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Confessions of a Nerdy Bookworm

March 11th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I?ve never been happy with who I am.

In fact, I feel quite guilty about it.

Let me explain?.

I?m a bookworm ? a bibliophile ? a ?bookaholic.?

I am most content and fulfilled when I am sitting alone in my office, clicking away at the keyboard — writing copy for my clients or my own Internet marketing business ? or articles and books for my publishers.

When I get home from a typical 12-hour day at the PC, I want nothing more than to sit on the couch — and read a book.

I don?t play sports ? or watch it on TV. No golf ? no tennis ? no bridge.

I don?t garden ? or do handyman stuff around the house ? or have any discernible hobby ? other than reading.

I love my kids, and enjoy spending time with my family ? but I never voluntarily socialize with friends or relatives unless my wife pushes me to do so.

It seems to me that this makes me a narrow, limited person ? hence the guilt and shame.

?It?s not that I don?t like people,? writes NPR?s book critic Maureen Corrigan. ?It?s just that when I?m in the company of others ? even my nearest and dearest ? there always comes a moment when I?d rather be reading a book.?

As a bookaholic, I?ve developed another trait many consider odd: my preference for bad weather.

Gray, cold, rainy days make me happy.

While warm, cloudless days with sunshine make me depressed.


Because when it?s cold and gray, I can stay inside ? and read or write.

But when it?s a nice day, I?m expected to participate in outdoor activities that I enjoy far less.

?My favorite kind of day is a cold, dreary, gusty, sleety day, when I can sit at my typewriter or word processor in peace and security,? wrote the late Isaac Asimov.

?A perfect day fills me with the nameless dread (usually fulfilled) that Robyn [Asimov?s daughter] will come to me, clapping her little hands in excitement, and say, ?Let?s take a walk in the park. I want to go to the zoo.?

?Of course, I go, because I love her, but I tell you I leave my heart behind, stuck in the typewriter keys.?

At this point in my life, I?ve spent over half a century feeling guilty over who I am ? a prolific workaholic writer — what I like, and what I want to do: spend my life with words, information, and ideas.

Have you, like me, ever felt that you were letting people down by not being the type of person you think others expect you to be?

Well, I?m going to suggest that you join me now ? and together, we let go of our guilt.

Let?s embrace who we are, rather than reject it.

In the original ?Nutty Professor? movie, Jerry Lewis says: ?If you don?t love yourself, how do you expect others to??

?Be a real person,? advises my friend, Internet marketing guru Fred Gleeck. ?People are sick of phonies. Be who you really are and don’t worry if some people don’t like you. For those who don’t, there are plenty who will LOVE you for being yourself.?

Listen: I don?t know why I am so addicted to books and the printed word.

I just can?t help it. Nothing comes close to engaging my admittedly limited intellect the way writing does.

But now, I don?t care ? or feel bad about it ? any more.

That?s the way I am, and after 50 years of living, now I am at peace with it.

I hope you can be at peace with who — and what — you are, as well.

Because ? to quote Vince Vaughn in ?Dodgeball? ? you?re perfect just the way you are.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 at 11:12 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

26 responses about “Confessions of a Nerdy Bookworm”

  1. Terry Whalin said:


    If you are a nerdy bookworm, then I’m right there with you. I love books and I’m content to read any time–day or night. Terrific post. I have always told people that I’m a non-sports person. I guess that’s why I’ve written several sports books–because as a writer I end up asking all of the questions and making it clear since I had zero understanding about bobsledding when I started the book published as Running On Ice by Vonetta Flowers.

    Great post. Thank you. I loved it and totally identified.


  2. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Hello, my name is Jodi and I’m a bookaholic. I’m part of an online book group with members from all over the world. We carry books everywhere we go. Those with cars have books stashed in the glove compartment. Some (when desperate) will read anything — cereal boxes, old newspapers, shampoo bottles. We tried a 12-step program once, but dropped out when we realized we couldn’t bring our books.

    I do like sunny days though. I can go outside (and read my book).

  3. Ken said:

    I love writing and reading, but I also love sports and sunny days and golf…sometimes I envy people like you because I know my bank account would be a lot more padded if I devoted more time to the computer screen…
    Any situation in life is all about perspective…am I more balanced because I enjoy activities other than writing, or are you more dedicated because you spend all your time working? There is no ‘right’ answer, and every answer is the ‘right’ answer.
    Write down all you feel guilty about then light the paper on fire and watch it burn…none of that belongs inside you anyway

  4. Lynne said:

    Bob: I’m right there with you with your love of writing and books; don’t feel guilty about it.

    I also love being outdoors and swimming. Nothing beats taking a good book out on the beach, but I do have to leave my reading behind when I go into the water–too soggy!

  5. Charles Crawford said:

    Bob: I was so happy to see your “Confessions.” I’m with you. My parents were great readers and I’ve loved reading all my life – literary fiction, popular fiction, biography, and history. The widespread lack of interest in good books explains why so many people, even those in prominent positions, can’t write a coherent paragraph. Keep up the great work.

  6. Yannis said:

    Incredible!!! best post for many months now surfing in the whole web. I am not a “bookeater” as we call bookworms in greece. But i can recognise this “feeling guilty” feeling with other activities (online gaming including book reading)that i have. people expect me to be some1 else ….that i am not.

  7. Jim Wortham said:

    Hey Bob, I thought I was the only one who would consider staying home and reading books for the full day. I am also a writer and book publisher (I regret that I turned your book down many years ago. It was how to get published). I guess it’s still being published by another publisher. Regarding another piece you wrote about is direct marketing dead? That is about all I do–and answer my phone. I get no orders on my website (I guess it is still up). I get orders only by word of mouth, and occasionally do a terrible direct mail piece that I made up while sipping on the bottle. Gee, if you give me a good deal on your copy writing course, I will probably jump at it–say for a slim $100. I did like reading all the copy you write on that direct mail piece–I probably kept them all–any direct mail that I identify that you write–I keep. I think you are the best with writing DM material. Take care. Stay well. Keep being a bookworm…. the people I see in my private counseling business have a worse problems–mostly drugs (Meth is big here in Madison, Indiana–a river town).
    Make it a great day,
    Jim Wortham

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  12. TennisSoul said:

    Being nerdy bookworm is not bad but not socializing yourself is dangerous. At least you should try playing some kind of sport. I think tennis is best as I have started playing recently. Go get a cool tennis racket and smash the ball on the tennis court, and make new friends out there. Enjoy life.

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  15. Buddy said:

    Bookworm is not necessarily a crime. I also love the feeling of sitting next to the window and under the gentle breeze and the shade of the green trees. Focus on doing what you love, listening to music, Fun Games, painting, and whatever you’re passionate about. Or you can read a book

  16. Rosie Spencer said:

    This heartfelt reflection reminds me of how we all have our unique passions and interests. Just as the author finds solace in books and writing, others may find their calling in different places, like Basketball positions on the court. Embracing our true selves is a beautiful journey.

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  23. Jake said:

    I’ve moved from printed to audiobooks few years ago, was way too taxing on my eyes sadly.
    Right now trying to do more outdoors stuff, so having it play in my headphones helps a lot( recently got much more into birdwatching, even got myself a decent night vision spotting scope by Nightforce from 😀 )

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