Cool Kids Only! That Means YOU!!!

I have a strong distaste for the term “Nerdy Book Club”.

Every time I see people on Twitter using the #nerdybookclub hashtag it makes me wrinkle my brow because, I’m sorry, I so don’t consider myself to be a nerd.

Just to prove my point, I have looked up “nerd” in the American Heritage College dictionary:

“A person regarded as stupid, socially inept, or unattractive.”

Does being a book nerd make me stupid? Nope. By reading I’m learning more about the world – about people and places and the past and the future and…everything.

Does being a book nerd make me socially inept? Since I spend a lot of time interacting with other people, like colleagues and students, who love books themselves, I think this actually makes me more social. Besides the fact that as I read I’m learning about different characters and their personalities and how people interact with each other in general.

Does being a book nerd make me unattractive? You’d have to ask my husband about this, but I don’t think I’m less attractive because I’m holding a book.

The entry also refers to a nerd as someone who is “square”. The definition of a “square” is:

“A person who is regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and out of touch with current trends.”

Does being a book nerd mean that I am dull? Quite the contrary, I think I’m more interesting because I can tell you about all sorts of books I have read. Plus, this year I’ve read more non-fiction and historical fiction than I have in the past and now I’m full of lots of great facts that can entertain people at parties.

Does being a book nerd mean I am rigidly conventional? By reading so many different books, I am actually more open to new and radical ideas. When I hear about people or groups that want to ban books, it makes me think that they are very rigid and close-minded. In my opinion, banning books is not really about the books, it’s about the people who are banning those books. They aren’t in touch with how controversial stories (that I feel are true life stories) help readers grow and expand their thinking.

Does being a book nerd mean I am out of touch with current trends? I vividly remember telling a friend about the book Twilight before everyone started reading Twilight. I explained that it was about a girl who moves to live with her dad in Oregon and falls in love with a boy…who happens to be a vampire. My friend was with me until I said “vampire” and then she looked at me like I was crazy. Before long Twilight became a phenomenon and vampires were the end all be all to cool. Point proven.

According to these conventional definitions of a nerd or a square, I truly don’t believe myself, or any of my self-proclaimed book-nerd friends, to be nerds. However, I am happy to redefine a nerd as it relates to those who loves books so as to represent this wonderful group of people who deem themselves book nerds. (And to make myself feel better about being a member of the Nerdy Book Club.)

“Book nerd”, as defined by Jen Vincent, this 3rd day of December, 2011:

“A person who loves books beyond all measure insomuch as to be known to read various genres, at any time of day or night, in any location with extreme pride; characterized as being intelligent, social ept, attractive, interesting, fluid thinking, open-minded, and in touch with current trends.”

Now that I’ve redefined what it means to be a book nerd, I’m proud to be a member of the Nerdy Book Club.

I’m a book nerd and I’m cool, thank you very much. I love books and I don’t care who knows it. I’ve said before that I can talk books with any random stranger and in a few minutes we’re BFFs because we’ve bonded over books. I believe in books. Anyone who mistakes us book nerds as the dictionary’s definition of nerds just isn’t up to date on the current trend in book nerdiness. To which I say, get reading! (Maybe you’ll figure it out…)

Jen Vincent

Jen is a National Board Certified Teacher in early/middle childhood literacy and teaches students who are deaf and hard of hearing in a suburb of Chicago.

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Don’t forget to nominate your favorite 2011 books for the first annual Nerdy Book Club Best Books List