Morning Coffee: Bookworms

feetI’m a bookworm. I love books. I’ve always loved books. Since before I could read the words by myself, I’ve been enthralled by the realization that entire worlds existed between those covers; places I’d never been and people I didn’t know until that very moment lived on those pages. All I had to do was open the cover, read the words, and I’d be transported.

Then I started taking it one step further; I began writing the stories myself. I’d already been making up stories in my head for years, so it seemed the next logical step to want to put them to paper.

When people call me and others like me bookworms, they intend it to be something negative; or, at the very least, as a way of turning us into the butt of their jokes. They feel there’s something wrong with us for occasionally preferring a good book over the company of others. We’re nerds, eggheads, weirdoes…bookworms! Quite to the contrary, I think those who can enjoy the company of a good book from time to time are more well-rounded than those who are limited to the present moment of their own reality. The imagination is a truly marvelous thing.

Real bookworms, though, are indeed a negative creature. Despite this name we’ve given them, what we call bookworms are not worms at all. Actual book-boring insects are uncommon. There are a couple of moths who like to nibble at cloth bindings. There are several species of beetles that enjoy a nice leather to chew on. Some beetles will burrow through wood and paper, if the paper is near the wood. But a true book-eating insect would be the book or paper louse. Under 1mm in size, soft-bodied and wingless, they feed on microscopic molds and other organic matter that grows on ill-maintained paper. Their damage is most often found in very old books, treasures that have not been properly handled or stored and have fallen victim to moisture and the oils we carry on our skin. This is why old, rare, manuscripts are stored under special climate-controlled conditions, are handled very rarely, and then only by experts wearing gloves.

bookworm_imageBooks are always there when I need something to take me away from a bad day. Books are always there when I’m looking for a little adventure that won’t actually break my body into several pieces or land me in jail. Books are always there to transport me to somewhere, anywhere, that isn’t here. Books calm me when I’m frightened, and frighten me when I’m in the mood for a good scare. I can be anyone, go anywhere, with a good book.


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