Fear Of Books

The fear of books is known by the Latin name, Bibliophobia. Fearing books can be a response to learning disabilities such as dyslexia, but it can also occur for other reasons.

Reasons For Bibliophobia

The fear of books may seem unusual to some. After all, knowledge is power, and books contain facts, figures, and other information that is both vital and interesting.

Lack of education can figure strongly in those with Bibliophobia. Certain books may seem too challenging, and the intellectual concepts found in certain novels and non-fiction works can be very daunting to some. In our world, we all operate at our own level of intelligence and understanding. While some dispute the IQ score and its relevance, others may argue that some books truly are over some people’s heads.

Some Books Can Be Too Challenging

In literature, works like James Joyce’s Ulysses are feared by many students (and sometime their professors as well). Joyce used a stream-of-consciousness style, and other innovative writing techniques, in order to craft a novel that many cannot seem to finish.

On the other hand, those who understand and enjoy Ulysses, such as the postmodern novelist, Martin Amis, view Joyce’s novel as one of the great masterpieces of modern literature.

IQ Can Be A Factor

As you can see, the way people view books is related to their education, their grasp of context and subtext, and quite possibly their level of intelligence, or type of intelligence. The person who excels in science or practical tasks like fixing machines may loathe books of poetry. The person who writes beautiful sonnets may not be able to stand mundane how-to manuals. And then there are people who can enjoy all types of books, and do well at poetry and practical things.

For the bibliophobic, learning disabilities, or a general hatred of school, can fuel this phobia. Bad experiences reading aloud in class are often a very powerful trigger for Bibliophobia.

Many students have stuttered and struggled while reading aloud, hampered by their nerves. Teasing or chastisement from classmates or a teacher while reading books aloud can stay in the psyche and the subconscious for years, causing the phobia to grow stronger.


Dyslexia Is A Primary Trigger

Dyslexia, a common learning disability, can make reading extremely difficult. Words appear reversed or jumbled, and the dyslexic person must learn certain techniques to make sense of what they see.

While there is great success treating dyslexia through compassionate, skilled educational therapy, many children suffer undiagnosed for years. When this occurs, an erosion of self-esteem and confidence with regard to books and school will often result. Many people with Bibliophobia have dyslexia.

It’s important to note that dyslexic people are often very talented and intelligent. Tom Cruise, Jay Leno, and actress Kiera Knightley all have dyslexia.

Belief Systems Can Influence The Fear Of Books

Some people may have certain beliefs that make them fearful of books. For example, Republican politician Sarah Palin attempted to have books banned from an Alaska library during her term as governor. She was unsuccessful, but many books have been banned throughout history.

In the times of King Henry the Eighth, when religious change was imminent in England, it was considered heresy to read the works of certain authors who promoted religious reforms. One such author, Martin Luther, was harshly opposed by the King, who was granted the title of “Defender Of The Faith” for his actions against the Protestant Reformation, led by Luther and his ilk.

Religious beliefs are often the trigger for a desire to ban certain texts. However, as society moves towards tolerance, it has become politically incorrect to censor freedom of expression through writing.

People with this phobia can benefit from education and therapy. By dealing with the underlying causes of Bibliophobia, they can learn to enjoy the wonders of books for the rest of their lives.

The fear of books is also referred to as:

  • Book Phobia
  • Book Fear
  • Phobia of Books
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