Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And she thought she was a bibliophile

Here are several definitions of "bibliophile."

"a person who loves or collects books, esp. as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like."

"A lover of books.
A collector of books. "

"someone who loves (and usually collects) books "

Notice how none of these definitions talk about actually reading books? They just deal with collecting and liking books. Can you actually be a bibliophile without actually reading books?

I've thought that I am a bibliophile, but you can hardly say I collect books. I try to read as many as I can, so maybe that is collecting them in my mind, but by definition, I am not a bibliophile.

Someone may not read books, but collects them just to have a cool-looking shelf. How many times have you seen on a movie ot TV show of a room filled with gorgeous books that the characters never actually read? By definition, they are bibliophiles. They love the look of books and they like to collect books, but they don't read them.

I propose a change of definition!

Also notice that the definition of "oenophile" is messed up too.

"someone who appreciates wine"

"One who appreciates and enjoys wine.
A collector of wine. "

"a person who enjoys wines, usually as a connoisseur."

I guess I could be an oenophile because I appreciate wine, but do not actually drink or own any. I appreciate how other people like wine. I'm an oenophile, but not a bibliophile!

Let's just change the whole dictionary!


Unknown said...

I agree - the definition needs changing! I don't really collect books, (unless you count building up a large TBR pile!) but I read a lot. I don't suppose I'm that upset if I'm technically not a bibliophile - everyone who counts knows I love books!

Ronnica said...

That's bugged me too. Though I do collect books more or less (the good ones), I don't know if I classify as a bibliophile because I don't treat them as I ought (they're for reading, not for looking pretty), and most of my books are the cheapest version possible.