Perhaps the hardest friendship to maintain - but no doubt one of the most rewarding.
Firstly, let me establish something. While this guide may apply most directly to your bookworm friends, it contains good advice for adjusting to friends with different, addictive interests in general. If you don't have a friend who is at least partly addicted to reading, you are missing out.
Bookworms, when reading, are not present in the universe that you observe them in. It may be difficult to understand for some who do not enjoy reading, but they have been transported to an entirely different universe that is not even parallel to ours. For them, it transcends it. Thus, when you try to engage an occupied reader in conversation, you may have to take a few minutes to raise them out of their coma-like state. This may involve repeatedly asking for their attention - it is advisable to ask them to look at something to remove their eyes from the page.
Several shocking statements may be required, along the lines of:
"Insert Author Name has died"
"The library is closing down"
"The stove is on fire" (This one may not produce an effect)
Once the reader has managed to at least partially close the book, engage them with your topic, ensuring that it will be insanely interesting for a couple of minutes. They may even be prevailed upon to leave the world between the pages at this point.
If all else fails, appeal to their empathy, by suggesting how they would feel about your neglect by a potentially loving friend if it was in a novel.
The only case in which they will immediately pay attention is the case of their parents threatening to withhold food for the foreseeable future.
DO NOT attempt to remove book from reader. This may result in violence towards you or spontaneous generation of animosity.
At various points in your friendship, your - let's be honest - book-addicted friend may seem to only have two topics in their range of conversation, namely, the book they have read/are reading and the characters of the book that they have read/are reading. This is a phenomena that can be known as the Great Literary Obsession. It will take patience on your side to endure the conversation, however, this G.L.O. will pass and your bookworm will be slightly normal once more.
If you are not totally opposed to novel research, a sensible first step is to find out a few basic facts about the book or series. However, make sure you know where they are up to, as you do not want to be the oft-hated communicator of spoilers.
On the other hand, you may not have the time - or willingness - to do such hard work and so here are some strategies for responding when they could be talking in a foreign language.
Firstly, ask intelligent questions and attempt to engage. This can be achieved by:
Widening of the eyes at any significant pause
Asking "Really?" when it seems appropriate
Questioning them on their favourite or least favourite character - although this will likely extend the monologue.
If they are grieving, offer food, drink or a trip to the library to help them with their pain.
DO NOT at any point during the conversation, ask "Which book was it again?" Offense is guaranteed.
Finally, we come to the benefits of this friendship. There is definitely something for every person connected with a bookworm.
Bookworms are a treasure trove of weird facts and unusual knowledge, due to one of their favourite past times - reading. They are also, obviously, great at holding an entertaining conversation. Depending on their favourite character, they may be sympathetic, witty or sarcastic - all able to be appreciated by equally intelligent people. Actually, if a bookworm has 'chosen' to be your friend, you can flatter yourself with the thought that you must be similar to their fictional friends.
Bookworms, due to the effects of some cruel authors, will have also experienced vast emotional loss. This makes them compassionate and sympathetic friends - they will be a real ally to any friend going through tough times.
Bookworms, although misunderstood at times, and with their idiosyncrasies that may make some shy away, are excellent friends and can be life-long companions.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about your friends of bookwormish tendencies! Why not take the time to catch the reading bug yourself?
Tag your bookworm friends in the comments!