Reader's Digest

What Do You Call Someone Who Devours Books?


A bookworm, of course. But that might be the wrong term after all. It turns out that the paper-eating insects chomping their way through your favorite novel are actually beetles and moths. In the early 20th century, scientist William R. Reinicke identified more than 160 different insect species that can be destructiv­e to books, and he found that they have discrimina­ting tastes indeed. Mexican book beetles prefer a fiber-rich diet of paper, cardboard, and wood shelving. Book lice like a little mold. And carpet beetles prefer leather, hair—and dried blood. (They’re probably Patricia Cornwell fans.) sciencehis­

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