without something to read. Your hand would never ache from the weight of that hardback you just couldn’t resist. You wouldn’t get paper cuts.”

They have some pretty convincing arguments.

That being said, until I’m gainfully employed, have paid down my credit card and can drag the bookworm from her chair in my brain with the promise that she can still curl up in it with the tea and the cat and a shiny new e-reader, I’m just going to have to resign myself to the following:

I cannot squeeze 1Q84, Breakfast for Champions, Welcome to the Goon Squad, 6 comic titles, my journal (I’ve been writing again) and my laptop into my purse for this flight. It’s a big purse but not that big.

And sadly, unless human societal conventions change between now and Tuesday, I will need the underwear and sweaters, and thus cannot simply stuff my suitcase with my books.

I’ll just have to leave some of my books at home.

Image Credit Joseph Robertson’s Flickr

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